Sunday, October 17, 2021

Feijoa tasting on October 17, 2021

Albert's Pride - Very nice flavor, little grit, dense flesh
Flavia - Good flavor, low acid, gritty, soft flesh
8 Ball - Juice, good flavor, some grit, may need more time on the tree
Triumph - Low acid, dense flesh, gritty
Apollo - Lots of jelly, sweet, low acid, juicy, low grit, nice flavor
Abbadabba - Not fully ready, low flavor, low sugar, low acid, high grit

Den's Choice - Excellent flavor, sweet, lots of jelly, juicy, no grit
White Goose - Very good, sweet-sour, soft flesh, no grit
Edenvale Late - Excellent flavor, sweet-sour, gritty, may need more time to ripen
Chesterwood - Very sweet, dense flesh, no grit, overripe by now (this is my earliest cultivar)
Tagan II - Excellent flavor, sweet-sour, creamy flesh with little grit

Friday, October 15, 2021

Den's Choice Feijoa

 Den's Choice feijoa just started dropping fruits this year on October 15. This is one of the best mid season cultivars. The flesh is smooth, lots of jelly, sweet with some acidity and very pleasant flavor.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Purple guava makes excellent tea

 Purple guava, Psidium myrtoides makes small purple fruits with large seeds and low sugar content. I almost removed the tree as I didn't particulary liked fresh fruits. They taste very healthy and have a high amount of flavonoids, but not enjoyable to eat. 

The fruits are usually formed in small clusters.

Before digging the tree out, I decided to make a tea out of the fruits, and this saved the tree. The tea flavor reminded me the black currant fruit flavor. They should share similar compounds responsible for this flavor. Purple guava is definitely worth growing for making drinks.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Jujube cultivars

October 10, 2021, pictures

Ant Admire (2 left fruits) and Hidden Gem

Hidden Gem has some pleasant acidity. Ants Admire feels more sweet.

Shanxi Li make very large and sweet fruits

Chico row, #1 makes excellent, very sweet fruits

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Feijoa tasting on October 10, 2021

 My seedlings

I described these seedlings earlier.  All started from Mark Albert’s fruits in 2015, and planted in the ground in 2016. I evaluated this seedling in two previous years, in 2019 and in 2020.  This tasting from today just confirmed that #10 and #7 are still the best fruits. They are followed by 6, 9, 8, and 11, which are OK seedlings but not worth naming. #10 and #7 have high sugar with some acid.  #10 ripens a week or two earlier than #7.  I came up with the name for # 10, Oktoberfest. Looking for a name for #7.  Both will be registered through CRFG this year.

Known cultivars

Apollo - Sweet, smooth, very little acid, very little grit.
Marion - Low sugar, some acid, mostly flat, juicy, gritty.
Tagan II - Flavorful, but not ready yet, this was the first fallen fruit.
Kakariki - Sweet with some bitterness, gritty.  The fruits are from small plant that made too many fruits for its size.  
Marjane - Very nice clean flavor with sugar and acid, but needs more time, not fully ready yet. No grit, very smooth.
Chesterwood - Sweet-sour, very dense jelly, no grit now.
White Goose - Sweet with some acid, juicy, smooth, no grit, needs more time to ripen.
Albert's Supreme - Very good flavor, high sugar, high acid, mostly smooth, low grit.
Kaiteri - Excellent fruit, high sugar, some acid, no grit. Best in this tasting.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Feijoa tasting on October 1, 2021

 Left to right in the picture: Chesterwood, Marion, Apollo 

The best tasting fruits here are Chesterwood and Apollo. By now Chesterwood fruits developed more sugar and flavor, and they are better than 2 weeks ago. Marion flavor is very flat. No acid and low sugar. I hope they will become better in a week or two. Apollo is very smooth and sweet with less acid than Chesterwood.

Another variety I picked today, but forgot to take a picture is Kaiteri that was the overall best at this date. 

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.

Feijoa tasting on October 17, 2021

Albert's Pride - Very nice flavor, little grit, dense flesh Flavia - Good flavor, low acid, gritty, soft flesh 8 Ball - Juice, good f...