PE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Zone 9b - it's hot in Central California!

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Offline DoomerSupport

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Zone 9b - it's hot in Central California!
« on: June 03, 2013, 11:00:28 AM »
This will be my thread on getting some growing experience in Zone 9b, which is the desert in the middle of the central valley, with a heat island around us, making for miserable summers.

We have a quarter-acre, not much actual useful land since it's a corner lot and outside the fence is "pretty" stuff like a lawn and flowers, the city and neighbors like pretty gardens, particularly since the building was the eyesore on the block until we moved in.  That's going to change but at a snail's pace. 

Inside the fence, we have a house that was designed for entertaining.  A huge concrete patio with a pool house, the front of which is an outside bar an kitchen.  We can entertain 50 - 70 easily and the kids had parties of over 150 (until the police broke it up) and the photos did not look too crowded.

The centerpiece of the entertaining is the 22 ft by 30 ft by 12 ft deep pool, which contains around 45,000 gallon of water.  One day it will be a duck pool but collapse has not got there yet.  For now, it's water storage, with a pair of reverse osmosis filters should I need that water for other uses.

Behind the pool house we are digging a rood cellar.  To the north of that, at the 11 o'clock position if you're looking down on our house from above, we have a pair of very fruitful orange trees, then the 4 ft by 8 ft raised bed (30 inches high) made of concrete block and filled with earth from the root cellar hole.  Just north of this is the fish pond, still not complete, but holding 500 gallons of water.  To the right, along the northwest wall (concrete) of the property is the second raised bed, same height, but 12 ft by 3 ft, with the rockery and flower garden (attracting pollinators).

A few more trees, and the it gets to the NE corner, where the huge compost pile resides, behind the fruit cocktail tree, the raised bed of squash (four plants), then more raised beds, with corn (not doing well, the dogs knocked them over playing) and potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic.  3 gallon and 5 gallon pots abound, with peppers, tomatoes and other stuff all over the place.  Why pots?  So I can more stuff around to see where it grows best. tomatoes do better in the earth while the lettuces and peppers did a lot better in pots. 

I started everything in pots this last February, here's a photo of the first batch of plants at the beginning of march, in the background you can see the tall grass where the raised bed was about to start construction.

First steps in returning to gardening.
First steps in returning to gardening.

Needless to say, the squash have done the best in our climate:

Squash plants, three monthsold
Squash plants, three monthsold

And the Zucchini got out of hand while we were at Age of limits.  This one was the size of my thumb when we left for the conference (our son missed it as he harvested and fed himself from the garden while we were away, he likes free food):
Large zucchini
Large zucchini

Oh, cacti grow well here also.  This one, a Peruvian torch, is poking out of the top of one of our orange trees.

Peruvian Torch Cacti
Peruvian Torch Cacti

To get an idea of how tall that baby is, here's a picture from on top of our pool house (now a studio apartment), you'll see the cacti just sticking out of the orange tree near the top left side of the roof.  The black tubing is solar energy collectors that warm the pool with just a 1/4 horsepower motor, pumping water up to the roof, where it warms in the sun, and flows back into the pool  It also reduces the pool house apartment temperature a great deal and reduce energy consumption for the outbuilding.

Pool house roof
Pool house roof

More on gardening in the belly of hell later!




Offline Eddie

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Re: Zone 9b - it's hot in Central California!
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 11:16:38 AM »
I'm on the line between 8b and 9a myself at the "town" location. solidly in 8b out at the country place. Squash is what I grow best too, although I am getting some tomatoes at the moment.

I have two deep raised beds with sweet potatoes, we'll see how they grow. I have some"Provider" bush beans that are looking good.

I have .8 acre, but we're on septic, which occupies maybe .25 acre. I'm up to 8 beds and building more.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline DoomerSupport

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Re: Zone 9b - it's hot in Central California!
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 01:07:22 PM »
One of the reasons I'm keeping some plants in pots is to compare "morning sun" with "all day sun" and evening sun. Identical soil, identical watering times, only thing different is the placement in the garden. The tomatoes prefer a shadowed morning and full sun in the afternoon and evening, whereas the Mellon and pumpkin both want the dawn sun - to the point where they'll go through the fence if you don't let a vine out that way. 

The Garlic that's in shade towards the end of the day is doing better than the garlic in shade in the morning.   No difference in the welsh bunching onions. 



 

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