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Macarons&Mozart

California Gardening: What's up?

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Do you normally like quince but these are just poor specimens?  I started using quince a few years ago and have found some nice uses for them.

I dont think I've ever had a quince before. I'd like to hear some nice uses, as there are a couple hanging on the tree still. In the house, I found the smell of the fruit odd - up close lovely tart and fruity like passionfruit, but when just passing by, it smelled like the cat had made a statement. :blink:

I also hope March behaves so you don't lose any of those precious blossoms!

I'm glad the lime survived too. Coastal location has its benefits I think. Has your brother started your mom's tomatoes yet?

My brand-new Babcock peach tree has finished blossoming and appears to be setting quite a few teeny fuzzy peaches. Persian mulberry is still dormant. Boysenberries are just beginning to leaf out. Orange and lime have begun their spring growth. Last year, I had two oranges: I think a rat ate one ...

yum! How do you keep the brambles from taking over the yard? Rats and oranges - yeah, we've 'donated' a few - its kinda cool how they eat them hollow while still on the tree.

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Brand-new Venus grape vine has a few bunches forming.

You may want to consider putting some sort of netting over the grapes so the critters (feathered and otherwise) don't get at them. Consult your local nursery/garden center for more info.

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Brand-new Venus grape vine has a few bunches forming.

You may want to consider putting some sort of netting over the grapes so the critters (feathered and otherwise) don't get at them. Consult your local nursery/garden center for more info.

I'm thinking I might have to do that with the peaches, too, since I'll have so few this year. If the rats or opposums get them, I'll be so mad! I can just see myself waiting for months in anticipation of the day the peaches are perfectly ripe and then I go out one morning and they have nibble marks all over them.

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Do you normally like quince but these are just poor specimens?  I started using quince a few years ago and have found some nice uses for them.

I dont think I've ever had a quince before. I'd like to hear some nice uses, as there are a couple hanging on the tree still. In the house, I found the smell of the fruit odd - up close lovely tart and fruity like passionfruit, but when just passing by, it smelled like the cat had made a statement. :blink:

...

:laugh: Well, I'm a catlover but I don't think I recall them smelling that way! There are, I think, some quince bushes that are more ornamental in nature. (I can't tell you more than that.) So, perhaps there are different kinds. The quince I've bought look are about the size of large apples. The one key think to know about quinces is that they can not be eaten raw. Their flavor and texture are completely transformed upon cooking.

Anyway, here is a nice discussion we had on quince awhile back: click

A apples and quince are a classic combination so one "infro" recipe may be to make an apple and quince pie or tart. (maybe with apples: quince 2:1)

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thick quince jam. I made this for the first time last week and the result is truly magnificent. One always hears of the unique flavor of quinces and I was not disappointed--honey, rose, ginger flavors are all in there. Also because they are so high in pectin (the skins and cores, I believe) the texture is really great. Lastly, the pale yellow flesh turns a beautiful deep, dusky rose after being cooked
oh wow!

I have but a few small quince left, but I have apples, butter and all the lovely spices. I think I'll try a mini quince-apple pie this weekend. Thanks so very much for the link.

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The lemon grass grew roots. I am very happy about that! Bob, how did you handle it for the transition from glass-o-water to actual dirt? Potting soil? Sand?

etc?

I asked the hired help at Home Depot and they never heard about using sand. They thought the idea was to get good drainage so we went with plain old potting soil avoiding those soils that help to retain water. It will grow pretty quick and it will probably need a bigger pot in no time so keep that in mind when you pot it/them.

Did you get a Kaffir lime tree? I've been cooking a lot of Thai the past month and stripping the limbs quite a bit. I got a little worried that I was going to end up with a barren tree but I see new sprouting going on.


Edited by Octaveman (log)

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thick quince jam. I made this for the first time last week and the result is truly magnificent. One always hears of the unique flavor of quinces and I was not disappointed--honey, rose, ginger flavors are all in there. Also because they are so high in pectin (the skins and cores, I believe) the texture is really great. Lastly, the pale yellow flesh turns a beautiful deep, dusky rose after being cooked

I don't know who wrote this but I want some. My grandmother made jam all the time. I miss not having home-made jam and envy those who can make it.

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Jam is easy, but time-consuming. Need to keep really small fry out of the kitchen. I havent tried since the munchkin has been with us.

Thanks for the info on the lemon grass. Im keeping it inside til the weather settles a bit, but then it will have a nice big pot with plenty room. I'll go potting soil shopping. Full sun?

I havent added any plants yet. Got busy with "other stuff".

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This weekend my brother prepped the soil in my mom's tomato planters. For some reason she's only doing 4 planters this year instead of the six she did last year. Less tomatoes can't be a good thing. :sad: She did have them on a drip irrigation system and may not want to go through the trouble it took to extend the system through all six planters. I don't know...

I'm more of the mind that you plant six tomato plants and if you get 4 good plants out of the bunch you're doing well. If all six take off then it's a good thing.

It also turns out the neighbor's lime tree didn't completely die from the last freeze. She paid a local handyman to cut it back and, though he didn't do a very good job of it, the tree seems to have new growth sprouting up from the trunk. It may not bear limes for a while, but at least it's not dead.

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Holy Cow! The indian hawthorne is blooming! Its spring! I am not prepared.

I was given a strawberry plant this weekend. Time to look em up in Sunset.

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Strawberries are in process - one is a lovely red, but not yet picking ready.

Same tomato thing as last year - lots of blooms, ignored by bees. These are not self-pollinating varieties apparently.

The plants are going for a walk soon, to be close to the bee-magnets in my neighbor's yard.

I seeded basil, cilantro, oregano. Fingers crossed. The gophers are astonishing, so its pots again this year. The little boogers are pulling entire plants under ground.

I about to turf out the bird of paradise to make room for the lemon grass. I havent bought any trees yet this year.

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I have little tomatoes forming on the red currant bushes. Some fuzzy peaches slightly smaller than golf balls. Boysenberry vines are flowering. A few teeny oranges have formed and the lime is in full bloom. Corn is 2 inches high. Blueberries are just beginning to ripen. Mulberries have formed, but are still small and green -- I had no idea that Persian mulberries don't flower; the mulberries just appear along with the new leaves in the springtime.

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Jam-making with small fry: use the microwave (small batches only, of course). I think microwaved jam maybe doesn't keep as well as usual, but it keeps it's color better.

The jam is out of sight of small people, which is half the battle, and the timer keeps distraction-related boil-overs to a minimum too. And there's a door between any boil-overs and small investigators too.

Pollination: I planted chamomile and thyme, hoping to improve pollination (plants with lots of flowers, or flower-heads made up of clusters of tiny flowers). Too early for me to tell yet!

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Same tomato thing as last year - lots of blooms, ignored by bees. These are not self-pollinating varieties apparently.

The plants are going for a walk soon, to be close to the bee-magnets in my neighbor's yard.

All tomatoes should be self-pollinating. They're asexual, I believe. If they are large enough to be tied to a stake or cage, a firm couple of whacks of the stake or cage should be enough to jiggle the flowers to get them to self-pollinate.

If they're small enough to be portable (and not be staked or caged yet) a firm but gentle tapping on the pot should be enough of a shake to get them to pollinate themselves.

How great is it that you've got blooms already! Perhaps you'll have tomatoes by July 4th...or sooner.

And I hope the critters don't find your strawberries...

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[...]

Pollination: I planted chamomile and thyme, hoping to improve pollination (plants with lots of flowers, or flower-heads made up of clusters of tiny flowers). Too early for me to tell yet!

Thyme is a big bee attractor, along with rosemary and many sages.

The generalizations I've read say that white or blue flowers tend to attract bees, Red flowers attract hummingbirds, and plants with flat, landing pad-like flowers are "designed" to be attractive to butterflies. The big weird shaped flowers tend to be moth (or other) pollinated.

The best bee attractor I've ever planted was Honeywort (Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens') or Blue Shrimp Plant, Blue Wax Flower...

Honeywort (PlantFiles link)

Boy the bees just went crazy for it! Other plants in the same family, like Borage, BlueBells, and Echium seem just as attractive to bees.

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Plenty of lavender here to attract bees. Tomoatos are 18" high now and lots of blossoms (a bit premature). Olive trees (Lucca) are loaded with blossoms as are the Arbequina's. The frost did in abot 60 new Arbequina trees that were in the ground 1 year. Fruit forming on nectarine, peach, apricot, plum, and cherry trees. Apples and pears have blossoms but no fruit yet. Artichoke plant is getting big but no chokes yet, so the farmers from Lompoc have been supplying some good eatin' thistles. Strawberries are turning red, but this recent cold weather front has slowed them. Rain this evening and supposed to continue on for a couple of days. Not serious moisture, just feels and smells good. The moisture will help my planting 100 more Lucca trees and 100 Arbequina. Greetings from Paso Robles.

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  Not serious moisture, just feels and smells good.  The moisture will help my planting 100 more Lucca trees and 100 Arbequina.  Greetings from Paso Robles.

Hey Raoul~

Does feel good, doesn't it? After all the missed storms this winter...

My wisteria is just about done, irises are going crazy, lilacs are almost through. My tomatoes are confused and haven't grown one bit, just sit there.

Radishes are coming up nicely, herbs seem happy enough (parsley, sage, dill, coriander, beginning basil). The rain just paused~I hope it continues all night :wub:

Good luck on the tree planting--are you on 46W?

Kathy

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[...]

Pride of Madeira. I actually get quite a bit of pleasure from standing there watching and listening to them.

Oh, yeah, sorry, I drew a blank on the common name for "Pride of Madeira" and used the Genus name "Echium". Exactly what I was thinking of. The blue/purple flowers are nice, too, though, the plants can get awfully big and will self seed pretty freely.

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  Not serious moisture, just feels and smells good.  The moisture will help my planting 100 more Lucca trees and 100 Arbequina.  Greetings from Paso Robles.

Hey Raoul~

Does feel good, doesn't it? After all the missed storms this winter...

My wisteria is just about done, irises are going crazy, lilacs are almost through. My tomatoes are confused and haven't grown one bit, just sit there.

Radishes are coming up nicely, herbs seem happy enough (parsley, sage, dill, coriander, beginning basil). The rain just paused~I hope it continues all night :wub:

Good luck on the tree planting--are you on 46W?

Kathy

I'm off 41E just past Creston Road. Got 100 Lucca in, and 40 Arbequina on Saturday just in time for the moisture. Have to pull out 60 frosted Arbequina and replant. Word at the olive tree nursery was that a large number of growers were buying replacement trees. Nasty freeze this past year, let's hope this year is better and my trees get a head start. Just started eating some strawberries out of the garden and put in Crenshaw and Honeydew melons. Also started with 4 new Rhode Island Reds that are currently in the shop keeping warm and staying safe. I think we may have met at the Chuck Ortman tasting in Paso last year then again I may be slipping back into the 60's.

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My poor virginal tomatoes - covered with yellow flowers and no bees to dally with. They are getting moved closer to the rosemary soon.

The quince is just beginning to leaf out, and the peach has fruit already ripening. I didnt realize how different were the 'microclimates' in our yard. Herbs have been seeded and fingers are crossed they dont dry out mid-germination. Its been weirdly windy here. Spring is good.

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My poor virginal tomatoes - covered with yellow flowers and no bees to dally with. They are getting moved closer to the rosemary soon.

The quince is just beginning to leaf out, and the peach has fruit already ripening. I didnt realize how different were the 'microclimates' in our yard. Herbs have been seeded and fingers are crossed they dont dry out mid-germination. Its been weirdly windy here. Spring is good.

Is the lack of bee's a new phenomenon? How was your rain this season? Normal or below? Our weather pattern here has been way out of wack.

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We have loads of bees in the area - the neighbor's yard is covered with tall spiky blue and purple flowers and her yard is audible when one walks past it. The bees are just dissing, for the second spring, my yellow tomato flowers. (you can see my whining, upthread).

This year I started with them very close to the rosemary, but it doesnt seem to be sufficient. I wonder if touches of violet scent on the flowers would help?

Our weather was very unusual.

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Little green baby tomatoes!

Basil sprouts!

Tiny baby limes!

Wheeeee!

Last year's sweet orange peppers survived the winter as leafless structures, and are throwing out leaves now. Its interesting to watch.

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