Signs of spring, including falling loquats 4-21-2016

Tired and ready to yank --- Say goodbye to the cool season garden.
Tired and ready to yank — Say goodbye to the cool season garden. Heather Hacking – Enterprise-Record
Heather Hacking - Enterprise-Record Super foods make super smoothies. You can drink this stuff if you add Stevia.Heather Hacking – Enterprise-Record Super foods make super smoothies. You can drink this stuff if you add Stevia.

Thursday I learned that the fruit on the loquat tree is nearly ripe. This information was clarified when a squirrel in the loquat tree pelted me with partially eaten fruit — not once, but twice — as I walked to my car.

The tree shades my bedroom window. During nearly-loquat season the squirrels are so rowdy it sounds like they are auditioning for a Tostito’s commercial.

If squirrels were smart, which they are not, they would wait until the fruit was ripe and actually eat the fruit. Instead, they nibble frantically, drop the fruit on the ground, then frantically repeat.

If you have no idea what a loquat looks like, I’m quite happy for you. The fruit is about the size of a pecan and the color of apricots. The seed inside the loquat is just slightly smaller than the fruit, which makes the fruit nearly useless, unless you are a squirrel in search of ammunition.

The only reason the squirrels no longer lob the fruit onto the hood of my car is because I no longer park the car near the loquat tree. The acid in the fruit eats paint. I learned this the hard way.

Meanwhile, it’s time to get going on the summer vegetables.


Because we are among those who are helping California meet its water conservation goal, our vegetable planting area is very small.

To make room for summer vegetables, we are harvesting kale and spinach by the fistful. The lettuce is already history. It has flowers and the leaves taste as bitter as the kale. It’s difficult to tell whether kale has passed its prime. Kale pretty much tastes funky all the time.

Why do we eat kale even though it’s bitter? Well, it’s a super food. Plus, you can choke down anything if its slathered in enough balsamic vinaigrette.

After we harvest all this kale, we’ll freeze the excess in plastic snack bags. I like to add frozen spinach or kale to my morning fruit smoothies. Adding Stevia to the smoothies helps mask the bitter kale taste.


My birthday is the last day of this month, which always reminds me that we are past the date of last frost.

Many people put summer vegetables in the ground in March or early April, However, there’s still about a 50/50 chance of cold temperatures during these precarious spring dates. Here’s a rather cool chart:


I had a rather long chat with Jerry Mendon ofMendon’s Nursery in Paradise this week.

I told him the whole story about our black plastic truck bed liner we have used for a raised bed. Last year will filled about half the plastic container with store-bought soil. To help drainage, one side is raised onto bricks.

Jerry said by now many of the nutrients from the soil may have been used by that bitter kale and other plants.

I have bags of steer manure waiting in the weeds. Jerry said its fine to mix in the manure, but he thinks it won’t be enough to amend my tired soil.

His suggestion was to buy Bumper Crop, which contains trace minerals and looks like bark.

Normally, bark can rob nitrogen from the soil as the big chunks break down. However, Jerry said Bumper Crop is treated with nitrogen to make up for the amount of nitrogen that would be subtracted from the soil.

Next, it’s time to add seeds or small plants to the summer garden area.

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