Monday, November 03, 2014

Monday Garden Update


This weekend, we picked our first persimmons.  We made them into fruit-and-nut muffins that we shared with our next-door neighbor.

We're also getting a lot of kale, arugula and mustard greens from the garden.  The latter two self-sowed, which is fun.

We finally got some rain, which meant that digging in the garden was somewhat easier.  Despite all my efforts at soil amendment, our dirt has the texture of concrete.  It can be miserable to work in the summer (our dry season).  When the soil is damp, it become much more manageable. 

When we first bought the house, I went a little crazy buying things on the Farm and Garden section of Craigslist.  One of my biggest mistakes was the putative lapin cherry tree that turned out to be inedible rootstock.  The fruit was horrible. And I stupidly planted the tree in the middle of my vegetable garden.  Thanks to the ridiculously high walls between our garden and our neighbors' we don't get a lot of sunlight.  And so it was a particularly foolish choice to plant a tree smack-dab in the middle of my veggie patch.

The tree had to go.  It took a lot of muscular effort, but I finally dug it out.  I feel like a tree murderer, even if I know this was the best thing to do.  I planted a huge patch of Wethersfield Red onions where the tree used to be.  

I also gave the brugmansia in our front yard a massive haircut.  This bush was leggy and sprawling.  The branch on the right had to be propped up, because it could not support its own weight.

Directly under the brugmansia is a fuchsia bush that is prone to fuchsia gall mites.  The mites are spread by hummingbirds, and we're stuck with them if we want to grow fuchsias around here. I cut the plant back to a nubbin.  This seems to do the trick. Next season, it should grow back beautifully.

Robb made coffee, and feral cat Cardigan stopped by for some muffins.  Cardigan is a funny cat.  He's totally aloof during the day, but turns on the charm at night.  I swaer I dated the human version of Cardigan, once upon a time.  He wouldn't acknowledge our relationship when anyone might see, but was all over me when we were alone.

Cardigan is my Bad Boyfriend.

I may have heartlessly uprooted one cherry tree, but I made up for my Crimes Against Trees by finally getting this dwarf cherry tree into the ground.  I bought this a couple of years ago, but wasn't sure where I wanted to plant it.  It sat so long in its pot that the roots grew through the drainage holes, and into the earth.  Moving that plant wasn't easy -- I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

Now that I've finally committed to placing this cherry in the front yard, I can move my pomegranates to their final locations in the back garden.  I have been dithering about this for ever.  How many fruit trees can I cram into one tiny plot of land?

I did a huge amount of pruning this weekend.  I cleared out a lot of dead wood in our lemon tree, and finally cut down the dead stalks of the Jerusalem Artichokes.  I planted them as a potato alternative, since I can no longer eat anything in the nightshade family.  These plants grow to over eight feet tall, and are covered with cheerful sunflowers.  That's a good thing, since they block the view of the house on the back side of our property.  This place has been a on-again mostly-off-again construction site for over a year.  I suspect that the person who bought the house and started renovations either went broke or died.  Why else would they hire laborers to smash out all the windows and then leave the place open to the elements for months and months?  Huge sunny flowers sure improve the view.

I failed to take a photo of the gratin that Robb made with the Jerusalem Artichokes.  I really enjoyed it, but Robb was somewhat ambivalent.


Daphne Gould said...

Lovely persimmons. I keep thinking that I have to put one in. I'm much like you. How many fruit trees can one put in a small yard? So far quite a few.

Dave @ OurHappyAcres said...

I love sunchokes but the inulin in them does not like me. I do love those persimmons though! I just planted a tree of a Hachiya type to go with my Fuyu type.

Norma Chang said...

I am sooooo envious of your persimmons. My mustard self sows also. Did not know arugula self sows as well, need to look out for the seedlings. I do not plant Jerusalem Artichokes but get a good harvest from Locust Grove and yes the flowers are gorgeous.


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