A Hot Harvest Monday, November 5, 2012

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Dang global warming anyway. It got up into the upper 80s here today, maybe 90. This is not supposed to be happening in November in coastal southern California. It has been hot ever since, um, August I think. Normally the weather cools off by mid September, which marks when we can start our fall planting here. I gave up and planted anyway on Friday last week, installing 6 Dividend broccoli plants, 6 savoy cabbages, 6 Candid Charm cauliflower plants, 3 parsley plants, and a clump of chives. I also planted over 40 garlic cloves. I kind of lost track.

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Here is my overly enthusiastic order of garlic: Early Italian, California Early, Sonoran, and Ajo Rojo. The Ajo Rojo was gorgeous, with red streaked giant cloves. The cloves of the Sonoran separated easily. I planted cloves from one bulb from each of these bags, which will grow into over 40 bulbs, which is probably more than I need, and am still left with 11 bulbs of garlic. ACK. Now what? I got 15 bulbs for about $57 from Burpee, so they’re too expensive to eat. Visit Dave’s blog at Our Happy Acres–see right panel for a link–to see his suggestions for garlic. I’m thinking that if he planted 70 sq ft of garlic (more than double the size of my front garden bed, BTW) that I can probably plant some more. But if anyone in HB wants to buy some of these pricey garlic bulbs, let me know. I plan to put more into my community garden plot.

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The tomato crop is definitely winding down. These two will probably go into guacamole along with a couple of my avocados and some green onions from pots along the driveway. I make every spare inch of my yard (and driveway) produce! Below are some of my green onions and a planter of strawberries. In the driveway!

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I am still getting bell peppers, and it has been so hot that the darn things are still setting fruit. Not that I’m complaining. I even have a few tomatoes left on my Box Car Willie, Mortgage Lifter, Early Girl, and one of the oxheart tomatoes.

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This was my breakfast this morning, all from the garden and henhouse. Miss Hillary is still the only hen laying. Henrietta is too old to lay, Chicken Little is slacking off, and the two Barred Rock pullets that I raised from baby chicks, Peep and Cheep, are still too young. Their voices are changing though. It is so cute to hear them peep and then croak. They are about three and a half months old now, and are still adorable. For chickens.

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The back beds are slowly giving up their summer crops, and are nearing readiness for fall planting. At least the middle bed is ready to plant. The other two still have tomatoes and bell peppers and an eggplant, all of which are bearing very late fall crops. Global weirding.

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Here is what the back looks like here in early November. On a 90 degree day!Image

I have more crops nearing harvest time. Like some small Fuji apples, about three dozen limes, and over 30 Navel oranges.

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And here is my pride and joy right now, our first 21st Century Asian Pear!!!

The first Asian pear that my 21st Century Asian pear has set.

I am hoping that it will get ripe. It set fruit really late in the season, and is the first Asian pear from this tree. Our Shinseiki Asian pear chose not to set any fruit again this year. But eventually we hope to have fruit from both Asian pears, three varieties of apples (Granny Smith, Fuji, and Gala), two varieties of oranges (Navel and Valencia), two varieties of nectarines (Snow Queen and Panamint), four kinds of peaches (Garden Gold, Babcock Improved, Florida Prince and August Pride), two kinds of lemons (Eureka and Meyer), plus Bearrs limes, Littlecado avocado, a Santa Rosa plum tree and a Fuyu persimmon tree. That is my little mini-orchard. In addition I have Red Flame seedless grapes that set fruit but didn’t produce any grapes, some struggling blueberry bushes, a thornless blackberry that never gives me much of anything, and two planters of Sequoia strawberries, with two more planters waiting to be planted with Chandler strawberries. Um, unless I bought Quinault strawberries. Can’t remember.

Our Littlecado semi-dwarf avocado tree has been giving us fruit all year, with about nine avocados left on the tree.

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Last week I cooked a pork tenderloin in the solar oven along with a butternut squash, apple, red onion, ginger, orange juice, red wine, and raisins. It was so good that I did it again this week, using maple syrup in stead of the brown sugar. The butternut, ginger, and apple were from my garden.

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Peel, core and dice one apple. This one is a Granny Smith from our tree. Grate the zest from one orange with a microplane grater and add it to the apple in the pan that you will use in the solar oven.Image

Brown the pork loin in a skillet and transfer to the pot for the solar oven. Peel, seed and cube the butternut squash and add to the pork. Slice the red onion (I used 1/2 onion because it was big) and add on top of the pork. Squeeze the orange and add the juice to the pot. Grate about 1-2 tsp fresh ginger with a microplane grater and add to the pot. Soak 1/2 C raisins in 1/2C red wine plus 2 T maple syrup for about half and hour, and add to the pot. Be sure to have some of the wine while you’re cooking. Oh, wait, we have to start early in the day with solar cooking. Might be a bit early for wine. 😉 You can get potted later.

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Cover the pot and cook in a solar oven (I use a Sun Oven brand oven and LOVE it.) I started preheating the solar oven about 11 am, and put the pork dish in around noon. It was done by 4 pm.

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I made cornbread to go with the pork dish. My husband served it up, separating the pork and the squash for a more attractive presentation. We polished off the bottle of red wine with dinner. YUM.

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As you can see, I’m combining Kitchen Cupboard Thursday with Harvest Monday. We had some homemade bread-and-butter pickles on tuna sandwiches this week. The fruit is a peeled Fuyu persimmon from a friend’s tree. I can hardly wait until I have persimmons from my own tree. These are crisp, sweet fruits from Japan, without the astringency of the wild persimmons from the American Midwest.

HARVEST

FRUIT

6 oz Lemon, Meyer

VEGETABLES

6 oz bell peppers

1 oz Ginger

2 oz Green Onion

TOTAL 15 oz produce plus 4 eggs

Hey, don’t laugh. My garden is small and it’s late in the season.

If you had a harvest, or to see what others are harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions. Or if you used something stored from your garden, visit Robin at the Gardener of Eden. See panel at right for links.

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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10 Responses to A Hot Harvest Monday, November 5, 2012

  1. Daphne says:

    I was planting fall crops when it was in the 80s and 90s too. But for me I have to get them in the ground by July or August depending on the crop. So that is pretty normal here. If I don’t they won’t have time to get big enough before the sun turns off – well before it hides behind the neighbors’ houses, but it feels like it turns off.

    • Interesting, Daphne. I wondered how you folks got in your fall crops. Maybe I could have gotten by with planting them earlier here. It’s just that normally it has cooled off by now, and this year it hasn’t.

  2. Patsy says:

    My situation is the same as Daphne’s; have to plant fall crops at the height of summer heat and it can be touch and go to keep them healthy. You are right about the weird weather though; last year we really had no winter to speak of. Today I woke up to 23 degrees out. Your harvest looks amazing and I especially envy you all that beautiful fruit!

  3. Norma Chang says:

    You could plant your extra garlic cloves close together (I do 3 inches but closer is OK too). When the greens reach edible stage, pull up the whole plant and use as you would scallions. Since your ground does not freeze you could plant at different intervals so you can have garlic greens for a longer period of time.

    • Norma, thanks for the suggestion about using garlic greens and staggering the planting. I’ve never tried that. This is one of the things I love about blogging. I learn so much from the rest of you.

  4. kitsapfg says:

    Your garden is still going strong. Enjoy the warmth while it lasts – some of us would be happy to have it. 😀

    That recipe for the pork, apple, and squash looks absolutely smashing. I am going to give it a whirl this coming long weekend. Thank you for sharing it.

  5. leduesorelle says:

    What a gorgeous variety of fruit, it’s like you’ve created Eden in your garden! And thanks for the tip about preheating the sun oven. How do you know how long to cook things for?

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