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The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25561


In my below sea level, subtropical desert environment, the Salton Sea area in the Coachella Valley, the Riverside County extension of the Imperial Valley (same geographical feature, simply changes its name at the Imperial County line) of southern California, the winter corresponds to spring in a middle temperate climate, spring to summer, the summer is better styled the torrid season, and August is the prime planting season.

In the torrid season, this is an unequivocal desert.

Root and leaf crops usually do well only in the winter and spring, the most reliable local crops are dates and citrus, though many of my Mexican neighbors grow the African mango, with increasing success.

Tomatoes usually produce only in spring.

The heatmaster tomato is the most reliable production tomato, the one most favored by local agroculturalists.

Most tomatoes die in June.

I've been experimenting with other types and finding a few with a somewhat more extended productive season.

One I'm working with is the pea sized native California black tomato, which I grow primarily for the benefit of the local birds, though I do occasionally use them in salads, soups and casseroles.

I do have a white eggplant that produces reliably year round.

Melons are a reliable summer time crop.

One major hurdle to production is springtime alternating gale force winds coming from the north west and south east, powerful enough to strip green fronds from palm trees and blow motor vehicles off the 10 freeway.

This is the only place in California that gets an occasional hurricane.

I've had neighbors attempt bananas only to have them literally blown away by the high winds, so I'm putting a premium on wind protection.

Other things I'm experimenting with include papayas, which I have seen successfully cultivated locally, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

The former must be harvested by the middle of May or they'll come to nothing, the latter are reliable producers that tend to go perrenial.

Other successful crops include the yellow onion and the red onion.

No other onion I've tried has succeeded except the seasonal native wild onion of the American southeast, a springtime crop that successfully goes dormant in the local summer, more like chives from the of view of a cook, but a true onion botanically.

My cayenne chilis and chili pequins have been producing reliably.

I've a newly planted kumquat coming into production for the first time.

I've tried shallots repeatedly, but not so far succeeded with them, also leeks, but not so far succeeded in bringing one to flower.

Onions I usually grow from a cutting of the bottom cm or so of a commercial onion, which needs to be put in the ground quick!y, producing a mature onion the size of the parent in a single season, or from my own seed on a biennial cycle.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25562


Producing your own seed on a cycle IT? You ought to be in vaudeville! I've heard of multi-tasking but that's ridiculous!

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25563


Onions from seed grow to about an inch in diameter the first season and don't mature to till the second, which is why I grow most of my onions from heel cuttings.

On the other hand, I get a lot of byproduct seed from the planting and my worst garden pests, kangaroo rats and miscellaneous pest birds which apparently deem it their mission to keep the desert barren won't touch anything growing near an onion, so I plant onion seed around plants more likely to be attacked.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25564

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Yesterday I has my first almost ripe tomato, today it was gone. I wonder where it went. smiley - erm

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25565


It wasn't of the variety called Roma was it? Just wondered.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25566


I have this little black cat, well it's not mine, it lives a couple of streets away but he likes to spend time in my garden, and I give him the odd treat and I quite enjoy having him around. I thought he was stray until he turned op one day with a pretty blue collar on with his name and address on, by which time I'd christened him Sidney, so he has a sort of double identity. Anyway he promptly sat down and pulled at the collar till it came off, his poor owner has just accepted that he's an incorrigible wanderer. I like to sit at my rear patio, which is wedged between my greenhouse and shed, and read, Sid sits on the other seat and gets quite aggressive if my missus comes along and tries to budge him. I put a cushion out yesterday on the chair, and by the time I sat down he had jumped on to the cushion so I had to get another one for myself! The precocity of our furry friends never ceases to amaze me!

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25567


A useful trick for keeping the critters off the tomatoes is to wrap the tomatoez with a translucent white plastic bag at the first sign of ripening

This also accelerates ripening.

The local troop of feral cats deserted my place this year, having run out of easily caught pest birds, leaving the cat food dish in the sole possesion of the mocking birds, the 1st season fledgeling jackdaw who also shared it, also having moved on.

There are still plenty of kangaroo rats about, strikingly unafraid of humanity.

I had one of the kangaroo rats come along and sit briefly on the toe of my shoe when I was taking break from working in the garden under a flood lamp the other night.

The cats, though, prefer poultry, which perhaps has something to do with the reason they eat the yellow bits (chicken flavored) in the kitty kibble first.

I do occasionally still see the matriarch of the local troop of feral cats, a handsome black called 'Blackie' or 'Blondie' by various of my neighbors, coming around occasionally to keep a hemiplegic tom owned by one of my neighbors company.

Meanwhile, the Gambel's quail which quit the area when the cats moved in are returning, which is nice since they're the best of the local songbirds.

The quail usually expropriate a 16 liter flowerpot or two to provide themselves sheltered rest areas, a few inches out of the wind, below the rim, so once they've established a preference I leave them to their flowerpots, watering to keep the potting soil in the condition they like as an alternative to hot desert sand.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25568


Sometimes my bird bath completely dries out and I have to carry a bucket of water from the tap on one side of my house all the way round to the other to fill it up. The birds don't seem to mind as long as I don't leave it too long before re filling it.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25569


The mockingbirds often make demonstrations of complaint if I'm not timely enough about replenishing their cat food dish, tipping it off the feeding table where I keep it to keep it out of reach of the kangaroo rats into the adjacent wastebasket.

There's enough redundancy in water basins around the place they rarely make a problem about that, though the cats sometimes did while they were around, usually if the next door neighbor's dogs had slurped their water dry.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25570


What happened to the cats then IT? This is supposed to be boring you know, not nature red in tooth and claw. Kangaroo rats, the very thought! Do they bounce along on their hind legs? I must look them up.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25571


What happened to the cats?

They ran out of the small birds that are their preferred prey and moved on.

Do the kangaroo rats jump like kangaroos?

Only if they're frightened or in a hurry.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25572


Why didn't they hunt the kangaroo rats I wonder? Did you know, there's 18, yes 18 different kinds, and to confuse things even more, there's a kangaroo mouse! I haven't researched them yet, I was in danger of becoming interested, I'll have a look when my curiosity level subsides.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25573


They did hunt the kangaroo rats, whose numbers rebounded quickly when the cats moved on.

They even had occasional rousing territorial battles over prime hunting turf.

But they lost intetest when they ran out of catchable poultry and moved.

They simply like birds better than small rodents.

smiley - biggrinActually I'm kind of glad to be seeing the Gambel's quail coming back.

They clear the area very quickly whenever a predator comes on their range and are slow to return.

As to whether kangaroo rats can jump, I found one in the mocking bird's cat food dish, kept on a small coffee table on the front porch to keep it out of reach of the kangaroo rats, calmly helping itself in the middle of the bowl.

It lept from the bowl, clearing the table, and set out for its hiding place in the rock garden.

It couldn't have gotten on to the coffee table except by means of leaping from the floor.
This one is about the size of a rather portly mature hamster and has an exceptionally long tail, a bit over 4 inches long, with a well developed tail-tip tuft.

No one locally, so far as I know supplies a suitable live capture trap.

I'm going to have to make my own.

They're too light weight to trigger a squirrel trap.

smiley - smileyBoring?

This is boring.

Something of a life ideal, pleasantly boring.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25574


We went shopping in Didcot about six miles from here today. I put my folding bike in the back of the car and rode back, my wife drove the car and shopping back. It's not a particularly scenic ride, quite flat and uninteresting really. I went over the main London rail line bridge but no trains came unfortunately. I quite enjoy trying to spit on the top of the coaches as they pass under, kills a bit of time. I went to put my bike away, and it had a rear puncture, would you believe it, I've just washed my hands after fixing it. My neighbour who is a functional able-bodied man takes his bike to the bike shop when he gets a puncture, he gets charged 8 quid a time! Unbelievabie. You can get a new tube for about 3 quid!

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25575


Moved the catfood dish to a higher location on the porch railing, weighted with a symetrically rounded water worn pebble to prevent accidental overturns.

I hope I've not merely raised the bar to K-rat.

Since only the mockingbirds (and the K-rat) are the only critters visiting the cat food dish lately, I've been adding black sunflower seeds to the mix.

These have been going over well, but after an initial feeding frenzy, the mockingbirds have gone back to cleaning out the kitty kibble preferentially.

I think I'll try bone meal tabs next.

Considered giving them crushed oyster shells, but the local coralline sands are so chockablock with tiny sea shells they'll have no trouble finding their own.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25576


I put sunflower seeds out hoping to attract bullfinches, but nothing, nay nothing eats them. My brother and sis in law in Newcastle get bullfinches every morning feeding on unshelled sunflower seed. I put husked sunflower seeds on the bird feeder, just a handful as they're quite expensive, and they get eaten immediately by all and sundry, starlings, sparrows bluetits pigeons, blackbirds, I'm not quite sure who eats what as I put all kinds out, but the sunflower seeds go very rapidly, but not in the husk, oh blackbirds seem to enjoy currants and chase other birds away till they've had their fill.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25577

Mr. Dreadful - But really I'm not actually your friend, but I am...

I'm about to do my team's work allocation for Monday.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25578

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

There are now more ripe tomatoes, I already ate some. I could also watch Mr blackbird from next door stealing one of them, he didn't even fly away when my husband and the dog went to the balcony door to look at him.

So now I know the tomatoes go the same place as the blueberries.

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25579


I've never heard of birds going for tomatoes before, I grew a few of those patio tomatoes which are ripening quite nicely, Toms that are just about big enough for feathered felons to nick! You've got to keep the fruit off the ground or the slugs and snails emerge and gorge themselves. The big danger round this way is every tomato growers nightmare the dreaded blight, in fact 'blightmare' is a good word which I've just coined!

The Most Boring and Banal thread on H2G2

Post 25580

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Ah, yes, my mum put some tomato plants into her vegetable patch in her garden and the snails at them all in one night. smiley - erm

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