Garden, Plant, Cook!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Life is a Bowl of Cherries & Apricot, World's Best Carrot and Garlic / Weather Conundrum

Dear Folks,

We have been enjoying ripening fruit.  Pictured are my "cherries" and the first apricot off the tree.

The cherries are from our Barbados Cherry Tree planted February 2016.  It gave a few cherries last year but is now loaded.

Malpighia emarginata, Acerola cherry is known for its very high Vitamin C content along with a host of other vitamins.  It is evergreen and a pretty tree with pink flowers.  Once the fruit begins to turn color, it finishes ripening very quickly so you need to get them before the birds.

The taste is a sweet tart like an apple.  It did not have the sweet cherry taste I was hoping for so Deane could have "real" cherries here but I am happy with the flavor.  Each cherry has 3 seeds, so be aware.

Apricot season in the valley is very short 20, maybe up to 30 days so we grab them while we can.  We have found the fruit best when it just pulls from the stem or even better if we catch it when it just falls from the tree.  We keep a lot of duff under our fruit trees so we can harvest from the ground, most of the time, without damage to the fruit.  (Our Pineapple Guava is the same - the fruit if fully ripe when if falls from the tree.)

THE world's best carrot in my opinion is the Chantenay.  This carrot is outstanding, seriously, no matter what size you pick it at.  Obviously I left this one in and will be cooking up today, but trust me on this variety, it will not let you down in flavor, ever.

You can find the seeds at Baker Creek or other heirloom suppliers.  It was introduced in 1929.

OUR winter was one of the mildest on record.  I just finished compiling the chill hour data for the period ending March 31st and the overall change from last year was a whopping 40% less chill hours and in a couple of areas if was 50% below the previous year.  Amazing.

This weather pattern was evident in a lot of up / down temperatures but also in many gardens how the plants responded, with earlier than normal flowering, start/stop growth or changes in insect behavior (more gnats etc.).

The one rather dramatic result was my garlic.  Pictured is the garlic bed mid-November.  I expected a nice crop of regular garlic and the elephant garlic (the thicker leaved plants on the right in the picture) along about now I would have cut off the flower scapes 2-3 weeks ago and the garlic would be drying on my fence.

This is what the bed looked like a couple of days ago.  I was not paying enough attention to the plants.  I had noticed back at the beginning of April that some of the plants had obviously died back and just chalked it up to the strange weather.  But when I dug up a died-back plant, it was only a thick bulb at the base (like a fat scallion). No head of cloves!!

Garlic needs the FULL chill hour affect to create individual cloves.  The scape (flower head) comping up signals the plant is ready to 'finish' and usually I notice the scape coming up, wait a bit then cut it out and in a couple of weeks the plants begin to yellow and it is time to pull up and hang to dry out in the shade.

The plants NEVER created scapes.  If finally dawned on me that this year's winter never got cold enough.  We are in one of the milder areas of the valley and with our chill ours less than half, the plant could not produce the individual cloves.

Originally I thought, well I will just dig them all up, slice and sun dry them, but I am re-thinking that and may just leave them in the ground and see if the winter of 2017/18 forces the heads to form.

Some lovely flowers around the garden.  I finally found a happy place for a Gardenia in my garden.  Right now it is pretty much in full shade most of the day with some overhead sun at noonish, more sun in the winter when the deciduous trees are leafless.

I planted it last June 1st and while it had flower buds on it when I bought it, it promptly dropped them, so I just waited and the plant got happier and happier!

One of the hollyhocks bloomed and it is one of the Black ones and I am delighted. I will probably cut out all of the other plants to, hopefully, ensure all the seeds run true.  The edible flower hollyhock is quite happy to cross colors and I want this one to stay true for years to come.

My purple oregano is flowering.  Not the best tasting of the oreganos but the flowers are so pretty.  As they fade they drop purple/lilac colored confetti on the ground or deck.

I hope you are enjoying your gardens as much as we are.

I am always happy to answer questions.  You can find me on facebook and like my page.

You can purchase my books or gardening calendars in the sidebar here on the blog.

Have a wonderful thyme in the garden!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe below by entering your email, to get all my posts! 

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Disclaimer: Clicking on links on this blog may earn me a small commission if you purchase something. Your price does not change.

No comments: