In My San Diego Garden and Kitchen
Gardening, like all of life, is full of small victories and skirmishes with disaster. Every season I have some crop failure or a disappointing harvest. It varies year to year. Sometimes it’s the corn or tomatoes. Another year it’s the garlic or carrots.
Then there’s the year when the apricot tree produces 150 pounds of fruit or the broccoli heads are enormous. This week we cautiously anticipate a crop of marionberries. We picked the first one and it was as delectable as I remembered.
We battled botrytis for several dank, foggy summers, watching the berries approach ripeness then wither and develop a gray mold. We finally removed the plants, lifted some soil and let the area rest for two years. Nursery stock from the Northwest gave us a new start. I read about botrytis on the UC IPM website and elsewhere and decided this year to use Garden Sentinel, a biofungicide. It is described as a broad-spectrum preventative biofungicide/bactericide. The active ingredient is a naturally-occurring bacteria and the product can be used in organic gardens and up to a day before harvest. We are hopeful.
We picked the first few apricots last week. They were luscious, sweet and very juicy. The tree has the largest crop we’ve had in five years, likely due to the prodigious winter rains and refinement in pruning techniques. It’s always a race to harvest them before the birds claim their due.
The first of the apples are ready but two years ago we lost almost all the crop to marauding critters, presumably opossums in just a few nights. We’re prepared this year.
Lucy considers it her Brittany duty to bring the drops to the kitchen door. She and her breed would remind us that she both points (at birds) and retrieves.
We made our first batch of rhubarb-guava-applesauce. That is literally “we” since I tripped and broke three fingers on my right hand a week ago. I am useless with a knife and so my husband kindly chopped everything.
When the rhubarb and apples have cooked down I add frozen strawberry guava puree which gives the compote a pinkish hue. Most of the sauce went to the freezer but we savored the first of the season at dinner over the weekend. That’s my grandmother’s fruit spoon.
The lettuce harvest continues. I rarely capture the spontaneous gifts to friends or neighbors. The end is near, though and the neighborhood rabbits and tortoises will be eating well this week.
And from the garden, the Sunday church bouquet: Cleveland sage, scabiosa and larkspur.
See what other garden bloggers harvested last week in their gardens at Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.