By Richard Flowers, ACCNP-Green Thumb Nursery-Ventura
In a recent article I mentioned a very important factor in determining what you should know before buying fruit trees, it is called consecutive harvest (or fruit harvesting one after another over an extended period of time.) Today I want to expand on that principle in great detail because it is possible with the right combination of fruits, vegetables, and herbs there is no reason why you shouldn’t have something harvested from your garden that you can consume everyday of the year. Having something healthy you can pick from your own garden has mountains of benefits and rewards. The health benefits of growing and then eating nutritious food right from your own garden is a blessing. The satisfaction and pride one gets when harvesting an ever-bearing Meyer or Eureka Lemon almost anytime of the year puts a smile on your face. The fact that Persimmons in the market are outrageously expensive, the joy of picking a Fuyu (Jiro) Persimmon in the fall is awesome. What about collecting a juicy Tomato right off the vine in the summer is an old favorite past time. Harvesting Lettuce, Cauliflower, and Cabbage in the late winter or spring is great for salads. In spring you can harvest an early Peach or Apricot. Summer through fall are your Figs, and for those people who enjoy barbecue to add a unique flavor, Rosemary and culinary lavenders can be harvested just about any time of the year.
Below I want to provide you with several winning combinations you can try in your own landscape where you can harvest healthy, delicious edibles everyday of the year.
Stating with the wonderful and ever popular Avocado and all of its different varieties, it is possible to harvest this fruit from February to November. In season right now is the perfect time to plant the cool season crops and soon to harvest is Cabbage and Broccoli. With Broccoli you can have a crop from January to June and Cabbage in second place, harvest until April. Another cool season crop is Lettuce, you can harvest the different selections from October through May. However in the immediate coastal zone you can plant them just about year round and harvest them a few weeks after planting them. Loose-leaf varieties (Romaine) can be trimmed down multiple times for repeated harvesting. To extend the harvest, pick outer leaves first and allow center leaves to enlarge. Now is also the perfect time to plant dormant or bare-root fruit trees. With some amazing stone fruits like very early Peaches starting as early as May you have some great tasting selections such as Earlitreat then towards later in the same month you have Flordapricne Peach. One of the earliest Plums is Methley which is ready to pick in early June along with the truly delicious Flavor Delight Aprrium®. In May into June you also have Katy Apricot and June into July brings you the super low chill and reliable producer Tropic Gold Apricot. Touted as one of the best low chill pricots, Gold Kist which is usually harvest in May into June and all time favorite and popular Royal (Blemhein) Apricot about the same time. The delicious and super sweet Cot- N-Candy Aprium® is harvested from early to mid July. Take your pick with Figs, there are some many varieties, which gives you a crop from July to first frost. The heart of the Peach and Nectarine season begins in July and ends in October for the latest varieties. Plum season is in full swing during July and August. My favorite is Burgundy which is sweet, self fruitful and comes in mid July into August, while the most popular and noted Plum called Santa Rosa is usually harvested late June into July. Then you have Apples from August to October. Pomegranate and Persimmon season is in full swing from September to December. The previously mentioned fruit trees are now available to plant during the bare- root or dormant season. Please note, particular varieties may have limited availability. Other cool season vegetable crops that are available now to plant are Peas which can be harvested from the vine January to April.
For those of you who love Strawberries, these refreshing fruits can be harvested February to October. Moving into warm season vegetables, with all their different selections and varieties, Corn can be harvested May though October, Peppers- June to December, and Tomatoes- May Though December also. Everyone loves Basil and you can pick and use this tantalizing herb from May to December as well. Then there are those where you can harvest just about year round like Celery, Rosemary, Tangelos, and Meyer and Eureka Lemons, they seem to really never stop producing a crop, especially in the mild coastal areas. While on the subject of citrus , Navel Oranges are harvested November to April and Valencias usually pick up after the navels and continue until September. You can’t forget the remarkable Anna Apple, this low chill Apple can produce multiple crops especially if pollinated by Dorsett Golden. Of course this is just a sample of what can be used with edibles that can be enjoyed throughout the year, where you can actually have something to eat from your own garden space year round. So go ahead and make your landscape useful, bountiful, enjoyable, and healthy all at the same time.
Your favorite Green Thumb Nursery has a wide range of edibles that can be planted throughout the year and soon afterwards so you can enjoy the benefits of the fruits of your labor from your garden and good health. Please note the harvest times are approximate and are to be used as a guide only.
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