Archive for July, 2013

Mid-Summer Fruit

We grow over a dozen different kinds of fruit trees and berries in our yard, including apricots, apples, figs, plums, pears, pluots, peaches, cherries, oranges, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Not all of our fruit trees produce fruit every year, and each type of fruit has a limited season. But because we have so many fruits, we typically have fruit to eat from our yard from May through September. Most of the fruit production occurs in our yard in mid-summer, so we have an abundance of fruit in the months of July and August.

This week, I have been harvesting Elephant Heart plums from our multi-grafted plum tree, shown in the photo below. The skin of these plums can be quite sour, at least until the fruit is almost mushy, but the pulp has a nice flavor.

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Our small Bartlett pear tree is loaded with at least 100 pears this year (photos of it below). I have picked over 30 pears from it already, but I’ve not eaten any of them yet. Pears are harvested while still green and unripe. They are ready to harvest if the fruit separates from the branch easily when the fruit is lifted by hand into a horizontal position. The pears from this tree have been exquisite in past years. Although, our tree typically only produces pears every other year.

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I am also harvesting Flavor King and Dapple Dandy pluots from our multi-grafted pluot tree. The first photo below is Flavor King (purple fruit), and the second photo is Dapple Dandy (pink fruit). I’m supporting the thin branches of this small tree with tomato cages, because there is too much fruit even after I thinned them. Also, the fruit is large (larger than last year’s harvest). I also have to protect them and my other fruit with netting.

Our pluot tree is one of my favorite fruit trees. Its fruits are delicious. Flavor King is perhaps one of the tastiest fruits I have eaten, even though plums in general are not my favorite fruit. Each of the 4 pluot varieties on our tree is unique in terms of its color, flavor, ripening time, and keeping quality. The other two varieties are Flavor Queen and Flavor Supreme. Dapple Dandy is a good variety, because it produces a lot of fruit, and the fruit holds well on the tree for several weeks.

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We also have a Caroline red raspberry plant that is growing in a large pot. Its canes are full of luscious looking raspberries right now, as shown in the next photo below. Unfortunately, our raspberries are not edible, because the insides of the berries are full of insect larvae that resemble very small white worms. Nearly all of the berries I have picked in the past week are full of the worms, and it’s not practical to remove them all. Although they may not be harmful if consumed, they are not appetizing.

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July 29 2013 | Pears and Plums and Pluots and Raspberries | No Comments »

Mutant Corn

I harvested our first corn ears of the 2013 season today. The kernels on the ears were fully formed, although some of the kernels were too plump from being left on the stalk a few days too long. Here is a photo of them:

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One of our corn stalks is a mutant. It has 3 corn ears on it, as seen in the next photo, which is the most I have ever seen on a single stalk. This stalk even grew suckers that also appear to be generating their own ears of corn. Typically, each stalk only produces one or two ears at the most.

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Here are more photos of the same corn patch. Many of the stalks have one or two large plump ears already. I planted these corns by seed in early April and have given them little extra care or fertilizer since then other than regular watering with an automatic micro-spary system. I planted the seeds very close together about 12 inches apart in three rows. Most of the stalks have grown to their full height, but a few of the stalks that sprouted later got crowded by the others and did not reach their full heigth. The stunted stalks tend to produce small ears or none at all.

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July 23 2013 | Corn | 1 Comment »