Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Photos as Promised (click for larger image)

View From the top of the Avocado Slope

Rows of mandarins (pomegranates in distance)

Our Meyer lemon block

After a long day of citrus planting...

Spring Planting Update

We've had a pretty big spring over here so far. As illustrated by our site plan above, we now have the majority of our pomegranates, citrus, avocados and persimmons in the ground. We are extremely grateful to quite a few people for working with us to help turn our dreams into reality. First and foremost, we'd like to thank Freddy Menge of the California Rare Fruit Growers and Orin Martin, Jim Leap & Christof Bernau of CASFS Farm & Chadwick Garden fame for their priceless insights into soil, fertility and varietal knowledge.
Mike at Ewing Irrigation, Santa Cruz, was extremely patient as I designed and installed our irrigation system. As you might imagine, that involved the token amount of second guessing after I ran my ideas by Matthew Sutton of Orchard Keepers and Kurt Christiansen of Christiansen Associates Gardens & Design. At this point however, we've got 51 different zones running off of 3 different panels, not counting our annual beds and landscape irrigation. I ran 1.25" PVC main lines, into 1" risers and valves, into 3/4" sub-mains with 1/2" Netafim Techline CV around each tree. The Techline is 1 gph on 12" spacing and each emmittter is also designed to serve as its own pressure regulator and check valve. So far we've been running it with the flow rates on the valves wide open without an issue.
Doug Riesner of Riesner Nursery in Farmersville, CA (when you've been in business since 1913, you don't need a web site) provided us with super high quality bare-root 'Wonderful' pomegranates and 'Fuyo' persimmons at half the price of the larger growers. They're all leafing out already. Aaron Dillon of Four Winds Growers, Fremont,CA, coordinated our order of dwarf citrus. He also helped us get our hands on five Xueng-Xang (pronounced 'Jing-Jang') oranges, which I tried at Gene Lester's homestead of incredible citrus varieties earlier this spring. They are the size of a small navel, thick skinned, easy to peel, seedless and the most incredible sweet over sweet I've ever tasted. Steve Maddock of Maddock Nursery, Fallbrook, CA, sold us our Lamb Hass and Reed avocados on G-6 rootstock. He kindly foliar fed them the week before I picked them up and they're all pushing nicely. We hope they'll be quite happy in our sandy loam... now with a little love from global warming we'll have an abundant grove in a couple of years. Thanks also to Leor for picking me up at the San Diego airport and Andy for letting me crash for the night in Encinitas during that little excrusion, our neighbor Christine for helping to unload the little sacks of cement, and to Dave Shaw for making it up here just in time to help with a clutch half day of planting supervision and irrigation assistance.
Last, but certainly not least, we are supremely grateful for all of the helping hands we've had in getting our trees in the ground. Emily at Jacob's Farm hooked us up with a great crew of their guys who were all still half time for the winter, and Tony at Diablo's Tree Service pulled together a crew to mop up the rest. I would also be quite remiss if I were to neglect Nancy and Estelle for being the most supportive, helpful and understanding wife and daughter a fellow could wish for when undertaking a project of this scope.
In other big news, we're finally registered as an LLC, and are planning to grow peppers and onions for Paul and the Homeless Garden Project's CSA this summer. In the meantime, we're still harvesting Meyer lemons and Bearss limes and enjoying the splendor of our new green friends. p.s. we'll have roses by next week!! p.p.s. will post photos tonight.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First Sunflower of the Year

This renegade sunflower was found growing in an old compost pile. It flowered during the recent warm spell but blew over during a windstorm so I cut it and brought it inside to enjoy. I guess it is already time to start planting sunflower seeds again!