Harvest Monday May 14, 2012

The weather here in southern California is gorgeous today. There is a hint of humidity in the air and I can smell the ocean and earth and spring outside. Delightful.

Drifts of beautiful pink Mexican poppies are nodding in the breeze in our front yard. They self seed, and are taking over. I’m letting them grow where they want because they are so pretty.

I went to gather eggs this morning and found Henrietta on the nest. She got disturbed and stood up before I could snap her picture. Chicken Little was at the door to the coop, awaiting her turn in the nest. My three hens have four nests to choose from, but they only like to lay eggs in one of the nests. Go figure.

Two of our avocados went on top of nachos this week, made with organic blue corn tortilla chips, grated cheese, and store-bought salsa.

Should have harvested this red cabbage last week. It has split really badly, but it will still taste good fried up with an apple and served with German sausages. That’s about all I know to do with red cabbage. What do you do with yours?

I am not having good luck with my Grandpa Admire lettuce. I had 23 sprouts, but all have died or were eaten by pillbugs except for the last three seedlings. I am hoping to get at least one of these plants to maturity so I can see what this lettuce tastes like.

I have much better luck growing Black-seeded Simpson lettuce, which is my favorite kind. I will thin and transplant this tiny patch soon. My second favorite lettuce is Forellenschuss, otherwise known as Speckled Trout. I’ll have to see if I have any seeds left of that variety. It is so pretty, I can’t resist it. But my husband thinks it looks diseased because of the speckles. Go figure.

The little round things that I have been photographing turned out to be flower buds on my grapevines. These are the real flowers. If you look really, really closely, you can see stamens and pistols on the flowers. They are miniscule. I hope the bees find them or I won’t get any grapes. I worry because I haven’t see any bees lately, and my Granny Smith apple blossoms don’t seem to have been fertilized. I had more flowers on that tree than ever this spring, but so far I haven’t found even one apple set from all those flowers. It is still blooming a bit, so I’m still hopeful for fruit set.

Redhead Radish cotyledon leaves.

Tendergreen burpless cucumber cotyledon leaves. I’m also growing Straight Eight this year, a new cucumber variety for me. I hope to make some pickles this summer.

A mystery pumpkin or winter squash sprouted from the compost. It is doing so nicely, that I’m letting it grow. Probably a big mistake. We’ll see. Mammoth snow peas are growing behind the pumpkin. They will grow up my pea fence by the deck. This is my second planting of peas on this fence this year. With luck, I may be able to get in a crop of beans along this fence after the peas are done. Time will tell.

This row of Cherokee Trail of Tears beans is growing by my water meter and hose bib in a tiny strip of otherwise useless soil. I usually get a crop of peas or beans from this patch of dirt by the side of the house. I’m also growing Blue Lake Pole Beans in the raised bed in back. They are farther along than these beans, which I will use as dried black beans.

This is my rejuvenated Garden of Infinite Neglect, or my GIN garden. I may change its name to Garden of Infinite Niceness, but niceness is such a blah word. Surely I can do better than that.

Everything has recovered from transplant shock, and I’ve even had a harvest of Red Sails lettuce (because I planted them as embarassingly mature transplants last week). The cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, beets and chard have sprouted from seed. I’m waiting for the carrots to sprout next, plus the rest of the beets. If they don’t sprout, I’ll reseed.

I added fertilizer to my three-year-old strawberry jar and rejuvenated it. I may get some strawberries from it this year.

Whoops, guess who should have harvested artichokes last week? These are a bit past prime, but will still be good if I pick them today.

Our Panamint nectarine has set about 30 fruits. The Snow Queen makes even better fruit, best nectarines I’ve ever tasted. My husband wants to know how many of THOSE that we’re getting, but they are just now finishing flowering. I’m happy that they ripen at different times so we aren’t inundated with nectarines.

Speaking of inundated…. Take a look at this Florida Prince peach tree. It is absolutely loaded with fruit this year. And it is all getting ripe at once. This is certainly a case of “use it or lose it.”

The lighting wasn’t optimal for a photo of my raised beds behind the herb garden in the foreground, but I put this in anyway so you can see what a jungle they are turning into with all those tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, kale, etc. My tomatoes are flowering, but only one has set any fruit so far. I go out in the morning and flick the flowers to help them set fruit, but it doesn’t seem to be doing any good. I need some Blossom Set. That really helps the tomatoes and peppers set fruit.

And that’s my garden round-up for the week. Um, probably shouldn’t use the word round-up within earshot of my plants. They might think it was the capitalized version, which has no place in my yard. We’re all organic, safer for the bees and butterflies.

HARVEST for week ending May 13

FRUIT

5 oz Lime

1 lb 8 oz Peaches, Florida Prince

Subtotal 1 lb 13 oz Fruit

VEGETABLES

3 oz lettuce, Red Sails

TOTAL 2 lbs PRODUCE plus 11 eggs

If you had a harvest, or to see what others are harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions. (See link at right.)

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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12 Responses to Harvest Monday May 14, 2012

  1. Norma Chang says:

    How about “garden of infinite delight”?
    Pretty pink Mexican poppies. I have the yellow California. I too let the grow wherever as they are so beautiful.
    Your garden is so well tended.

  2. Daphne says:

    I so wish I could have nachos like that. They look so good.
    I like the Garden of Infinite Tranquility. My son says that isn’t an “N” word. The best we could come up with is the Garden of Infinite Nirvana, but really that is too strong of a word, don’t you think?

  3. pooks says:

    The Garden of Infinite Nurture?
    Your peaches are making me drool, and those nachos look so good I want to steal them. Love those blue corn chips!

  4. maryhysong says:

    I love your pink poppies! I see them occasionally along roadsides here, but never manage to get there at the right time for seed. Oh peaches and nectarines; you are much farther ahead than we are.

    • Mary, I picked half my Florida Prince peaches today. Maybe more than half. They are ripening and over-ripening on the tree. Next year I must thin them because they are all way too small. It’s going to be a nuisance dealing with all those seeds and so little flesh.

  5. Susi says:

    Your garden is amazing. The last picture is breathtaking. : ) We just started a small vegetable garden ourselves and we don’t know what to expect, but so far it has been very enjoyable.

  6. randy schaefer says:

    yes can you help me find that variety of pink mexican poppies i would love some i see them all over where i live but can not find them for sale any where
    Thanks Randy

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