Finding Surprises in my December Garden

Author: Meera, December 10, 2014


Some of our heirloom tomatoes produced lots of tasty fruit, but others didn't

Open-pollinated, heirloom tomatoes produced lots of tasty fruit over the summer, but . . . in December?




It’s the second week of December and the Winter Solstice is about to arrive next week. Walking through the bleak garden landscape, I wasn’t expecting any of my summer plants to still be producing. But surprise, surprise.




A cluster of red grape tomatoes were still clinging to a vine that had become overgrown by weeds. Not only was fruit still hanging on the vine, but the plant was setting up new blooms. I can only assume the reason for that is that we’re having unseasonably warm temperatures in the Bay Area.




Summer onions have formed large heads and been harvested so need replacing

These onions were photographed during the summer



I harvested a 10-pound bag of red and yellow onions at summer’s end. Now I’ve got a new bed where the onion heads re-seeded. I do hope these bulb onions make it through to spring. I might just build a cold frame over them.




California chili turns red when ripe

California chili turns red when ripe



In raised beds, the jalapeno and Thai chili peppers that wilted and drooped during the terrible drought this summer have responded to recent rains with lots of ripe peppers and also new blooms.




It’s very strange as these babies need water and high heat; our Bay Area temperatures are hanging in the 60s Fahrenheit during these early days of December.




Pumpkins show orange and yellow, signalling the arrival of the cool season

French sugar pumpkins ripen in the garden in October





I harvested the pumpkins and squash but hadn’t yet pulled out the old vines for composting. The hard-skinned pumpkins and squashes can be peeled, cut into cubes, and frozen for use later in culinary creations such as soup.




Coffee Cake, a variety of Fuyu persimmon, has orange flesh and the fruit remains firm like an apple

Coffee Cake, a variety of Fuyu persimmon, has orange flesh and the fruit remains firm like an apple





Further on, I picked the last of the persimmons and pomegranates. These are my favorite fall fruits. And if you’ve ever dropped ripe pomegranate seeds onto the ground, you’ll soon see that the chickens love them, too.




Red pomegranates hang like jewels in contrast to the leaves that will soon yellow and drop

Red pomegranates hang like jewels, the leaves have since turned yellow and mostly fallen




Having uncovered all the garden’s surprises, my thoughts turn to how I’m going to lay out the garden next year and which heirlooms to grow. The garden soil needs to rest as we Bay Area gardeners welcome the rain now that the Pacific storm door has finally opened.



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