Random Thoughts

Five Things Friday

Last ripe tomato of the season

Indian summer in SoCal. It sounds rather nice at first, with visions of balmy beach days and barbecues and frozen drinks with umbrellas in October, but I think I can speak for everyone in SoCal right now that we are ready — hoping! — for fall to start soon. (It was 102°F in my town today, which is unheard of for the coast. We usually average in the 70s this time of year.)

The ceaseless heat this summer (hotter and drier than I remember from years past) means there hasn’t been a whole lot of gardening happening on the homefront. In September, we reduced (or completely turned off) the drip irrigation in most of our raised beds and let our summer crops start to die back. With the ongoing drought and rising water costs, we simply couldn’t afford to keep our water-intensive vegetables (the annuals, at least) hydrated through the constant heat waves.

We’re continuing to water our containers, and our perennial beds, and of course our fruit trees and shrubs, but the edible garden is mostly empty and mulched in straw at the moment.

Here’s hoping for a little relief from the weather soon! In the meantime…

1. The last ripe tomato of the season. This little cherry lingered for weeks after all the other tomato plants had withered. A true survivor.

Mystery pepper plant

2. Mystery peppers! The plant marker’s long been faded and I don’t remember if this plant originated as a volunteer last year, so it’ll be exciting to take a bite and try to figure out what it is!

Prolific sweet basil

3. The vintage clawfoot bed fared best this summer, since it’s partially shaded by our feijoa tree for several hours in the afternoon. Our basil plants have grown over 3 feet tall and are still going strong!

Summer blossoms on a floss silk tree

4. Every summer, my floss silk tree (Ceiba speciosa) bursts with beautiful pink flowers that attract monarch butterflies. It’s truly a sight to behold. The tree towers two stories above the street and, unfortunately, also turns my driveway into a skating rink with its natural (and very slippery) litter.

Freshly seeded foraging bed for the chickens

5. Ahead of the trickle of rain we received a few days ago, we seeded the chickens’ raised foraging bed with clover, flax, buckwheat, alfalfa, and rye.

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »