Warm Fall Nights in San Francisco
Ode to a Radish

Rains Bring Spring in Fall

A gentle rain has been falling off and on for the past two days. Farmers used to call it a female rain--one that fell in small drops over a long period. The long, slow delivery lets all of the water soak into the soil. Male rains, on the other hand, were ones that fell hard and fast. Dramatic all right, but the big drops, falling in a short period, often lead to runoff, so these rains aren't as effective at getting the soil wet through. No comment on sexual innuendos.

Point is, the replenishing of soil moisture is beginning, the little green seedlings have begun to appear in unwatered places. Soon the hills of California will be the sweetest shade of green, and the greens in our vegetable gardens will be tender and sweet. Our glorious second spring! Our mediterranean paradox of spring in fall. As the sun retreats, the rain gets things going again.

Seeds we planted last week include mustard spinach (a mild mustard), arugula, radish, and cilantro. We transplanted young kale and mizuna mustard on a hot day, hoping it would take root before it wilted. The transplants have been droopy, but the central shoot has been upright, so I know this soft rain will get them going.

It also hasn't been very cold, so I still have hopes that a couple more cucumbers will ripen, and that the annual mallows will bloom. (One pink mallow is blooming now; I have my fingers crossed for the rest.)


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Hi Erica,

Thanks for looking for recipes. Do your friends or family garden in Brazil?


The 'mediterranean paradox of spring in fall' is a strong image that I will sure carry for a long time from now on.

I also have recently planted a few brassicas in my backyard, hopefully enough for a January 1st. side dish of collards to go with feijoada!

(I am in Brazil right now, visiting family and friends. I'll research for a killer recipe that some of them might have.)

Thanks for those beautiful lines and the ones at SFGate!

chuck b.

Too funny about the male/female rains.

I lived in Georgia for two very long years where it rains *hard* 5:00-5:30 p.m. every day during the summer. I used to think, "If it didn't get so hot, it wouldn't have to rain so hard." I was a California boy who wanted more feminine weather.

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