One thing I learned with Blueberries is the common mockingbird really loves them. I use to wonder why my berries would never ripen. It’s because as soon as they showed any color the mockingbird would eat them. This was typically before I got up in the morning. As soon as I got nets on the berries the very next day I saw a few that had turned color.
I used to use the “Bird Block” black netting you get at the big box stores. It gets the job done but is terrible to work with, gets caught on things easily, rips, and isn’t easy to use again the next year.
This year I bought bird netting from http://www.americannettings.com/ and what a difference it makes. It is a pleasure to net the BB’s and also to move the netting to stick my greedy hands in. It’s a much better quality and will last for many seasons.
To net my berries I take a piece of rebar and hammer into the ground (or a concrete block for areas I can’t hammer into) and then bend 1/2″ pvc pipe over the berries in a hoop. Throw the net over and boom!
Reading about the huge blizzard on the East Coast today made me think this mild rainy weather isn’t too bad (even if the dogs do hate it!). While everything is dormant back there and the growing season far away we in California still have things to harvest. Winter is the typical season for citrus to come ripe, although you can have it any season if you find the right varieties.
Check out our orange tree; loaded!
Meyer Lemons, Navel Orange, Bears Lime, and the tiny guys are limequat
If you have one area that is overrun with squirrels planting tart citrus there is a good fruiting option as they usually leave it alone; lemons, limes, kumquats, calamondin, maybe a tart grapefruit? They love the sweet stuff though, just like any other sweet fruit.
What’s so good about them? From a grower’s point of view there is lots. They don’t really get diseases, they are drought tolerant, and don’t suffer die back or damage in our climate. They also fruit in the fall, when there isn’t a lot of fresh fruits.
Here is a harvest I took in early November. It’s three varieties, Eversweet, Wonderful, and Sharp Velvet
Eversweet is pink with light colored arils. The arils are mild, sweet, and very soft.
You can’t really tell Sharp Velvet apart from Wonderful by looks but definitely by taste. Sharp Velvet has a very complex almost wine like flavor. Wonderful is the kind usually sold at the supermarket. It has an okay taste, but is lacking compared to other varieties.
The jewels of the fruit world! If you live in Nor Cal you should plant some pomegranates. They are also very ornamental, with showy flowers.
Well, I’ve been pretty terrible about getting content up on my website; “Thanks Obama!” is the saying for that right?
Lets make this a “fruits of my labor” post, with a few pictures:
Blueberries: So many this year, have a lot in the freezer, they need to be netted or birds will eat them all
Peaches: So many this year, have a lot in the freezer (we need to get a separate freezer I think!). Not as much pecks from birds this year. I thinned them hard and they got really big 🙂
Squash & Cucumbers: There are usually first things to give me fruits from the vegetable garden. Have been giving a lot of squash away at the shelter, there are quite prolific (and tasty).
Berries: Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blackberries. Berries are the best. Even had some currants this year too.
Grapes & Pluots: These grapes are called “Himrod”. My first time eating them and was very impressed with their sweet and almost floral taste. If I had known seedless grapes would taste this good I probably would have planted all seedless. Will have plenty of seeded concord grapes this year (if the rats don’t get them first).
Have been eating peppers, eggplants, kale, and lettuce. Some tomatoes are finally coloring up. Growing your own food is fun!
“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”
I’m not talking about Mos Eisley Spaceport. I’m talking about Fire blight. It’s a bacterial disease that is very serious and really hits pear trees hard. I had planted a “fire blight resistant pear” (seckel) but that hasn’t seemed to help. The past two years the tree has gotten blight and you have to keep cutting those parts out, less you infect the rest of the tree. I was going to have to cut so many parts off I figured I might as well just take the tree out. I put a pluot there instead 🙂
It’s probably called fire blight because the blossoms & stems turn black and shrivel, looking like they were burned.
Anyway, now you know. Don’t get burned by fire blight! Plant something else besides a European pear around here.
What is a self-seeding annual? It’s a plant that just lives for one season, but makes seeds and then new plants arise that area (or farther) the next year. So you can buy a packet of seeds once and have plants for many years from it.
Here is some climbing nasturtium. Really cool flowers & leaves. The whole plant is edible, including the flowers. The leaves/flowers are spicy like arugula, good for mixing into salad.
This is borage. It’s a tiny flower that is edible and tastes like cucumber of all things. Bees really like this plant.
Here is some calendula. Supposedly got that name from the Romans for always being in bloom on the first of the month. It’s a medicinal & culinary herb though I haven’t tried using it yet.
I get lots of other self seeding annuals like parsley, cilantro, and peas which are nice to see popping up as I like to use them a lot. I don’t really call them “volunteers” because I intentionally let them go to seed so they come back.
This rainy week is a good time to plant some seeds….get to it 🙂