Monday, December 28, 2009

Harvest Monday

First time I remembered to do this. The slow harvests are probably helping my memory! At any rate, while I think that year-round gardening is great, sometimes it's difficult for me to remember that some things have to be done at the "right" time for optimization. For instance, late December is pruning time. Instead of writing it down on my calendar, I determined to remember it. Usually that doesn't work well, but this time it did!

In the interstitial time between Christmas and New Year, I've gotten a lot of nest-neatening stuff done, and that included a big prune yesterday. All of the fruit trees, and some of the herbs, got their yearly haircut. The little trees that were put in last year seemed too little to cut, but I remembered the instructions -- cut all summer growth back by 50%. So I gritted my teeth and did it! I hope I get a nice harvest this year, with new watering plans and a fertilization schedule.

But first, a few ounces of spinach and some baby beet greens for salad. This was easily the worst tasting spinach I've ever tasted. It was awful. I would have enjoyed grazing as much as I did this. Ugh. It's "Wolter," and I don't know if it's the lots of rain or what. In past seasons, it's tasted better. The chickens are going to love it if it keeps tasting like this. Pretty, though.

All that pruning led to lots of citrus harvest, even without the Meyer lemons I'd made into sorbet for Christmas. This is the first year the lime has been in full production, and I'm delighted. I haven't weighed it yet, but the basket is heavy. I'm putting off juicing and freezing the fruit because my wrists will ache afterwards. Candying the lemon peel is a pretty good idea, too, and I'm thinking I might do that tomorrow. Some I'll probably grate and save, though, too.

So that's it, pretty much. The carrots are swelling slowly in the ground and the peas are starting to think about bearing. It's a nice time in the garden here. If you want to join in the fun, Daphne is the ringleader of Monday harvests at Daphne's Dandelions. You can head over there to see other folks and what they've grown.


Happy Hermit ( said...

Ah it is so very refreshing to hear about your garden , the snow drifts here can make a little bird feel blue.

Dan said...

What a wonderful harvest. I love citrus of any kind, both the smell and taste. With gin, vodka or beer, even better :-)

Susan said...

I've got pruning to do--thanks for letting me know now is the time to do it. I've been wondering what I should do about all the things that half died in the cold snap we had a few weeks back. Too bad your gorgeous spinach is bad. I'm envious of your lemons! We get about one per month from our tiny tree I planted this spring. But our arugula is going strong.

Stefaneener said...

Welcome, Happy Hermit -- thanks for stopping by. Sometimes I feel guilty for living in such a mild climate, but maybe it's like a travel show for the snowbound.

Dan, I like to drink it too -- but usually in fizzy water!

Susan, it's time! I have to pull my pepper plants I think. Just no use trying to chivvy them along. My lemon tree only gave a handful last year, so watch out for next year! Lots of water and quarterly fertilizing seem to be the key. Maybe the bees, too -- you have it all!

Jeff Vandiver said...

That's alot of lemons! Pruning for me takes place in February, and I always like to get everything back into shape.

Thomas said...

I would love to be able to grow citrus trees outdoors. That's quite a harvest.

kitsapFG said...

That basket of citrus is just devine looking! Eye candy for the winter weary. :D

Daphne Gould said...

I love those limes. I think they are the first limes to grace harvest Monday. I'm going to have to buy some at the store this coming week. My son is going to make me some white chocolate covered lime rum balls for my birthday and we need the zest. I'm hoping to find organic, but don't always.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful basket of limes and lemons! Sorry your spinach doesn't taste good. We prune our apple trees in winter too before it begins to warm up.

Heiko said...

We've had an unexpected and rare cold snap with snow and all. I think it may have killed off my baby lemon tree. Suscequent storms blew over one of my olive trees. Good way of preserving lemon peel is in the form of limoncino, Italian lemon liqueur.

Michelle said...

That's a shame about the spinach, it's so frustrating to grow something and then find it to be yucky!

Are those Bearss limes? I've been fussing with a Mexican lime tree for a few years and all that the thing has ever produced are a few juiceless rocks - it's history. (Do you hear that you danged thing???) Useless - threats have not worked... Neither has kindness.

flacaknits said...

We have an empty tub in the yard that my better half thinks we should grow something in. What do you recommend for this time of year? I also have broccoli in the other tub and I see little tiny shoots of veggie starting to show. What can I do to help them succeed? lots of love for the advice. jenny.

Mr. H. said...

Oh, too bad. The spinach looks so great. I will remember to stay away from Wolter, I have never heard of that variety before.

I have got to get a good book on pruning as that is one of the many things I have yet to learn about. Your citrus trees sound so foreign to me, stupendous!

Stefaneener said...

EG, it does have a "clean sweep" feeling to it, doesn't it?

Thomas, it's one of the nicest things around here. This is the biggest harvest we've gotten so far.

kitsapFG, I could send you lots of pictures to "rest" in!

Daphne, that sounds pretty wonderful! I'm trying to decide what to do with the limes beyond the obvious G&Ts.

GrafixMuse, they are pretty. I'm going to have to try the spinach picked at different stages or something.

Heiko, I went ahead and started a batch today. 25 lemons peeled and then the peel carefully scraped so there's no pith. I also froze three cups of juice. It will be nice when (if??) the tree slows down.

Michelle, it is a Bearss. I was telling a spinning friend tonight about your Mexican lime and she said she's discovered they want lots and lots and lots of water. . . try that before you cut it down and go Bearss, I guess. This one has been truly trouble-free. It spent three or four years in a pot and then was transplanted -- and kids broke its branches, etc. It's just taken everything but it's clearly happy now.

Flacaknits, you can grow lettuce or kale now and they're eat it all-type veggies. Or you can grow peas of any kind and pick through April. Enjoy!

Mr. H., I really need a pruning expert to show me. I read stuff and don't quite get it, but I figure, "How hard can it be?" and whack away.

Kate and Crew said...

I'd love your sorbet recipe!! I have a 1/4 bushel of oranges that need to be eaten or juiced NOW and my boys just decided they don't like oranges for the moment - typical, right??