Winter Comes!

Lemongrass It’s just after Thanksgiving, and the garden has mostly gone to sleep.

I never did harvest the Lemongrass.  It grew really big, but we just couldn’t figure out what to do with all of it.  I got some of it for a couple of soup dishes, but I just cut the rest of it back.  It was seriously huge and shaggy!

I picked the last of the peppers at the beginning of November, and then mulched the pepper plants.

bberryThe poor raspberry bush did NOT like the pot it was in.  I think in the spring I’ll replant it in the garden.  And the grape vine never did have a good harvest this year either – I blame the failure of my automatic drip water system at a critical point.  The grapes withered on the vine.  The grapevine itself seems like it will recover just fine.

HTMy Mandarin / Honey Tangerine trees in pots also had a hard year.  Like the raised bed planter, they have been having problems with yellowing and poor growth.  Even so, both managed to produce a few poor little tangerines that tasted pretty good.

I’ve been thinking about the complete failure I’ve had with the raised bed garden, and the failure to thrive problems I’ve had with my potted orchard.  I think that the “Mel’s Mix” that I’ve used for my square bed garden is too rich, and too easily holds water.

The plants in the raised bed garden yellowed, dropped leaves and then died.  The trees have yellowed and failed to thrive.  This is usually a sign of too much nutrients – like water or fertilizer.  The containers are probably too wet near the bottom, and the soil is probably way too rich.  I’ll do some experimenting in the Spring.

OTI’ve also been worried about the drought’s effect on my orange tree in the front yard.  The oranges are still not quite ripe, but I think they will turn out okay.  If they do, then I’ll pick them in late January and early February.

persimmonHere’s a good turn… the local persimmon crop is going well.  I’ve been purchasing persimmons at the local farmer’s market by 8-10 pounds at a time, and then dehydrating them.

You know how hard it is to get a persimmon that is just right?  Eat them too early and they are often bitter with tannin, eat them too late and they are a syrupy mush!

Well, dehydrating persimmons fixes that!  I first had dried persimmon in South Korea, where they are treated like candy.  There’s even a story that my late wife told me, long ago, about how dried persimmon’s frightened away a dangerous tiger because they were so delicious.

If you dehydrate a persimmon before it is completely ripe, it may not be as sweet, but it will completely lose the bitter flavor of tannin.  If you dehydrate an overripe persimmon you can do so the same way you would dehydrate fruit leather.  Either way you get something that stores well and tastes great.

But if it is just ripe, and seedless, then you can cut it into slices on a Mandolin slicer and dry them on the trays.  You can do so with skin on if you wish, but they taste better peeled.

NyssaOkay, that is all for this year.  I’ll write again in the New Year.  I’m still not sure if we will stay in this house, or move to follow whatever new employer I’m working for.  I’ve got some ideas about working freelance and contract which I think I’ll be exploring.

Until I know for sure, I’ll continue the garden, and make plans for an aquaponics system.

Stay warm out there!