I haven’t written about gardening in some time, now, and currently, that’s where my attentions are. I’m just done with marmalade at the moment (though I am sure I will make a few more before the season is over).
For now I am overwhelmed I wasn’t able to get as much work done in the garden, while the plants were still sleeping. But, they’ve awoken now, and some things will have to just wait until next year (um, pruning pretty much everything).
I thought I would share a bit of what’s going on in my backyard at the moment. I’d love to hear what’s going on with your gardens.
Right now, the biggest show is from the apple tree. Delicate pink blooms are just appearing. The tree above is an espalier, so it is a perfect height for my toddler daughter to ooh and awww at the pretty pink blooms. Remember how I mentioned I just did not get around to pruning this winter? Yeah.
I love this artichoke. I can no longer remember the heirloom variety I planted 4-5 years ago. I chose it because it was known for having a large heart, which everyone knows is the best part of the artichoke. My husband found it unsatisfying due to the smallish leaves. Sometimes you just don’t look great on the outside, but you’ve got a big heart. My husband didn’t find that humorous. Well, he’s lucky. After many faithful seasons, my plant has stopped producing and I’ll be cutting it down this weekend, and replacing it with a globe artichoke, more to my husband’s liking. BUT…I did plant, last week, in my community garden plot, an Italian purple artichoke, violetto, known for its tender leaves that are almost entirely edible. WOW! That’s a whole lotta commas in that sentence. The things you learn about yourself when blogging…
I’ve got two half barrels, each filled with two types of blueberries, high and low bush, planted together to elongate the producing season. I’m hoping this year will be filled with an abundance of blueberries, which should save us quite a bit of money in fruit. Blueberries are so expensive, and yet so delicious. Given they grow well in large pots, I think it’s a fine investment for anyone who’s able to grow them in their zone.
The poor cherry tree. It looks so bare with its barely blooming buds. And across the way, that lovely apple is just mocking it! It’s OK, soon it will be filled with lovely blossoms, itself.
Lovely little Black Jack fig, just now beginning its second year. Probably at least another two years until I see a fig, dangnabbit.
This is going to be a good year for my grapes, I think. Last year was very nice though this is the year I think we should have plenty of grapes for both munching on, as well as putting up plenty quarts of grape juice.
This little treasure just finished her first year. Round meiwa kumquats are sweeter than their oval-shaped counterparts. I’m a big proponent of introducing children to lots of different foods when they are young, lest they get picky. My son, who has the most versatile tastes of any child I know, is not impressed with the kumquat. My daughter, on the other hand, and her little BFF (both nearly three years old) are huge fans on the little orange globes, and gladly bite into their skins, whole. This year we got about 18 kumquats. Next year I plan to make this if there’s enough production!
If you look closely, you’ll see the final remnants of tangerine season on the right arm of the tree. The middle and left arm are filled with Lisbon and Eureka lemons, respectively. I’ve said this before, but now that Meyer lemon season is waning, I will say it again: I don’t know what the big deal is over the Meyer. Give me the bright, fresh flavor of a Lisbon or Eureka any day! I am so glad they are back in season, and I desperately need to pick some of those lemons. The tree branches are hanging quite full! Lemonade, anyone?
If you have room for a little tree, I highly recommend a dwarf lime tree. Limes are incredibly unpopular as a crop in the United States (we grow very few in the U.S.) though our growing conditions are just fine. We just don’t have the demand, though that seems to be changing. But if you have a lime tree for yourself, you will always have tree-ripened limes which are YELLOW and far superior to the green limes you’ll find pretty much anywhere. And with those tree-ripened limes, you will have ingredients for limeade, margaritas, lime pie, lime curd (the best curd evah!) and my favorite roast chicken recipe: easy honey and lime roast chicken. Limes. So versatile! Who knew? Well, Mexicans, for one. That’s where we get most of our limes – as well as those tasty margaritas!!
Onions! Rows and rows of onions. Both sweet yellow (Walla Walla) and red (Tropeana Lunga). The red bullet-shaped onions should be ready to pick at the end of this month, and it will be another two weeks following that before the walla wallas will be ready ready. Ha! Good joke, right?
Another thing I deeply encourage people to get into, if they are considering gardening, is herbs. So easy. You can fit them into any lifestyle or space. Many of them are quite prolific (see the parsley above) and will be ready as an additional fresh ingredient in your meals, whenever needed. It’s actually quite a money saver if you cook with fresh herbs, because those little plastic boxes of herbs are not only wasteful from the plastics perspective, you use like a touch of the herb, and eventually the remainder goes bad in your refrigerator, pushed to the back of your crisper, not to be seen for another month and a half until SURPRISE! There it is, dripping all over the place. And that gooey brown crap cost you $3.50. Nice.
The strawberries are back in town! Hooray! If there’s one thing I regret it’s not planting more strawberries. So I am doing that this year! Adding another bed. Because there’s nothing like a red, ripe strawberry, sweetened on the vine and picked warm from the sun. Squish. Into my mouth you go!