Planting winter vegetables

The first of a series of winter storms is going to hit us tomorrow, which in our case means rain and high winds. The rain is welcome, the winds are not.

In the morning Heather got our raised vegetable beds ready for winter planting. She ripped out all what was left of our summer vegetables and herbs—still quite a bit of basil, loads of jalapeños and a sad-looking squash or two—and topped off the beds with the soil we had brought in a few days ago for our bamboo stock tanks. Amazing how much soil seems to disappear from the veggie beds every year; I guess it just gets compacted. A 2-inch layer of composted chicken manure on top, and the beds were ready to go. Heather, with the help of our younger daughter Elena, was finally able to plant the winter vegetables we bought a while ago at Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville.

For the peas Heather resurrected a teepee she built years ago for bush beans. Sure beats trying to tie up the peas to the fence!

Copper-tubing teepee for peas

The other two vertical beds are now home to cauliflower and spinach.

101119_cauliflower 101119_spinach

Cauliflower and spinach in the two other vertical beds

In the horizontal bed next to the Alphonse Karr bamboo (and clothesline), Heather and Elena planted Bright Lights chard. I’m not the biggest fan of chard, but it’s OK if cleverly disguised in soups and stews. And if the humans don’t eat, it’ll make a nutritious ingredient for dog food.


Bright Lights chard

When I took the photos above I couldn’t help but notice how big our rhubarb is getting. It’s in a half barrel between two of the vertical vegetable beds. We have two kinds (forgot which because the tags are gone), and this kind is much larger than the other. We should finally have enough next year to make more than just a token amount of rhubarb compote. Can you tell that I love rhubarb?

A piece of useless trivia: While trying to figure out if rhubarb is considered a fruit or a vegetable, I came across this on Wikipedia: “Rhubarb is botanically classified as a vegetable; however, in the United States a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction in taxes paid.[1]

I’m so happy that this has been settled once and for all!


Even after filling the stock tanks, topping off the vegetable beds and filling some stray pots we still have quite a bit of soil left.


Most of it will go on the tropical beds in the front yard. That is, after I move all the pots on the front porch out of the way so we can reach that area with our garden cart. That’s on my agenda for tomorrow, weather permitting.

As I’m typing this, the first wave of rain has arrived. It’s still just a gentle patter on the roof, but much more rain is in the forecast. We’re heading north to Mount Shasta for Thanksgiving next week, and the in-laws are already getting a dusting of snow. By next week it might be a foot or more. That would make for beautiful photos…


  1. The garden looks great and the rhubarb seems to be doing very well. I think it is time to replace ours.


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