The past year has been a very busy one for me, and I have not had enough time to maintain this blog or keep up with the weeds in my garden. Since it has been a full year since my last blog entry, I thought I would seize this opportunity to continue my commentary on my garden’s annual cycle--since it keeps growing even if I don’t have enough time to tend it!
I will write a more complete accounting of the garden’s produce from 2008 in another entry, but to sum it up, 2008 was a good year for the garden. The fruit trees, in particular, have started to produce crops now that they are about 5 years old. It was a treat to enjoy apples, plums, pluots, and olives in addition to the lemons and limes we had been used to. The berry bushes also produced well, rewarding the kids with tasty treats after their “foraging expeditions.”
The current state of the garden:
January was fairly warm and dry and February was quite rainy. The rains have awakened carpets of tall grass, oxalis, and weeds in the garden that I have not had time to remove this year--so from a visual perspective, the garden is not at its best. The children, however, are very pleased with the oxalis (aka Sour Grass). It is mostly confined to one location near their stick fort (thankfully). They love to find it in the spring, and gather large bunches of the tall flower stalks so they can munch the lemon-flavored stems.
The rain and fairly warm temperatures have also awakened the plum and pluot trees—about two weeks earlier than usual, I think. My sense is that the constant rainy weather has inhibited the pollinators, so the flowers are falling off the tree without setting fruit. I hope we will not lose an entire year’s plum and pluot crop, but it looks like that is quite possible. I’m holding out some hope for the last remaining buds that have not opened yet. I just need about a week or two of dry, sunny weather. Cross your fingers for me. (All the rain we are receiving now is a good thing, of course!)
The two grafted apricot branches I added to my pluot tree seem to be doing well. They are starting to leaf out now. I hope that the grafted areas have grown strong enough to support the weight and wind strain that the leaves will put on them. The grafting technique I used worked, but I didn’t make the strongest type of cut. I’ll know better next time.
This winter I added two new fig trees to the garden. They are still sleeping through this wet weather, but I’m looking forward to seeing them leaf out sometime soon.
Our olive tree had a good year last year, producing about a gallon of tasty olives. That’s much better olive production than the previous year--which had yielded only 2 cups. I finished curing the olives in February, and we are now enjoying them. I don’t think the supply will get us all the way through the year, but it is a nice treat.
The raspberry bushes are also awakening around the yard, and their new leaves are starting to open. Strawberry plants and blueberry bushes are also starting to flower, promising some nibbles in early spring.
Our passion vine has again been a wonderful producer. We have been enjoying juicy, tropical-flavored passion fruit all winter. The crop seems to be winding down now, but I imagine that we’ll be able to harvest the fruit for a few more weeks.
The mushroom logs I started last year should be fairly well colonized with mycelium by now, but I have not seen any shiitakes or other edible mushrooms emerging. Maybe the rain today will be helpful.