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Hooray for the rain!

What a wonderful Thanksgiving gift! At last, our prayers for real rain have been answered! These gentle off-and-on rains are soaking into parched soil and providing the fields, trees and wildlife with desperately needed water. Perhaps some will make it to the reservoirs too.

 It makes me happy to see bright green spears of garlic shooting up from the mulch, and cabbage butterflies must not fly in the rain, as there are a lot fewer green caterpillars on the brassicas now. Other than peeking in the middle of the broccoli and cauliflower plants to see if the heads have started to show, and harvesting, there’s not much to do in my garden now. This is time for gardeners to rest. I’ve always felt so lucky that my life pattern at least somewhat follows natures. I can sleep longer, catch up on reading and sorting piles and partake in some of the rest and rejuvenation that most creatures do this time of year.

 Yet for many people, this is the most hectic and stressful season. As much as possible, try to simplify and slow down a bit this month. Perhaps go to one of our regional parks and see the bright green hills and moss on the trees, and breathe deeply of moist, clean air. Shopping and gifts are not as important as time with loved ones and personal health, and this special season will pass all too soon.

 If your thoughts drift back to the garden, and if you delayed planting new fruit trees or other perennials last year due to water concerns, perhaps you can do so this winter? The selection at local nurseries is limited now, but it’s a great time to plant native and Mediterranean plants. Some shrubs and other perennials can be divided now, and you can still plant bulbs like daffodils and narcissus. These are drought tolerant and gophers and deer don’t eat them!

It has been so warm recently that you can still plant garlic and fava beans now too.

 Strange how we’ve gone so quickly from soil that is too dry to warning about working in soil that is too wet, but do take care to not compact soil that sticks to tools or sinks under your feet. Bare root fruit trees, berries, asparagus crowns, etc., should be available by mid-January, so think about any areas with adequate space and sun where these could go.

 May your holidays be restful, merry and filled with wonderful food from your garden and the bounty of our beautiful region!