My favorite kitchen appliance, the oven, has been a bit off these last weeks and in much need of calibration. Thankfully, it’s something I can do myself as soon as one very important tool arrives for me to calibrate it with, an oven monitoring thermometer. Until then…I thought this would be as good a time as any to journal what I’ve been up to in one of my favorite places – our edible garden of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Fresh, organic, and edible culinary delights!
Hubbs and I have spent a lot of time working our yard and landscape over the years. It’s been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (tear production due to critter, irrigation, and mother nature challenges). There are many a weekends feeling burnt out and in need of a break from “yard work.” It took awhile to realize that besides the Meyer lemon and Haas avocado trees (lost an orange tree to a gopher and one other Haas avocado tree to a wild fire), nothing else in our yard was making its way into our house and on the table. There was literally no “fruits for our labor”, as the saying goes.
Since then, we’ve added an exciting assortment of fruit trees to our landscape. Some trees are still in large black planters, some in whiskey barrels and some lucky ones that have so far have been planted in the earth. There’s a different mind-set and what was once a “yard” is now not only just a “yard and landscape” but also a garden. For myself, I have found there’s a lot of peace and tranquility in tending an edible garden (more so than the heavy-lifting yard work). Some things work, some things don’t. It’s been a continual learning process with tenfold benefits.
Ideally, it gets pretty warm out here and we enjoy some rather cold temps at night too so it makes for an optimal environment for some fruit trees that have chilling requirements.
This is the first year we actually enjoyed some harvest from the peach tree. Got the ants under control without pesticides, but too much of our juicy, sweet and beautiful peaches were enjoyed by birds. Next year, I have a better plan to keep them from overtaking my harvest!
This is our third successful year with both the Kadota and Black Mission Fig trees. The plan is to keep them contained in large whiskey barrels to better control their growth. They’re already getting tall enough to escape me…not being able to reach all those plump, juicy pods on the higher branches…that’s when you employ Hubb’s height and manly arm reach to the rescue!
Besides the chilling requirements, some varieties are self-pollinating while others require a pollinator. I may have added several more trees than originally anticipated because there were particular varieties I really wanted in our yard, but they needed a pollinator. By variety wants, I mean personal criteria besides flavor and texture – like whether the fruit was more suited for snacking, or cooking, baking, and/or preserving.
Along with an Italian plum tree, a couple of pear and apple trees, we’ve included a Wickson apple.
In an earlier post on TC for the Guava, Banana & Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie, I mentioned a rediscovery for guavas. I had never really even seen or eaten a guava, but always enjoyed the nectar. The fruit is not as easy to come by in this area and so I thought it was my lucky day when I found a small offering at one of the major supermarkets. However, the price per pound was absolutely incredulous. So after much inquiries and researching (and finding out there’s so many varieties of guavas, some are like the texture of a crisp apple!), a Pink Tropic guava tree was adopted. Not planted in the ground yet and leaning more to nurturing it as a container tree, there’s already flowers and fruit peeping through!
Tomatoes and peppers have done very well during the last two years. Their success lent the confidence to start growing veggies in a raised planter bed this year. It needed to be “raised” due to the critters around here! Hubbs, built this large planter box for us and I absolutely love it! May just add a couple more right next to this one. However, this novice gardener planted the tomatoes plants too close to each other and now I’m faced with a tangled jungle of tomato plants (I really thought I spaced them well!). Lessons learned…
This year I’m trying a variety of peppers. One of those varieties are these beautiful and unusual purple (yes purple!), bell peppers. I thought they’d be much larger and so far it’s doing the best. The orange, red and green bells aren’t quite ready yet. What to make with these purple ones….?
Enjoying several varieties of tomatoes, Romas and Better Boys
You’ve gotta include the cute little, versatile and tasty cherry tomatoes too! Both reds and oranges this year.
Rarely can I find the Aubergine ‘Ophelia’ small baby eggplants in the markets so I thought I’d try my hand at it from seeds. The seedlings germinated, but not growing nearly quick enough! I’m thinking the seeds I purchased are not up to par. At this rate of growth, I’ll never see baby eggplants this year or ever.
Tried growing edamame, zucchini and cucumbers this year….BONK! A big fail! Will try again next year.
It’s really a nice convenience to run down the ingredient list of a recipe and be able to check it off in your mind that “yup, got that” when it comes to herbs. I’ve posted before about container gardening for herbs in recycled whiskey barrels…
This is the first year I’ve had success with basil. Morning sun and mid-to-late afternoon shade made both this green and a purple variety fragrant, happy, and beautiful.
Mint is not picky. It overtakes the other herbs that are planted near it (like the oregano and thyme). It’s a beautiful herb and a good one to have, especially in the summer months.
Sage is my comfort herb. It makes me think of cooler months and favorite end of the year holidays. Probably because recipes I’m interested in call for sage and they’re more likely to be dishes I’d prefer in the Fall or Winter (savory recipes and recipes that use pumpkin).
Okay…going to water the garden and devote some much needed time to weeding… 😉 © Images & content: Cristina A-Moore for TeenieCakes.com.
Click over, check out and follow my Garden & Landscape Inspiration Board on Pinterest
Follow Cristina A-M | Teenie Cakes’s board garden & landscape on Pinterest.