Misguided Peach Bloom for Halloween

I’ve never had a fruit tree bloom quite like this before!  Doesn’t it know that apples and pumpkins get to be the star now?  It has just really started to cool down here in southern California.  I can almost guarantee that this bloom will fizzle before it bears fruit, but it’s an interesting site in the garden.

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The potted pink mandevilla next to the outdoor fireplace it definitely more sure of itself and I’m happy to report that it’s creeping along the mantel quite nicely, situating itself in the cracks of the stones.

DSCN2572I decided that with my lackluster fruit tree growth this year, I would adopt a technique that I used for the Spice Zee Nectaplum when I planted it this spring and it did fab.  When I planted it, I also planted a two foot long plastic pipe found in the hardware center plumbing section.  I use it to give water directly to the roots deep in this hard, dry soil.  So, I picked up 6 more and carefully dug holes around my already planted fruit trees and positioned them down in the ground.  I also drilled about 4-5 holes in the lower half of the pipe to give water all around.

DSCN2576Here’s to a fruitful 2015.

 

 

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Unique Fruity Shapes and Colors

"I promise I won't buy any more fruit trees."  I said 2 weeks ago.  After which I heard, "Don't make promises you can't keep."

“I promise I won’t buy any more fruit trees.” I said 2 weeks ago after my husband planted this for me. After which I heard, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”  And he was right.  I couldn’t argue his point.

After taking out a lack luster vine from this spot, I knew what addition I wanted to try in it’s place.  I’d read a post from Hanbury House about her new Spice Zee NectaPlum that she’d gone so far as to sacrifice a Red Baron Peach to make room for after a neighbor gave her some amazingly sweet fruit from her tree.  She described it as “the best tasting stone fruit I ever tried”.  It’s a white-fleshed, nectarine-peach-plum hybrid.

In a sea of green leaves while I overlooked the fruit tree section of my local Green Thumb nursery, I could see the Spice Zee NectaPlum all the way in the back.  The dark purple leaves are extremely unique and turn green after they mature.

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In a way it’s an ornamental and a fruit tree all packaged in one.

This season I’m also growing a unique tomato with a strawberry type shape, aptly named German Orange Strawberry.

DSCN2030It’s shape also resembles the ripening Red Baron peaches that it sits next to:

Love that color!

Love that color!

 

Spring Garden Update

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The ONE tomato seed that germinated was this, the trusty Stupice (pronounced Stu-peach-ka) tomato.  Most of my seeds have entered their 3rd year in my kitchen cabinet and so I can conveniently blame their age for lack of successful seed sprouting this spring, having nothing to do with my 30 hour work week which I’ve never had since beginning my edible quest some 4 years ago.  And it’s no big deal that this tomato plant is about a month behind the tomato curve because Stupice is one tomato that is a lover of the fall, a welcomer of the sudden cool days that can sneak up in early autumn when we’re still passing them off as summer.  In 2012 I was still harvesting these medium sized red Czechoslovakian heirlooms in January.  Yes, that’s right.

Refreshed soil in the raised bed is now home to a white Armenian cuke, butternut squash, yellow crookneck squash, pattypan squash, basil and rosemary.  To my surprise the basil is getting DEVOURED by some rodent, perhaps with an Italian parentage.

Refreshed soil in the raised bed is now home to a white heirloom cuke, butternut squash, yellow crookneck squash, pattypan squash, basil and rosemary. To my surprise the basil is getting DEVOURED by some rodent, perhaps with an Italian parentage.

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My daughter and I had a “decorate grow bags” afternoon using felt shapes and water-proof fabric glue. They grow my best tomatoes ever.

My daughter's design, now home to a cherry tomato.

My daughter’s design, now home to a cherry tomato.

For such a small thing, Eva's Pride has an impressive crop.  Supportive stakes in my future?

For such a small thing, Eva’s Pride peach has an impressive crop. Supportive stakes in my future?

Honestly, I'm unsure what the deal is with my Snow Queen Nectarine.  the bottom half is growing some healthy, strong new branches but the top half is only now meekly blooming with no leaves.  I'm hoping the two ends can meet somewhere in the middle and soon.

Honestly, I’m unsure what the deal is with my Snow Queen Nectarine. The bottom half is growing some healthy, strong new branches but the top half is only now meekly blooming with no leaves. I’m hoping the two ends can meet somewhere in the middle and soon.

Pole beans making their presence known.

Pole beans making their presence known.  These WERE grown from seed (one of the easiest veggies to do so in my opinion).  I just save a few over-ripe pods each year and let them dry out on the kitchen window sill.

And last but not least, the red seedless Thompson grape.  This may be one of the most exciting things happening this season for me.  It's a first and I'm enjoying seeing the tiny flowers give way to this...

And last but not least, the red seedless Thompson grape. This may be one of the most exciting things happening this season for me. This vine fruiting is a first and I’m enjoying seeing the flowers give way to tiny grapes…

Chickens & Cherry Blossoms

DSCN1276Somehow the chickens seem to know when I need a new picture of them doing something endearing because yesterday they were posing like pro’s.  These birds of a feather really do love to flock together.  Last week every one of my white Silkies were broody and our sweet Ameraucana Henrietta didn’t leave the coop, not even for a minute, to venture by her lonesome out in the grass which she loves so much.  Now that they’re back to their pecking, egg laying-gang status, they don’t leave each other’s sides.

DSCN1263The Minnie Royal Cherry tree has begun to bloom!  It’s pollinator sister, Royal Lee, is not quite blooming yet, but I’m hoping they’ll cross blooming schedules at some point to possibly produce some of my first cherries this spring.

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Baby peaches have appeared!

Eva’s Pride baby peaches have appeared!

Blueberries are on their way as well.

Sharpblue blueberries are on their way as well.

DSCN1279THE END!

Pink Promises

Eva's Pride Peach in bloom.

Eva’s Pride Peach in bloom.

She’s a small thing but she’s got star power.  Especially since she’s a full month ahead of any other fruit tree in my backyard.  She’s getting all of my gazes as I do the dishes, glances as I putter in the garden and stares as I sit under the pergola.

Up close and personal.

Up close and personal.

DSCN1252Every year it never fails to impress me when the fruit trees bloom.  I imagine the energy and fortitude that must go into producing such a sudden burst of beauty.  To me, fruit trees are the best trees.  Flowers and fruit.  What could be better?

January in Bloom

Sequoia Strawberry flower.

Sequoia Strawberry flower.

I planted a dozen Sequoia strawberry plants about a week ago.  It’s a June bearing variety that does well in California and is one of the earliest Spring crops where safe from frost.  June bearers generally produce a single large crop in spring to early summer and are prolific producers for 3 to 4 weeks.  Plus, they are root knot nematode resistant, which works well with my RKN soil.

Eva's Pride peach is already about to bloom!

Eva’s Pride peach is already about to bloom!

We’ve had little rain this winter and unseasonably warm weather during the day, which has encouraged this already early bloomer to be on the verge of something that I’ve never had before in the garden.  A blooming fruit tree is January.  That feels like a garden miracle!

Another view of Eva's Pride.  I've never tasted this peach as this is my first Spring with her after rescuing her from a small pot from a previous place of employment, but I've read that it has a "zing."

Another view of Eva’s Pride. I’ve never tasted this peach, as this is my first Spring with her after rescuing her from a small pot from a previous place of employment, but I’ve read that it has a “zing.”  Can’t wait!

Even my grapevine seems to be early this year.

Even my grapevine seems to be early this year.  But I’m not complaining!

Royal Lee Cherry budding in groups.  My two cherries seem to be the only ones to bud in groups, which makes sense since cherries form in clusters!

Royal Lee Cherry budding in groups. My two cherries seem to be the only fruit trees in my backyard orchard to bud in groups, which makes sense since cherries form in clusters!

Even though cherries aren’t supposed to fruit until at least year three, and I’m just my second Spring, I’m still crossing my fingers for maybe just a few cherries, or even one lone straggler.  Yes, that would be just fine with me!

Budding up for Spring

Fruit trees are fantastic planners.  Just as we humans start hunkering down in our winter-y way of life (turning on the heater, spending more time indoors, eating a little more), my fruit trees are also losing their leaves and looking their most bleak.  But under that stripped-down exterior something fascinating is already taking place.  The promise of spring, even when winter has just started, in the form of swelling buds.

Minnie Royal Cherry

Royal Lee Cherry

This being only my second soon-to-be spring with my 2 cherry trees, I’m realizing that their buds may have a head start on my other fruit trees, probably because they are the first to blossom and fruit.

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Eva’s Pride Peach

And of course I have some other winter veggies here and there, such as carrots, lettuce and sugar snap peas.

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These two seem to be relying on each other for mutual support.

These two seem to be relying on each other for mutual support.

One of my flower pots with some extra room is now more beautiful for winter thanks to these beautiful lettuce.

One of my flower pots with some extra room is now more beautiful for winter thanks to these lettuce.

Here is a tally of my mini orchard to date:

  • Red Baron Peach-the matriarch of the backyard having been planted about 6 years ago
  • Minnie Royal Cherry
  • Royal Lee Cherry-these two require each other for pollination
  • Snow Queen White Nectarine
  • Gold Kist Apricot
  • Burgundy Plum
  • Thompson Red Flame Grape
  • Eva’s Pride Peach

This coming spring is one of my most anticipated yet because I think that maybe, just maybe some of my two year old trees (Eva’s Pride Peach, Thompson Red Flame Grape, Burgundy Plum, Snow Queen White Nectarine) will fruit for the first time.  And that would be the most bountiful with fruit my backyard will have ever been.

PS: My sweet Silkies started laying again after a two month hiatus about a week ago on my birthday.  Thankful!