Our constant work in the garden (which we sometimes refer to now as Versailles Farm) has kept us busy; so busy in fact, we haven't found the time to blog about our doings for quite some time now. Some of the highlights of note in the past 12 calendar months have been our expanding fruit tree harvests. The trees a friend bought and planted for us as a wedding present in 2004 have grown significantly and are making a big dent in our weekly farmers' market bill. For three years now, our Fuji apple tree has fed us daily from the beginning of September until the beginning of December. It's as big as we want it to get, so we'll have to continue pruning it to size so that it doesn't shade the rest of our small backyard where we sow annual veggies. You can get a sense of it's size in the photo here - a little more than twice the height of a six year old.
After many years of impatient waiting (and much grumbling on Ann's part) our original apricot tree finally started bearing fruit in 2012. While we waited - and waited, and waited - for it to produce, we planted another apricot into a corner of our front yard. Because of it's location, it will always remain particularly “dwarfed,” but it gave us apricots before it's elder sibling. We are hoping production from both of them will multiply exponentially this next year.
This was our first fantastic year of citrus production from the mandarin orange and tangerine trees we planted in the spring of 2009. The mandarin produced wonderfully sweet, seedless snacks from the end of November until the end of January, just when the tangerines began to ripen. We were thrilled with four continuous months of fresh citrus ready whenever we wanted it. These aren't big trees - twice the height of our four year old - but it's amazing how much fruit they hold on them. The tangerine tree in the photo to the right produced over 320 tangerines that looked like Christmas ornaments hanging on a tree. We tended to peel and eat the mandarins in sections, but the seedy tangerines we used more often for tangerine juice that was as delicious as it was beautiful. After a couple weeks of drinking unadulterated tangering juice, Ann began blending the juice with some home-grown kale for daily green drinks. Those were delicious too, tasting exactly like tangerine juice that simply happened to be green.
Our other fruit tree addition in 2012 was a lime tree in a pot on our back deck. It will never be a huge producer, but it is a treat to have fresh limes for recipes occasionally.
We continue to be thrilled and amazed at just how much can be grown in a very small Bay Area lot. If we count the dwarf lemon tree and the standard size Santa Rosa plum tree that were here when Paul first moved in, our eight fruit trees, raspberry and blueberry bushes, and two grapevines provide us with fruit year-round. As Rachel likes to say when eating something from the yard: “Thank you, apple tree, for growing us these yummy apples.”