What a busy couple of weeks it has been. My fruit trees all came ripe at the same time: apricots, peaches and nectarines. Biggest crops I have ever had. And for once, we got them covered with netting before the birds discovered them.
Why such a great harvest this year? We had cool winter, a good amount of rain and a perfect spring? I did give them more water this year than I have in the past. Was it all the work we did pruning, spraying and feeding? Or was it just that the moon and stars were all lined up right? Who knows?
All I know is that I had a ton of jam to make and there seemed to be a shortage of half pint canning jars in town. Not only that, but pectin was in short supply and very expensive this year. You would think that that the stores would stock up at this time of year. You try so hard to do everything right to get a good crop and then when the magic happens, you can’t find the supplies that you need to make the fruits of your labor come to fruition. Lesson learned…BUY YOUR CANNING SUPPLIES EARLY!!!
When I was in the grocery store complaining about the lack of seasonal supplies, most everyone was quick to point out, that it was cheaper to just by the store jam. They obviously have never had the “Golden Nectar” from a fresh, ripe, organically grown apricot or peach tree,
or the jams, pies, crisps and tons of fresh fruit. Yes, it was a bumper year.
So now that I have a years worth of jam in the pantry and my Christmas gifts are set and ready, I can relax and not worry about my fruit trees until it is time to prune and spray again in January. The birds can have whatever I have left behind (it’s always nice to share).
Now my big worry is how do I keep my tomatoes healthy and producing while I go up to Idaho for the month of August on my much needed vacation? Prime producing time for the summer vegetable garden, and I am going to miss it.
There will be no one to reap the bounties of all my tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplants and peppers as they reach their moment of productive glory. Can I trust anyone to really care for my garden while I am gone? This is a dilemma that a lot of us have when we go on our summer vacation. I am going to put my trust in my young friend, Nick Carlson, someone I have known since he was in the third grade. These tomatoes are very important. I always experiment with different heirloom varieties. Some work, some don’t. Every year brings different results. I keep trying to weed through the process of why some work and others fail.
There is weather, varieties and cultural needs. What works in Santa Barbara? I am trying to figure it out. I do know that there are good years and bad years.
Sometimes it is not the plants fault. You have got to keep trying. Just because Hillbilly did not work last year, does not mean that it won’t be great this year. Keep trying.
Example: Three years ago my Hillbilly was good. Last year I only got three off of a sad looking bush. This year I have over 20 tomatoes ( and they are usually a pound each) on one plant. Oh yeah!!! Keep on trying!!!
See you in September.