How to harvest leafy greens -- on the left side is the tatsoi plant ready for harvest. On the right side is the plant after harvest, with only the 3 or 4 tiniest center leaves remaining to continue growing. It'll be ready for another harvest in another 2 weeks. Be sure to remove each complete leaf so no remaining stubs will attract munching pests.
Cilantro transplants are growing nicely. I've reseeded more in the entire bed that will develop into a mass for harvesting.
Parsley and carrots usually take a full 3 weeks to finally germinate and send up their little green leaves.
Fuyu-type persimmons can be harvested firm or squishy.
Let asparagus fern die back completely before trimming so energy will be reabsorbed into the crown for next year's shoots.
Grape cuttings turning yellow and browning edges as they go dormant for the winter.
Begonia boliviensis 'San Francisco'
Begonia boliviensis 'Santa Cruz'
Potatoes that I'd missed harvesting have resprouted.
Bougainvillea's rich color
Transplanted three weeks ago, my lettuce, tatsoi, and pak choi provided their first harvests for last night’s dinner and the rest of the week. If I’d purchased the greens from a farmers’ market or the grocery store, with this one harvest I’ve paid off the expense of purchasing the 6-packs. And I’ll have some six more months of harvests to look forward to before the plants bolt in the late-Spring heat. Even factoring in the cost of the compost and manure that I’d incorporated into the soil and the water that I’ll apply in coming months, growing your own is infinitely worthwhile. Especially adding in the superior nutritional value and just-picked freshness! There’s nothing quite like pronouncing at dinnertime, “This and this and this all came from the garden!”
Seeding Augmenting 6-packs with starting your own seeds increases the bounty and variety, even for “weekend” gardeners who are more periodic in their attentions. As long as night-time temperatures are still in the 50s, most cool-season seeds will germinate, albeit slowly. Parsley and carrots, especially, usually start finally showing up some 3 weeks after you’ve sown them and kept the seedbed moist. Just about the time you finally give up, thinking that you had old seed or they’d rotted, that’s when they start showing their little green leaves. That’s when I resow, as well, since I know that the environmental conditions – soil, sun, air temperature, and moisture – are ideal for them to germinate.
Harvesting Persimmons Harvest persimmons according to type. Hachiya (the heart-shaped ones) are astringent when hard, so wait till they’re squishy-ripe. Fuyu (the squat ones) can be eaten hard like an apple or allowed to get soft and sweeter. The Fuyu type can be stored by drying or freezing. A friend of mine who has a huge orchard of the Fuyu type washes them, removes the stem-end foliage, slices them crosswise into 1/4-inch disks, and dries them until they’re leathery for wonderful sweet snacks. My Dad used to freeze them whole and retrieve them sometimes months later for a really-appreciated treat -- long after the rest of us had enjoyed ours fresh.
Hold Off On Trimming Asparagus Ferns Wait to cut asparagus ferns until they've turned completely brown, generally after the first hard frost. By then, they've reabsorbed all their energy back into the crowns for next year's edible shoots. Cutting them sooner means throwing away this recycled nutrition. Trim the fronds at soil level rather than yanking them from the crown to avoid injuring the crowns.
Encourage Winter Dormancy and Protect From Early Frost Give one last deep watering to grapevines and deciduous trees but discontinue feeding. This will begin hardening them off for cold weather. You want to discourage new growth now that will be tender and susceptible to frost damage. Even if we don’t get any frost, we want the trees and vines to go dormant to rebuild their energy for next Spring and Summer's exertions. Provide protection for deciduous tree trunks, as the trees can be damaged more by first frosts than by later ones. Support coverings away from foliage with stakes to prevent conducting the cold directly to the leaves and freezing them.
Cool-Weather Gardening I enjoy gardening during our cool winters much more than during summer’s heat. The coolness of gardening now makes digging and incorporating amendments – or even just spreading them as mulch -- more pleasurable. Watering is more effective since there’s less evaporation. Plants grow more slowly, so you don’t get overwhelmed with produce and the urgency to harvest every day.