Tuesday, September 21, 2021

September fruits of Sacramento Valley

 September is a very fruitful month here. Here is what I have i in the picture:

Figs - many cultivars are fruiting now

Kei Apple - my Sweet female #4 is dropping fruits

Oak leaf papaya - this year I like these berries a lot

Strawberry guava - nice complex fruits from few trees

Lemon guava - my large leafed seedling started getting ready 

Jujube - all cultivars are ripening now. I only like these fruits at the brown crunchy stage

Duke avocado - I just picked these first 2 fruits 

Mexicola avocado - the fruits are ripening from early September 

Peaches - Fairtime is ready, Last Chance is starting 

Feijoa - Chesterwood is ready

Apples - Fuji and Reinette Simirenko. The small flat apples are from a clone of an old tree in Coloma.

Asian pears - Shinko and Unknown Asian Pear

EU pears - Buttira Rosata Moretti

Asian persimmon - Coffee Cake

American persimmon - H63A

Pomegranate - Balegal 

Feijoa tasting in September


6 ( Marta 6, my seedling) - just ok for this fruit. I don’t think it ripened on the tree

7 ( Marta 7, my seedling)- good flavor but no sugar yet. These were the prematurely dropped fruits 

KK ( Kakariki ) - not ready at all

KT ( Kaiteri ) - I pulled these 2 fruits from the tree. Nice flavor and texture but these need a week or more on the tree

10 ( Marta 10, my seedling) - almost there. Very nice sweet flavor, but the main harvest will be in October 

CW ( Chesterwood ) - ripe, flavorful but not overly sweet, gritty. The only ripe feijoa I have now in September, harvesting for at least 2 weeks already.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Foolproof Cucumbers of 2021

I always had trouble growing most cucumber cultivars, as they would just decline yearly after producing few fruits. But this summer I was pretty happy with the cultivars I grew in my backyard and in the field.

I used to grow the Armenian cucumbers and they usually produced. They also seem to be the most heat tolerant and have a very long season. Here they are together with Mashhad melons:

The Armenian selection I grew in 2021 is light green. These are the same species as melon but separated into to their own subspecies Cucumis melo var. flexuosus. They are very large and the flesh is dense and never bitter.

The other four are true cucumbers (Cucumis sativus):
  • Hybrid Persian
  • Hybrid Tasty King
  • Sweet Gwendolyn 
  • Hybrid Natsuhikari
All of these are wonderful fruits and are still producing in September.

Hybrid Persian makes relatively small smooth fruits. It is probably my favorite, but I like all the others too.

Hybrid Tasty King is a long cucumber with some small spikes on the fruit. It is probably the sweetest of the all long cucumbers I grew this summer.

Sweet Gwendolyn
is a dark skinned, long, and smooth cucumber. It is juicier than the two other long cucumbers I grew this summer.

Hybrid Natsuhikari is the crunchiest and most dense of the three long cucumbers. It has some little spikes on the skin.

I recommend growing all of these. I am now trying to find the source of Sweet Gwendolyn as I do not remember where I got it.

If you prefer cucumbers without any spikes on the skin, these three selections lack spikes: Hybrid Persian (the short ones), Sweet Gwendolyn, and Armenian (the light colored one).

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Large melons in 2021

 On July 31 I harvested and tasted three different melons, Mirza (from Uzbekistan), Prima (Russian selection), and Mashhad (from Iran).

Prima was the largest melon on that day at 8.1 kg.

The melon was sweet, but the flavor was too bland for me and the texture was kind of mushy. The flesh is white. I didn’t like this fruit at all.

Mirza was the second largest fruit with this half weighing over 3.6 kg. It was probably close to 7 kg for the whole fruit.
The flesh is very sweet, aromatic, and melting. This is an excellent melon.

 Mashhad fruit was the smallest this time, but these fruits can also be very large. Here it is under 5 kg.
Mashhad flesh has a green tint. It is very crisp, sweet, and aromatic. It has a nice creamy-vanilla or creme brûlée flavor. 

The flavor varies between different fruits and may depend on the ripening stage and the weather pattern during ripening. The best fruits have some creme brûlée flavor as I described earlier. 

In the image below, the bottom slice is Prima, the left ones are Mirza, and the right ones are Mashhad. Mirza and Mashhad were excellent melons in this tasting. They are very different and it’s hard to choose the best from these two.

On August 7, I tasted more fruits of these three cultivars and also an Afghani melon. 

Mirza (front) and Mashhad (back):

Mirza cut (left and front), Mashhad (upper right):
Cut Afghani:
Cut Mashhad:
My favorites from the August 7 tasting were the same, Mirza and Mashhad. The Afghani melon was crunchy and not very sweet. I didn’t care for Prima. However, I sent the halves of the same fruits I tasted to a group of friends to try, and their preferences were different. 

In this box, left to right: Afghani, Mirza, Prima, Mashhad.

They rated them in the following order starting from the best: Mirza, Prima, Afghani, Mashhad. I was very surprised by their grading, which confirmed that we have different taste buds.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Samarkand Gold Nectarine

 This is a recent introduction by the Hybridizers Group of SCV chapter of CRFG. This is an excellent yellow nectarine. Very sweet and juicy; ripening in early to mid-July in Sacramento Valley.  The grafting wood is available from the Santa Clara Chapter Hybridizers, and the fruits are available (when in season) from Andy's Orchard fruit stand in Morgan Hill.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

A Creme Brûlée Flavored Persian Melon

 A friend gifted me this melon which is new to me. This is an Iranian melon with a very pronounced creme brûlée flavor. There are slight vanilla and basil notes too. I grew up in Central Asia where many different melons were available, but I do not remember any which would be similar to this one. This Persian melon has a very unique sweet flavor and crunchy texture. My son describes the flavor as chocolate covered marshmallow. 

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Early July blueberries

My Southmoon is the star producer now. We like this cultivar a lot. I just picked a very good amount of blueberries from my single plant that I have in a large pot.

Next to the Southmoon plant I have a Pink Lemonade blueberry in a similar pot, but Pink Lemonade produces significantly less. I am not sure it is worth growing in my conditions. In the picture below is a comparison of a harvest on the same day. I do not see many berries forming on Pink Lemonade either.

I have two more cultivars that just started to produce this year. These are still small plants, but I can already see that their berries are very different. Climax (left) and Krewer (right) are shown in the picture below. Krewer fruits are very large, probably the largest blueberry fruits I have ever had.

All of these taste different, with Southmoon being the most complex. We enjoy it a lot. Pink Lemonade is the most sweet with a very low acid content.

September fruits of Sacramento Valley

 September is a very fruitful month here. Here is what I have i in the picture: Figs - many cultivars are fruiting now Kei Apple - my Sweet ...