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Cool & Breezy — Garden Tour April 22

Today we got an unusual break from the Bakersfield springtime heat … yesterday’s high was 87, and today we only made it to 75, though it felt plenty warm in the sun while working in the garden this afternoon.  A strong breeze came up around 4:30, shocking the sunflowers I transplanted today, and knocking over the 20-or-so leggy tomato seedlings I’m still waiting to plant.  I actually got chilled once the deck was in full shade, and decided to grab a few quick photos before coming indoors an hour and a half earlier than usual. The never-ending list of chores will still be there tomorrow.

One of my favorite things about blogs is the opportunity to peek inside someone else’s world — their home, their garden, their kitchen, and all the other places they deem worth sharing.  More people than ever are visual learners, and I know some of my best-ever ideas have been sparked by seeing a photo.  So here’s some of what’s in our backyard garden today:

Looking out my kitchen window.

Looking east, out my kitchen window.

Another look out the kitchen window.

Another look out the kitchen window. Last month, we extended the patio and wrapped the old raised beds in 2″ redwood planks, raising the beds between 6″ and 8″ each. Putting stepping stones and river rock in the pathways is high on our To Do list. Beds 1 through 4 are on the left, Beds 5 and 6 are in the foreground on the right. The trellises on the block wall are for climbing roses.

The main garden, looking southwest.

The main garden, looking southwest from the back garden. Bed 4 is in the foreground, with Beds 3, 2, and 1 (not visible) to the right, all running north/south. Beds 5 & 6 are in the background, running east/west.

Looking south from the back garden.  I transplanted several sunflowers from the compost into a large pot today, and the wind hit them pretty hard.

Looking south from the back garden. You can see the sunflowers that sprouted in the compost bin on the right.

Looking north from Bed 4, into the back garden.

Looking north from Bed 4, into the messy back garden. Our three compost bins are on the left, with my improvised potting area on top. Bed 7 is directly across from the compost, currently planted with red onions, two caged Sun Gold tomatoes, sunflowers , and an assortment of tomato seedlings

Bed 6 ... baby lettuces, baby kale, and 2 rows of cosmos that I hope will provide summer shade for salad greens.

Bed 6 … baby lettuces, baby kale, and 2 rows of cosmos that I hope will provide summer shade for salad greens.

Fall and winter were both warm enough that I started all of my seeds outdoors on the deck ...

Fall and winter were warm enough that I started all of my seeds outdoors on the deck, with no covers, no heating, and no supplemental light. I have dozens of zinnia seedlings of all shapes, sizes, and colors, many of them for the new front yard garden.

As soon as I harvest the chard in this bed, I'll replenish the soil and plant summer squash.

As soon as I harvest the chard in this bed, I’ll replenish the soil and plant summer squash.

Bush Early Girl blossoms -- I planted two 3" Bonnie's plants in mid-February, and they're already full-grown.

Bush Early Girl blossoms — I planted two 3″ Bonnie’s plants in mid-February, and they’re already full-grown.

Bush Early Girl tomatoes, beginning to ripen.

Bush Early Girl tomatoes, beginning to ripen.

This year's first artichoke, for tonight's dinner.  We planted 3 artichoke plants in the back garden last year, and 2 made it through the mild winter, coming back strong, healthy, and productive.

This year’s first artichoke, for tonight’s dinner. We planted three artichoke plants in the back garden last year, and two made it through the mild winter, coming back strong, healthy, and productive.

Short & leggy sunflowers that popped up in my compost and were transplanted to cups 6 weeks ago.  The blossom is less than 2" across.

Short & leggy sunflowers that popped up in my compost and were transplanted to cups 6 weeks ago. The blossom is just over 1″ wide.

More self-seeded sunflowers.  These, too, sprung up in the compost, and I transplanted them to bed 1.  Until they bloom, I'm not certain what variety they are.

More self-seeded sunflowers. These self-seeded in Bed 4, and I transplanted them to Bed 1. I won’t know what variety they are until the flowers open.

Chewed sunflower in Bed 1, probably nibbled on by earwigs, though it's also had a few ants, which have been eaten by ladybugs.  I believe it's better to let the bugs nibble on a few plants, as long as they leave the other plants alone.  As of last week, I've seen a baby praying mantis on every single sunflower in the garden.

Chewed sunflower in bed 1, probably noshed on by earwigs, though it’s also had a few ants, which have been eaten by ladybugs. I believe it’s better to sacrifice a few plants to the bugs, as long as they leave the other plants alone. As of last week, I’ve seen a baby praying mantis on almost every sunflower in the garden.

Bed 7, against east wall of back garden.  I put in 8 different tomato plants last Sunday, and am waiting a few more days before putting in the rest of the tomatoes, just in case these get chewed by earwigs or snails.

Bed 7, against east wall of back garden. I put in 7 additional tomato plants last Sunday, and am waiting a few more days before putting in the rest of the tomatoes, just in case these get chewed by earwigs or snails.

Close up of Sun Gold tomatoes in Bed 7.

Close up of Sun Gold tomatoes in Bed 7. We put in two plants in early February, and each plant has two gorgeous cherry tomatoes that will be fully ripe within the next 2 to 3 days. This we’ll be the earliest we’ve ever had ripe tomatoes.

Even more transplanted volunteer sunflowers in Bed 8 ... and yes, one of them is blooming!  Bed 9 (against the block wall) will be getting tomato transplants later this week.

Even more transplanted volunteer sunflowers in Bed 8 … and yes, one of them is blooming! Bed 9 (against the block wall) will be getting tomato transplants later this week.

Tomatoes to plant within the next few day.

Tomatoes to plant within the next few days.

What’s going on in your garden this week?

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