First harvest of 2014

Tomatoes!So here are the first images of the first harvest of this year.

The Spring has been somewhat mild until a recent warming trend that has made my plants go into overdrive.

The automated drip irrigation system that I installed has made it a snap to take care of my garden. However, those parts of the garden where I didn’t use weed blocking material have been attacked by weeds of various types. Mostly crabgrass, but there are other “volunteers” that were left behind from the previous owner, plus lots of stuff that was blown in.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been very proactive against the weeds, but I have a 3-day weekend coming up now, and that will be a good time to attack them.

My old nemesis, the Argentine Ant, has not showed up in any force as yet.  I like to thing the environment isn’t very hospitable to them – since many of my plants are peppers and onions, and they don’t have suitable places to harvest aphids and scale. Peppers seem to be pretty good at fighting aphids.  In any case, I think I’ll prepare this weekend with some diatomaceous earth.

Anaheim peppersSo here’s my first harvest – Anaheim peppers, some of which will be in my chicken dinner tonight.

These are fairly mild, milder than Jalapeno peppers, and are about 500 to 2,500 on the Scoville scale.

They’re just enough to make a dish interesting.

They are very similar to New Mexico peppers, so I’ll probably string them up in a ristra for air drying and long term storage.  Or I can chop them up and use my dehydrator.

I’m also growing Serrano peppers, which are hotter than Jalapeno peppers, and prized for fresh salsa.  They can also be eaten green or red, and are very fleshy, with lots of “meat” on them.

I’m thinking of letting them go red for stir fry and drying purposes.  And maybe we will see about canning some salsa.

Here’s an image of my Serrano peppers, which are crowding my pepper plant so heavily that I think I’ll need to thin them out so that the other peppers can get a little redder.

So what else have I got going?

Sadly, I have to report that the White Nectarine Tree that I planted on the North side of the yard didn’t make it.  It never budded, never started growing.  I think it died in transit from the mail-order nursery.  This is sad, because I like White Nectarines.  The Pluot and White Peach trees have taken off like crazy.  In fact, the White Peach tried to actually grow one single peach!  I removed the peach because I want the tree to concentrate on growing this year.

The Pluot tree is already taller than I am.

We’re investigating what we will replace the White Nectarine with, and when.  The only fruit trees available at this point in the year are from local nurseries, and planting them would stress them badly.  So I think we’re done with that until next Spring.

grape vineI got my trees from the Peaceful Valley nursery here in California.  They have trees in season, and right now only olives are in season.  I really don’t want an olive tree!  So I’ll wait until winter, and then place an order with them.  Their bare root dwarf fruit trees are really reasonable.  I just need to make sure I get them into the ground quickly!

We got one crook-neck squash so far from our very small squash plants.  But it looks like they are gearing up for a windfall.

And the grape vine is doing very well on my home-made trellis!  The trellis cost me under $10 to make – or about half the store price for something that is not nearly as lovely or sturdy!  I plan to make more of these, and a pergola over the driveway for fruiting vines (grapes probably, but maybe something else too?)

The grape vine tried to give grapes this year too, but not very many of them.  I cut them off and am forcing this vine to grow.  I’d like it to be shade for my porch.

The Star Jasmine plant might not make it.  It’s not food, but I love the way they smell.  It just doesn’t seem very happy.  I will probably replace it.

The Bell peppers are producing, and the Artichoke are getting HUGE, but haven’t flowered yet, much less blossomed.  Sometimes the cats sleep under them.

Here’s an album of images from my garden.