Watch: If I Did This When It Rains In San Diego…

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Right out our front window,  this little hummingbird is showing how I feel when it rains in San Diego.

Wish I could show it like that! My heart feels it :)

Is this how you feel when rains?


Watch: If I Did This When It Rains In San Diego…

16 Bugs Gardeners Should Love

Predatory Wasp
Predatory Wasp – Lays eggs inside bad bug larvae (such as the moth larvae above in our sunflowers). The wasp’s young hatch inside and explode the pests  from the inside out!

My daughter shared this news article and slideshow with me, and I just had to share it with you!

Their presence is a gardener’s gift. Repay it by avoiding nonorganic pesticides, says W.M. Hood, professor of entomology at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Spring is afoot here in Southern California, and you’ll be seeing (hopefully) some of these ‘beauties’ in your yard & garden.

Beneficial insects are key to a healthy organic garden and you can do much to attract them and keep them in your yard.

By keeping your yard beneficial insect friendly, these good bugs will keep coming back year after year!

Read more:

16 Bugs Gardeners Should Love

Spring Winter-like Storm and Problem With Swarm of Bees

For everyone wondering about our bees… They are in their new box. A generous couple from Alpine who belong to the San Diego Beekeeping Society drove all the way here to Linda Vista and helped us figure out the problem(s).

1. The Queen was NOT in the box with her bees! We located her on a neighbor’s trailer with her troupe of about 50 bees. 
2. Another Queen was dead on the ground with a small group of loyal bees.

It appears that a second swarm came into our yard during this last bout of rain and wind. It may have been dislodged from it’s location during the storm.  At some point, our Queen left the temporary box. This is why the bees were in mass confusion – they were looking for her!

This was April 14, 2012. The Queen has left the building.

We will probably never know what really happened…

Because we thought that the bees were highly agitated due to the wind and rain, and because our neighbor was pretty frightened, Saturday night we moved the temporary box to a location across the yard in a more sheltered area. 

Sunday morning it was the same behavior. 

We called the couple who gave us the swarm to see if they knew what was going on. They packed up their bee stuff and came over!

They got the hive moved over to the permanent box, captured the Queen and put her in, and lent us a feeder to place in the hive (they were so hungry). The experience was actually thrilling. You should have seen it when they recognized her! I wanted to cry.

Anyway… That’s the short story!

Here is our Flickr stream of all the photos.

UPDATE: Sunday, April 15th

 Boo! Same behavior today :( It appears the Queen left again! Our bees are on the way to Alpine to hopefully get integrated with other bees. It is better than having them fly around the neighborhood in confusion until they die…

We will try again in a couple weeks!

Spring Winter-like Storm and Problem With Swarm of Bees

The Garden is Screaming Life! Spring! Color! And I’m Listening.

Got the Spring Gardening Itch yet? No? 

I just have to share the photos from today’s walk around the garden.  It screams Life! Spring! Color! Dare you to look and not think about planning or planting YOUR spring garden.

Today’s activities: pulling nettles, raking leaves, and figuring out what we are planting this spring. 

It was wonderful to see this ladybug just hatching:

They are everywhere! Our companion planting has really paid off.

Oops, pulled a carrot instead of a weed! I didn’t think any of the carrots grew – it was sweet and delish!

Yess!! We will have blueberries. I bought one bush last year to see how it would grow in our yard. I think we’ll add 3 or 4 more. 

We dug these up out of our “food not lawns” area out front. Threw a piece of it on the side yard for possible soil erosion issues, and it looks so pretty today:

Love purple and orange. Here’s some status:

Our lovely, loyal dwarf Anna apple tree :)

This grass is self seeding – it is popping up all over our backyard. I love it. 

Cannot wait for strawberries!

Teeny cactus:

Beets are growing, and a few are ready to pick. This was our first time growing beets. Only about 1/4 of them sprouted. 

Saw this cute little red butt spider hopping around. Love spiders in the garden!

Our chile manzano’s first Spring blossom.

I sure hope you’ve enjoyed this walk around the garden as much as I have!



The Garden is Screaming Life! Spring! Color! And I’m Listening.

Growing Apples in San Diego’s Coastal Zone

We had always believed apple trees needed winter chill hours to be successful. Imagine our surprise when we met Anna!

In 2006, Anna lived in our front yard in Linda Vista, San Diego, CA. We inherited her when we bought the property. She was, at the time, a tree without a name, bare, uncared for, and looked half-dead. 

So, we dug around her base, fed and watered her. 

Anna in 2006

Within a couple of weeks, she thanked us with blossoms! But she wouldn’t actually produce apples, right? WRONG!

A couple of months later we got our first little batch of apples, about 15 in all. We did not know the variety we had, but we were already quite impressed with this little tree… The apples were tart, yet sweet. Finally, we learned that we had a variety of apple that grows well in San Diego – the Semi-Dwarf Anna Apple Tree. I have seen healthy ones for sale at City Farmers Nursery

Moving Anna
About a year after meeting Anna, we were redesigning our front yard to plant a lawn (we eventually scrapped the lawn to plant a salsa garden). She had to be moved. We had never moved a tree before. We researched how to move a tree, and successfully relocated Anna to the backyard on top of 3 yellowtail fish carcasses. How long until we should expect fruit? Incredibly – less than 6 months later. My father, Bill Cartwright, an avid organic gardener in Northern California, calls her the miracle tree.

After Move 1
After Move 1

Mud Soup
We had to move Anna again in 2010… This time, however, she didn’t even lose any leaves! We think it is because of the mud soup we placed her in. I will write about mud soup later. We are getting more confident about relocating our plants :)


It is now 2011. By the end of July, she had produced at least a hundred apples.

5-Minute Applesauce

Excellent! See you again next year, Anna.

But WAIT! A month later I went out to check the backyard garden and Anna was full of blossoms again!! This tree is amazing.

I counted the apples on Anna last week, and there were at least 82 apples of varying sizes, as well as new blossoms coming forth. 

Below are photos I took today…

Picture taken Sept 29, 2011

Picture taken Sept 29, 2011

Looking for a good variety of apple tree to grow in Southern California? On, there are 47 posts in the topic of what is the “Best apple tree in So. Cal.

If you would like to learn more about low chill apple varieties, you can learn more: 


Anya @MyGardenHaven

Growing Apples in San Diego’s Coastal Zone

Watermelons In September?

I admit it.

Late July was NOT the time to buy watermelon starts at the local nursery and think I could actually get results this growing season… 

But I WANT watermelons. I had almost given up, until this morning:

Our September watermelons. Notice the one on the right climbing the air conditioner…

YES! There may be a juicy melon yet! 

Hopefully we will have a few more weeks of warm weather to mature them.

Repeat after me: I will plant watermelons early next year, I will plant watermelons early next year…”

Watermelons In September?

Hummingbird battles the wind

Hummingbird battles the wind