First day of spring and the week’s harvest

It is gorgeous out: clear blue skies, perfect temperature, singing birds, and bright hope after the weekend’s storm. We needed the rain. The snow pack in the mountains was only 34% of what should normally be there.

My three raised beds look good from this angle, but the cool weather crops aren't doing all that well after the heat wave of a couple of weeks ago.

It’s about time we got some good weather. We’ve had record-breaking heat, which isn’t good for my garden. My cool weather crops are refusing to make cabbage heads or Brussels sprouts, and the lettuce has bolted already. The early heat confuses things and makes them burst open too soon. Well, we shall see what the 2012 gardening season brings.

This is pretty much the entirety of my tiny backyard. Three raised beds for vegetables, a chicken coop, some fruit trees and flowers. No lawn! All organic.

A double narcissus. I forget the variety.

My red flame seedless grapes are off to a good start. I expect to get my first crop of grapes this summer and can hardly wait to see if the vines will have flowers this year.

The heat wave tricked the Granny Smith apple into opening some of its buds a bit earlier than normal.

The Florida Prince peach has set a LOT of peaches, more than any other year. My August Pride peach only set three peaches though. It's still a pretty small tree. The Babcock Improved peach is just now blooming, and I hope will give me some late season peaches. It too is a young tree, and this may be its first year of making a decent crop.

The Littlecado avocado tree made a decent amount of avocados for the first time ever last year. I still have a dozen fruits left on the tree. They don't ripen until picked, so I can extend the harvest over several months. The tree is in bloom again, and I can hardly wait to see if I get a good fruit set again this year.

I'm about midway through the harvest of my limes and lemons, but the oranges are nearly all gone. Only a dozen left. The navel orange tree is blooming again, and I have hopes of another good crop next season.

This is my citrus harvest from last week. They all went to my son Scott and his family. I love being able to share the bounty from my yard with my family.

I absolutely love my solar oven. I've used it every sunny day since it arrived last week.

I made a pot roast in the solar oven with two pounds of chuck roast, a sliced onion, six Kyoto red carrots from my garden, a package of dry onion soup mix, and a half cup of red wine. Fabulous!

Last night's dinner, an Italian chicken casserole, was also made in the solar oven. I marinated two chicken hindquarters, 3 sliced bell peppers, a sliced onion, 5 Danvers half long carrots from my garden, and two small potatoes cut into cubes in a marinade of Weber Grillmates Italian herb marinade with 1/4 C olive oil and 1/4 C water. After a half hour, I put it all into the solar oven and let it simmer at 300 degrees for about three hours. I used a glass lid and the top layer of vegetables browned up nicely. Everything was tender and the taste was incredible.

On to the harvest.

 

FRUITS

12 oz avocados

5  lbs 10 oz navel oranges

1 lb 14 oz lemons (Meyer and Eureka)

2 oz lime, Bearrs

Subtotal fruit 8 lbs 6 oz

VEGETABLES

6 oz broccoli

3 oz cauliflower

2.5 oz snow peas

Subtotal vegetables 11.5 oz

TOTAL PRODUCE 9 lbs 1.5 oz plus 15 eggs

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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6 Responses to First day of spring and the week’s harvest

  1. The Narcissus looks a lot like ‘Tahiti’ but I wouldn’t swear to it. Happy spring! The pot roast looks excellent!
    Terry

  2. Candy Jennings says:

    lou – do you have a problem with rats in the summer in your yard with your produce and chickens? Thanks for letting me know, Candy

  3. Robin says:

    Great harvest for the week! We are also having extremely warm weather. I am so glad my brassicas are still small. It would not do them any good to be out in this warm weather so early on.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Robin, I’m giving up on my Brussels sprouts. the smaller plants are going to the chickens because they just aren’t making sprouts. The things that are supposed to be tight balls are open and leafy. I’m letting a couple go a bit longer, plus three red cabbages, but the rest of my cole crops are gone now. Stupid global warming.

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