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Entries in fruit (12)

Wednesday
Aug012018

In My Garden: Cherries!

Above: Minnie Royal cherry tree

Many people don't believe me when I say I have productive cherry trees in my yard. Their response is always "Cherry trees only grow in cold climates, not on the coast in Southern California." But the fact is we have two very good varieties of delicious dark red cherries with a very low chill requirement (hours per year under 45 degrees). They are the Minnie Royal and the Royal Lee. These two varieties should be planted close together, as they pollinate each other.

When the cherries start to darken I put up bird netting with 3/4" hole spacing, or smaller, to keep the birds away. This size spacing also prevents the birds from getting caught in the netting, as can happen with larger spaced netting. I tie the netting around the trunk of the tree so no one gets in from underneath and possibly trapped inside the net. I leave several overlapping folds in the netting so I can reach in to pick fruit without having to untie the net every time. 

I also want to say that I have several fruit trees on my property from which the birds can eat the fruit to their hearts content. Maybe when my cherry trees mature and I am harvesting lots of cherries I will share with the birds who nest and live in my yard. But my trees are still young and while I got a significant amount of cherries this year, the nets stay on and the cherries are off limits to the birds until I the trees are producing enough to share. 

Above: Minnie Royal cherry tree, 2014

Above:  Four years later, 2018, the same Minnie Royal cherry tree as in above photo. Unfortunately, I had picked all the cherries off before taking the photo. 

Above: Ripe cherries!

Monday
Oct032016

Fruit in My Yard

My fruit trees are always providing something to snack on. Right now I have jujubes, sapotes, and chocolate persimmons, with a few pitayas. The jujube (the small reddish-brown fruit above) is sometimes called a Chinese date, a Korean date, or an Indian date, and it has the consistency and taste of an apple. Sapotes (the green fruit above) have a creamy pulp, ranging in flavor from banana to pear to peach to vanilla flan. The chocolate persimmon (the orange fruit above) is chocolate brown in the middle when you cut it open. It has the consistency and taste of a sweet pudding.

I am watching my cherimoyas and mangos getting large and they should be ready to pick in November or December. I just found a couple of ripe pitaya's or dragonfruit as they are also known (the hot pink spiky looking fruit in the bowl below) and my macadamia nuts are ripening and falling from my tree. Yumm! Life is good! 


Monday
Nov302015

In My Garden: Winter fruit trees

It's that time of the year again when most fruit trees are bare. I have finished eating my chocolate and fuyu persimmons and this year I got 30 to 40 white sapotes from a seedling that came up about eight years ago. I had heard white sapotes were good, but had only tried them once, about 30 years ago, and wasn't impressed. Well, this tree of mine completely changed my mind. It is now one of my favorite fruits and I can't wait until next year.

The last fruit tree to bear fruit, besides of course winter avocados and oranges, is the cherimoya. I have seven really good varieties. Last year I wanted to see how much fruit I would get if I didn't hand pollinate them. I got maybe 20 fruits. This year I hand pollinated the trees two or three times a week for six weeks. It took only about 20 minutes each time, so not much of an effort is needed. This year the trees are overflowing with more than 200 pieces of fruit! I just started picking my first harvest last week, and hopefully will have fruit until February.

Above: Cherimoyas on my tree.

Above: My cherimoyas

Above: Cherimoya 

Monday
Oct122015

In My Garden: An Abundance of Fall Fruit!

At this time of year there usually isn't much fruit on our backyard trees. But with a little planning late summer to fall can be a cornucopia of fruit. Pictured in the photo above, starting at the top and going clockwise, are fuyu persimmons, chocolate persimmons, white sapotes, jujubes, pineapple guaves and dragon fruit (pitaya) in the center. All these fruits have a wonderful taste and great health benefits. And soon my cherimoyas will be ready. I have six varieties lasting from November through February. 

Wednesday
Aug192015

In My Garden: Dragon Fruit!

There is a lot of concern with water usage now in both home gardens and commercial growers, and rightly so. Finding fruiting plants that use less water is becoming something more and more people want to talk about. Surprisingly there are a number of fruiting plants that can help fill that need. This will be the first of several blogs I am going to write on the subject.

Dragon fruit, or pitaya, is a relatively new fruit people are trying. It's a cactus and requires little watering, fertilizer, or insect control. Like many fruits there are a large number of cultivars with differing sizes and tastes. They can be grown almost anywhere in Southern California and in most types of soil. Ask your nursery for specific information on varieties they are selling.

I got several cuttings at a local California Rare Fruit Growers Society meeting several years ago and just stuck them in the ground. Last year I got my first fruit. My plants flower throughout the whole summer and the bees love them. The flowers are short lived, but incredible (I have included a photo below of one of the flowers). My fruit is the red variety, the inside is a deep magenta reddish purple with a very refreshingly mild sweetness and black edible seeds, something akin to kiwi fruit. Delicious. I am definitely a fan of dragon fruit. 

The plants need support to grow on, just like grapes. They can also be grown on a fence. They are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C and B, the good fatty acids, carotene and protein. They also contain calcium, iron and phosphorus. 

Above: My dragon fruit plants growning along my fence. See the red fruits on the right?

Above: A dragon fruit flower. This will turn into the fruit you see in the picture below.

Above: Dragon fruit on the vine. 

Above: A ripe dragon fruit just picked.