Fruit

Dogwood Fruit

For some reason, I never before realized that dogwood produces fruit in the fall! And depending upon the kind of dogwood you have, the fruit will vary. The fruit comes in red, white and blue colors. We have the red ones (above and below). Are they edible? Native Americans used to eat them, but some believe the…
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It’s Fig Season

Years ago I planted a Celeste fig tree for our Napa property and over the years it has matured into a beautiful medium-height rounded tree yielding the most delectable, sweet figs you have ever tasted (in my opinion). I've since learned that these figs are called Ficus Carica or "Sugar Fig" as they are popularly…
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Tomatomania!

This spring I installed a new trellis for my indeterminate tomatoes. I planted Sweet 100s, Yellow Pear and Sun Sugar right next to the hog wire trellis and have continuously trained the plants to create an arch of tomatoes! I took this photo on August 8th and the back trellis is almost complete covered with…
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Successful tomatoes

Garden Conservancy co-chair and gardener extraordinaire Courtnay Daniels shared a tip with me that she received from an Alabama friend who swears by the following recipe when planting tomatoes. I will try this myself next spring when I plant my tomatoes. 3 cups potting soil 1/2 c. powdered milk 1/2 cup epsom salts  1T. baking soda…
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Potted Tomatoes

On Saturday, I bought three more tomato plants from Forni Brown in Calistoga - under the wire before they close to the public. I felt like I wanted just a few more this year, so I could test out some new varieties. So I chose three varieties that I could put into terra cotta pots (because my…
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Living Vicariously

We all know that we have to make trade-offs in our vegetable gardens. There is only so much square footage so we can't plant everything we'd like to plant. So we pick our favorites and if we're lucky and have extra room, we get to add something new that we can't resist. This is certainly true…
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Saving tomato seeds

Ever wonder how to save your vegetable and fruit seeds? I've always been curious about it. I recently wandered on to a great instructional video on YouTube, produced by a collaboration between Seed Savers Exchange and Organic Seed Alliance, that describes how to save tomato seeds with great examples. It looks like a really fun science experiment to…
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Cantaloupe Melon

I picked the first of my cantaloupe melons yesterday.  I could smell its sweetness as I brought it into the kitchen. A super easy snack is sliced melon wrapped in prosciutto.  Delicious and refreshing!
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French Laundry Tomatoes

The French Laundry vegetable garden is currently growing over 40 varieties of tomatoes, most of which I was unable to identify when I visited the garden yesterday. The plants have been grown in the vegetable garden hoop house from seeds, which were acquired either through Johnny's Seeds, Seed Savers exchange, or their own seed saving program. Their tomatoes…
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Trying avocados in the Bay Area

One of the many things my daughter-in-law Maggie and I share is our absolute LOVE of avocados. That's why I was so excited when she told me about her discovery of avocado trees at Golden Gate Palms & Exotics, located in Port Richmond. We immediately booked a date to check out the possibility of growing avocado trees…
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Labeling fruit trees

I don't know if you're like me, but if I don't immediately label my plants I can forget the specific varieties of what I've planted. This is definitely true with my fruit trees. Years ago I diligently created a list of the fruit trees I planted, but over time, I've swapped them out when they…
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Fall Tomatoes

Spent the day harvesting the last of my green beans and Sun Gold cherry tomatoes before I pulled the tired plants from my beds. I also picked the ripe tomatoes from my other varietals (Brandywine, Early Girl, Roma, Cherokee Purple, and San Marzano) but left the still healthy plants in the garden so the sun…
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Apple Juice

My apple trees have been producing a delicious variety of apples for a couple of months now, but with fall in the air, they are literally falling off the trees. A few years ago I found a nursery with espaliered apple trees. One tree I purchased has six main limbs all of which are a…
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Mission Figs

I am getting my second (main) harvest of Black Mission figs. Mission fig trees produce two harvests a year, one in spring (breba) and again in late summer or early fall. I picked a big basket this morning. The figs are so delicious eaten right off the tree, but I decided to prepare them for…
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And the winner is…

Tomato season is winding down and it's time to evaluate the tomato varieties I planted this year to determine what I will plant next year. I chose six this summer: Sun Sugar, Sweet 100s, Old Brooks, New Girl, Gold Medal and San Marzano. To me, Sun Sugar and Sweet 100s are staple varieties. I can't imagine…
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Australian Finger Limes

Chef Stephen Thorlton turned me onto Australian Finger Limes last year, which were new to me. As soon as I learned about them, I had to locate and plant a tree to learn more about them. They're referred to as 'citrus caviar' by those in the culinary industry, and they are hard to come by. But that…
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Fruit Trellis Sculptures

We built new fruit trellises this year in hopes of creating espaliered raspberry bushes, Thompson seedless grape vines, and Bearss seedless lime trees. I adapted a design that I found on the Internet to my planting space. We used pressure treated wood for the posts for longevity, and grounded them in concrete for stability. We…
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Incoming peach blossoms

March is the time of year when all of the fruit trees are covered with an array of dark pink (like this yellow peach tree), light pink and white flowers (my Golden Delicious, Gala and Fuji Apples). It's also the time of year we can get a surprise heavy rain, which can ruin the flowers,…
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Citrus

We're in the thick of citrus season in the Napa Valley! My Meyer Lemons are really strong this year, unlike last year. I like to leave these on my trees (which are in pots) all summer and fall long, so I can pick them as I need them. Our Owari Satsumas are prolific this year too,…
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