The Backyard Progress Report: December 2014

Happy New Year to all my friends out there on the Interwebs. I thought I’d take the morning to snap a few photos of random whatsits around the yard. Of course, Mia was out and causing trouble. Luckily the cold weather hasn’t done any noticeable damage to any of the plants. I’m leery of complaining about the cold weather living here in SoCal when compared to the rest of the country. So I won’t complain, I’ll just gently and softly mention that it’s been a wee bit chilly. Why just the other night, I had to wear a coat!! The very idea! Anyway, here are some nice photos to gaze your eyes upon…


The Winter cover crop continues to grow thick and full. The rye grass, oats and valley peas are really taking off. I’ll have to figure out some recipes to see what I can make from those crops! The main goal of course is to repair the garden soil for next springs crops. These plants are actively repairing all the lost nutrients as we speak. If healthy soil is your goal, you should definitely look into this for next fall!

Ice cream banana tree (Musa “Ice Cream”)

My very first ever banana tree has doubled it’s size since I planted it a month and a half ago. A very aggressive grower! I chose the ice cream variety because it’s supposed to be the best tasting of the dessert bananas. A slight hint of vanilla ice cream is the word on the streets. Did you know that the bananas you get from the store are the least tasty of the dessert varieties? It’s true, they are only used because they travel well and don’t rot as quickly. They are shipped green for better travel and are gassed with ethylene after shipping to force the fruit to ripen. I thought, no thank you! I’ll grow my own and pick them as I need them. It was a struggle planting this one because they need well draining soil and that spot is not the best. I had to dig down past the clay and then fill it with rocks and gypsum before back filling with better draining soil and then planting it. It appears to be working well although after some heavy rains I could see signs of waterlogged roots. It bounced back fairly quickly though.

Meyer Lemon Tree

The lemon tree I planted last summer has been doing well also. A few yellowing leaves at the end of summer had me worrying a bit, but it now has 8 lemons that are ripening! For a two foot tall tree, I’d say that’s pretty good! Perhaps a small glass of lemonade is in my future?

Slow growing pineapple

The pineapple is still taking it’s sweet time to grow. I should have that ready to eat by 2027! If you’re hungry now, you may want to stop at In and Out first cuz this little bastard won’t be ready anytime soon. I’m surprised that pineapples are so cheap at the stores because they take so long to grow and ripen. Plus you usually only get one at a time per plant and even after that, the plant only produces about 2-3 in it’s lifetime. You’d think that pineapples would be $50 each.

The rescued staghorn

In the only shady part of my yard lives this staghorn I rescued from the alleys of OB a few years back. It was in a sad state and now it’s stately! Once I get a tree growing large enough, I’ll switch this guy over to a hanging chain and get him to grow in a large ball. One day.

Scaredy cat plant – Plectranthus caninus (coleus canina)

I keep going back to the scaredy cat plant to see it’s fascinating blooms. I planted this in some areas of the yards to cut down on all the feral cats that used to like to poop all over. A delicious treat to Sasha, but a nuisance to me! The stuff does stink a bit, but that’s the point. When it rains, it smells like those funny smelling cigarettes the kids smoke in OB. Not that I would know anything about that…

The upper falls.

The waterfalls have been going strong for a while now. Since the heat wave is long gone, I haven’t had to refill it as often. I also fixed the problem I was having with the sludge building up on the pump every week. I used a bunch of plastic scrubby sponges from the dollar store as extra filters around the pump. Haven’t had to clean it in three months since then! Cheap fixes are my favorite. Mia loves to escape the confines of her luxurious prison to sip from the cool waters of the lower falls.

You’re busted Mia!

Here’s a random slathering of some other photos I took while strolling about…

0 Replies to “The Backyard Progress Report: December 2014”

    1. Hey guys! Thanks for spreading the love!! I got your ebook earlier today on my phone. Now, for the life of me, I can’t find where it downloaded?! It’s there somewhere but at least I was able to support your noble endeavors! Happy New Year and keep us posted on the house hunt!!

    1. Why thank you Sarhn! I’ve always loved photography. So much faster than painting;) One day I’ll share some of my fine art photos although they don’t relate to gardening…I live in San Diego so it’s mostly warm. Never too cold and never too hot. Kinda boring when I think about it. Sometimes I miss the Buffalo, NY weather, of which there is no shortage. What part of the world are you in?

      1. Reside towards the Southern Highlands of New South Whales – about an hour South of Sydney, Australia. Even on a hot 40 degrees C day, it gets cool at night. All year round there is a blanket on the bed. HUmmmmm makes me wonder if I could grow bananas in a green house.

  1. Post script: after a 10 minute game of chase, I finally cut Mia’s flight feathers off of one of her wings. It was a lot easier than I thought, after I caught her that is. I made sure she was calm and cool before the surgery. All that worry over nothing. It was as easy as a haircut. Well see if she can jump the 4′ fence now!

    1. Thanks Kevin! Yeah, it was only 2 bucks to fix what once was a weekly chore. I bought 2 little plastic mesh baskets, put the pump in the center of one surrounded by scrub pads and then used the other basket as a lid. So simple yet so effective.

  2. Hi MindYourDirt,

    My name is Ashley DiFranza and I work for Twin Pines Landscaping, out of Massachusetts! We just love your blog and think that you provide great images and advice about landscaping! We would love to get connected and share more ideas! Feel free to check out our blog here or “Like” us on Facebook here to get an idea about who we are and what we do! Thanks so much and we look forward to getting connected!

    Ashley DiFranza & The Twin Pines Landscaping Team

    1. Hi Ashley! Thank you so much! I’m glad you’re enjoying mind your dirt. And thanks for following my continuing adventures in home ownership. I’ll definitely check out twin pines. I almost wrote twin peaks. Too much David Lynch in my past I reckon…

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