Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fruits Trees a-Bloomin'

The mild temperatures and sunshine over the past couple weeks have instigated some blooms in a few of of our fruit trees. The pome and stone fruits are now in full bloom, including 'Royal' Apricot, 'Scarlet Robe' Peach, 'Goldmine' Nectarine, and 'Dorsett Golden' Apple.

3/15/10 Semi-Dwarf 'Dorsett Golden' Apple.

3/15/10 'Goldmine' Nectarine. 

3/15/10 'Royal' Apricot. We planted this one back in April of 2008 (a one gallon container from Armstrong Nursery). Last year, it produced only two fruits. This year, it's really taken off and is studded with blooms. I hope all these flowers come to fruition as those two little fruits we harvested last year were really quite delish!

The Haas Avocado, Mulberry, Blueberries (Sharp's, Misty, Jubilee, Sunshine), and Meyer's Lemon are also in bloom, and the 'Champagne' Loquat (cultivar) is actually holding onto its fruit. It flowered over the winter and I wasn't sure the blossoms would actually survive the high winds that came through here and the occasional cool temps, as loquats are frost/cold-sensitive. 

I love loquats. They are indigenous to SE China, including Taiwan where I originally hail from. We call them "Pipa," and the orangish, firmish fruit have a really refreshing sweet-tart flavor. Loquats are traditionally used in Chinese medicine, and any Chinese kid worth his/her salt would have had the pleasure of downing "Pipa Gao" (essentially, a cough syrup made from this fruit) whenever he/she had a sore throat. Minty and sweet, holistic and all natural, it is the bomb. In LA County, where there's a large Chinese community, "Pipa Gao" can be readily purchased from Asian markets, apothecaries, etc. Keep it in the frig, and quaff a tablespoon or so every few hours to ease the pain of a sore throat. Even if it doesn't really cure the ailment, it at least tastes pretty darned good!

3/15/10 'Champagne' Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). 

3/15/10 Fruiting Mulberry. On a fluke, my sister and I had "pet" silk worms in Taiwan. We fed these guys (who have a really short, i.e, months-long, life span) the leaves from a Mulberry tree growing in our back yard. In Taiwanese, Mulberries are called (phonetically) "Nyuwa hyo" (i.e., "Silkworm leaves"). The ripe fruits should make for some decent jam.

My Spring gardening chores include fertilizing all the fruit trees (chicken manure, bone meal, fish emulsion) and adding micronutrients and Ironite for the chlorotic citrus trees and Coast Redwood (a bit out of its element in our chaparral habitat).

Next weekend, I'll be spraying the citrus trees with Spinosad (organic from Monterey Lawn & Garden Products to deter the onslaught of the citrus leaf miner which has been spoiling the foliage of all our citrus trees for the past two years. I've talked to many fellow gardeners and nursery folks who say that Spinosad is the only effective control for the citrus leaf miner.

It's also time to buy a couple containers of live Lady Bugs to let loose on the burgeoning aphid population.

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