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Goodbye Spring, Hello Summer!

Monday, June 18, 2007

The transition from spring to summer fills our kitchen with lemons and raspberries.


Mid-June is a seasonal transition period here in the Berkeley hills.  We have just finished harvesting many spring crops, and the summer crops have not yet hit their stride.  Yet, there is still plenty to eat in our garden.


Our citrus trees are doing very well right now.  Don't tell them that main productive season is "supposed to be" January and February!  Ours do produce a lot of lemons at that time, but they hold very well on the tree, and continue to grow and ripen throughout the year. We just picked 35 pounds of Meyer lemons from our two trees this week, and sold 2/3 of them to a local restaurant.  The rest we enjoyed at home over the course of many meals.  Our little lime trees also have full branches, and we picked a small number of limes (Bearss and Thai/kieffer varieties) to use in the kitchen this week.


Our first summer berries are beginning to ripen.  I added several more raspberry bushes this year, bringing the total up to 6 plants that cover about 20 square feet, combined.  I purposely scattered the raspberry plantings around the perimeter of the yard to make it more fun for our two little berry-lovers to hunt for them.  The yellow raspberry plants ripened first, producing very sweet berries with a soft yellow color.  We have several varieties of red raspberries and they are plump and delicious with classic raspberry flavor.  This week we harvested a total of about 3 cups of raspberries (mixed colors). 


In addition to the raspberries, our yard has a small but productive collection of ollalieberries, boysenberries, and blackberries.  I put all of these extremely vigorous plants into pots, lined with landscape fabric, so that they will not escape and take over our yard--and the neighborhood!  These four-year old berry plants take up about 15 square feet of yard space, and climb vertically in heavy tomato cages and along a sturdy fence.  This week, we harvested about a cup and a half of these berries, and enjoyed every delicious juicy morsel!  Very few made it up to the kitchen for my husband to taste!


Garden growth report:  After the last of the fava beans were picked and the plants removed, I replaced them with tomato and cucumber seedlings.  The tomatoes had been planted early in the spring by my 6 year old daughter, and allowed to grow in pots for the last three months, so they were quite ready to be set free in the ground!  The corners of our bamboo teepee/playhouse are also showing signs of life now as the dormant scarlet runner bean roots start to send up leafy tendrils.  It will only be a month or so until the entire teepee is covered in heavy, productive vines!


All opinions expressed are my own.
Copyright 2007 Sharon Danks