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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall is Rust and Gold

The yellows of the last-of-the-season blooming chamisa in the foreground along with the golden cottonwoods and rust colored oak leaves help me to appreciate the concept of seasons.






Monday, October 13, 2014

Growing Dome- Fall 2014

It really is fall here, now, with the pretty aspen trees and last night's below freezing temperatures. In SoCal, there really aren't distinct seasons, but just hot and not so hot. Back in California, when it dipped into the 50's, I'd get out my long underwear and think I was really cold.


 But I didn't really know what cold was until I moved to Northern New Mexico. Heck, there's a small community around here whose nickname is Little Alaska, for heaven's sake!

But I am willing to put on my coat and longies for winter because it's a fine trade for wonderful, temperate summers. Months of over 100 degrees is not my thing, so I find the lightest weight, high performance warmies to wear during wintertime and deal with it.

One way I cope with colder weather is with my Growing Dome, where I have a chance to garden and to bask in the winter sun. Over 300 days of sunshine definitely hits the spot.

During winter I grow cool season crops like chard, kale, lettuce, and all that.


 During summer, I grow most of my tomatoes and all of my cucumbers inside the dome. Some friends grow tomatoes outdoors, but I seem to have bad luck with outdoor tomato plants. They give me a few and then it freezes. I know I could mess around with walls of water and little hoop houses, so maybe that's on the agenda for next year.

Right now my outdoor tomatoes are toast, but inside things are still perking along.


It's like a jungle sometimes/ Sometimes I wonder how I keep from going under (Sorry-Grandmaster Flash took over for a sec.)

In here it's usually about 20 degrees warmer. Temp outside was 29F last night, but all is well inside the dome.


Here's a pretty yellow tomato. I had some red ones, but a varmint climbed inside and chewed them down. We added some wire mesh to the side air vents, so maybe that will keep the little @#$@ out.


We still have plenty of green tomatoes, so if our days are in the 50's to 60's for a while longer,  they will ripen.


We have a load of cucumbers on the vines. Earlier in the summer there were juicy, tasty green straight eight's. Then a couple weeks ago the cucumbers started looking like this. I waited for them to turn green but they never did. They taste fine except for a little bitterness at the stem end (my fault for not being a consistent waterer). Earlier I replanted some varmint-ravaged plants, and maybe they were Poona Kheera seeds? It's a mystery.


Each time I visit the dome there is something to pick, which is totally cool. Earlier I had a bumper crop of Shishito peppers, but the aphids made them anemic, so I had to pull the plants. Those peppers were the best, though, just sauteed with a little salt and lime. Yum!


My fishies are doing well. Last year I was mystified to see strange little fish in the dome's water tank, then realized my original three goldfish had a menage a trois which resulted in fourteen goldfish babies! 

Not Koi, but plain old Wal-Mart goldfish, they recognize me when I lean over to visit, happy to eat their fish food pellets.  During winter they hunker down at the bottom of the tank and wait for spring.

So come on, winter! I'm ready for you. 

Well, kind of.