Garden Update: Late Spring

When Peas Attack!

Sweet Pea season has begun. If you’ve heard me talk about the garden or the property around our house, you’ve heard me complain about the pea plants. The plant in question, is the California Pea (Lathyrus jepsonii var. californicus) also called the California Tule Pea. Near the end of spring it grows at a rapid pace, often growing up our trees, and over the top of other plants. For a native plant, it is the most invasive thing in the garden.

Since last spring I have been battling the pea plant back to a manageable area. Let grow unattended for many years, this plant has an expansive root network through the hillside behind our house. At the base of the slope, in the garden planters, root ends that I dig up are regularly 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter. Last year I left several root ends dug up and exposed to nature, for the entire winter. As I hoped, this did slow the growth of the plant in the garden planter area. This winter I will do the same with the root ends I find this summer.

In the past month (May 7 to June 7) the pea plants grew an average of 1ft per week! In the past two weeks this growth has coincided with the blooming of Shasta Daisys, giving the peas something to cling to, resulting in an awful ugly display of nature gone wild.

Elsewhere in the garden:

Our chives had an amazing year and I counted 33 flowers that went to seed this year. The chive patch is growing to a full 2ft x 3ft bed.

White onions (left) and chives (right)
Onions and Chives. May 2019.

My experimental onion patch turned out 4 small onions. Since these were replants of the previous patch, I wasn’t certain they would pull through. I’ve left a couple plants in the soil to let them grow into next year. Later this year I will expand the onion bed to help deter the local deer population from feeding there.

Cilantro was planted near the chives and small onion patch. So far only a single plant appears to be sprouting, which isn’t bad considering I planted the seeds a bit late in the season.

Cilantro Siding
Cilantro bed, May 2019.
I am thinking of keeping the name “Cilantro” for the siding on the railroad.

The future expanded garden area has been getting a lot of work this year. My nephew Zeph has been extremely helpful with clearing young cedars and other plants around the garden area. But we don’t expect to have that area down to bare earth until this fall. The progress coincides with the war on pea plants. Once the peas are beat back, the upper area will be leveled and raised planter beds will be installed.

The increased care and grooming has allowed the ferns growing on the hill to thrive. The biggest of them is doing great his year. I have counted about 4 new young ferns growing on the slope too.

During the cleanup this spring, Zeph and I were able to locate 6 rose bushes that are slowly being rehabilitated. The plants are doing well but I have yet to see any flowers as the local deer population feeds on them in the night.

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