Tons and Tons of Vincent Kiwis!

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Vincent Kiwis heavy on the the trellis and ready to harvest. This is the biggest crop we have had in the 11 years we have had the vines.

Okay, maybe not tons, but at least 50 or 60 lbs. of Kiwis, is my guess at this point.

Although in past years, I have grumbled and griped a lot about the lack of pollination on my Kiwi vines, this year we have a bumper crop, and now that we have had a few cold snaps, it is time to begin harvesting. If I had to guess, I would say there are at least 500 kiwis on the female plant this year. Don’t get me wrong, despite the hundreds of kiwi fruits, I still think the Tomuri, the male fuzzy Kiwi vine, is a poor pollinator for Vincent, my female plant. The blossom timing for Tomuri is a few weeks later than the majority of Vincent flowers, plus, Tomuri only set a few flowers sporadically. Luckily, this year about ten male flowers managed to bloom when all the female flowers opened. After the female was done, another 15 to 20 male flowers bloomed. As you can probably tell by the fruit set, I still got out the paint brush! I can only imagine how much fruit I would have if there were more male blossoms. Since Tomuri flowers so lightly, I still hope to locate a local source for Matua, an earlier male fuzzy kiwi and graft it on the Tomuri plant.

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The vines of the kiwi loaded with ripe fruit.

We started picked the kiwi fruits a week or so ago. They only need to sit on the counter for about two days to be just right for eating, with a taste similar to what most people are used to in a kiwi. If left more than a few days longer than that, the taste is almost too sweet and rich. I plan to use the majority of fruit to make my homemade Strawberry Kiwi Jam.

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Upclose view of kiwis on the vincent kiwi

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Ripe Kiwi fruit cut open to show interior seeds. The sizes of the fruit vary from the about 1 oz to about 3 oz each, with most of them in the 2 oz. range.

Update February 1st, 2014.  We picked many dozens of fruit after I posted this.  Yesterday my hubby and I picked what was left on the vines and weighed yesterday’s bounty.  It totaled up to 74 lbs.  Wow, I have a lot more than I thought.  There is no way I can canned all of this in one day; that is a lot of peeling and I don’t have that much room in the crisper in the fridge. Its too much for keeping it all for our selves.  Some was shared with neighbors and more will be shared with friends.  I might also be making a trip to the food bank tomorrow.  This year’s crop is definitely a year I need to give thanks for.  For those of reading this that are friends, family, and teachers… I sure hope you like Kiwi Jam!

© 2014, Hanbury House.

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How to Prune Bababerries and other Everbearing Raspberry Plants

 

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Bababerry plants along the driveway loaded with unripe raspberries. This photo is from a few summers ago, but I added it to show what the little raspberry patch looks like.

The past couple of years I have been received lots of questions via email regarding how to prune Bababerry plants, a variety of everbearing raspberry that grows well in Southern California and other low chill – warm climates.  Managing Baba raspberries is much the same as any other everbearing or fall bearing raspberry variety.  Most folks are able to pick fruit the first year they buy and plant an everbearing raspberry, including Baba. That is not the case on summer bearing raspberry varieties, which only produce on second year or two year old canes.  Since I am in the middle of my winter pruning chores, including pruning out the old wood on the berries, I figured it was a good time to take a short break and post something about it.

A new or first year cane on a raspberry plant is called a primocane.  A second year cane is referred to as a floricane or floracane.  Summer bearing raspberries only produce one harvest each summer and only on their floracanes.  Those two year old canes are then pruned out in late fall or winter, after bearing fruit. Everbearing varieties produce on the top half of primocanes the first fall, and then on the lower half the following Spring.

With all everbearing raspberries, the gardener can choose to have either one or two crops each year, depending on the pruning or management technique the gardener prefers to use.  Here at Hanbury House I often to prune to get two crops a year.  To do this, I prune out all the two year old canes to the ground each winter and just prune the top half of the primo canes from the previous season.  Although it is ideal to prune when they are dormant, if you are unsure what to prune at first, the chore can wait until the first new leaf buds begin break dormancy in early spring.

Usually I can tell which canes are two years old on my Babas just based on how the “skin” of the cane looks. The canes that are grey and/or really flaky looking are usually the old ones that need to be cut to the ground and completely removed. New canes usually emerge nearby. Any canes that are primocanes and produced fruit on the top 1/2 of the cane in the fall, usually look healthy and a medium shade of brown, with the top part being dried looking and sometimes has a few tiny barren side stems where the berries hung last fall.  They will also have new buds along the stem. I prune those canes down only about half way, to the point just below where the last berries grew or above where it looks like there is a live bud still.  Those pruned canes will bare fruit along the rest of the portion of the cane, usually in by mid to late Spring or early Summer.  Then, next winter, I prune the rest of that cane out as mentioned above.

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Bababerry Everbearing Raspberry Primocane needing to be pruned. I will prune right above the bud in the middle of the picture for fruit in the Spring or Summer.

The other method to manage everbearing raspberries is pruning all canes to the ground when the canes are pretty much dormant, typically sometime between the new year to early February, basically in the middle of winter. With this pruning method the gardener only gets one crop later in the summer or early fall, instead of two. This is the easiest method, and many folks prefer it, including my friend across the street that also grows lots of Baba berries. It is much less work, and a bit tidier looking. Either method, new canes usually emerge each spring around the base of the plant.

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Floracane at the end of the growning season on Bababerry. Notice how the cane is greyish and a little flaky. Some canes get even flakier. This is about to be pruned to the ground to make room for new primocanes on the raspberry plant.

Once a raspberry patch has been established for many years, the canes will have spread out and multiplied a lot.  Any canes that are outside the designated garden bed can be dug up and and used to start a new raspberry patch or shared with friends. The best time to divide and dig out canes, if you want the canes to survive the transplant, is in the dormant season.  If you are just trying to tidy things up, dig out the stray canes at any time of year. If you are still wondering if your raspberry plants are summer bearing or everbearing, here is short list of commonly grown varieties of each. I put an * next to varieties I have grown or my close friend across the street has grown at some point over the last two decades.

Everbearing raspberry varieties:

  • Anne *
  • Amity
  • Autumn Bliss
  • Autumn Britten *
  • Bababerry *
  • Caroline *
  • Dunkum
  • Heritage
  • Fall Gold
  • Indian Summer *
  • Kiwi Gold *
  • Josephine *
  • Polana
  • Rosanna *
  • Summit

Summer Bearing

  • Boyne
  • Canby
  • Latham
  • Meeker
  • Willamette

Bababerries are my favorite, and in my opinion, the best raspberry, out of the all the red raspberries varieties I have grown in our low chill Mediterranean climate.  I hope this helps those of you searching for tips on how to prune your raspberry plants.   If you still have raspberry questions, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to get back to you.

© 2014, Hanbury House.

Urban Homestead

Depending on what garden resource I read or who I listen to, what I do around our property is referred to by a variety of names…urban homesteading, Permaculture, backyard orchard culture, edible landscaping, victory gardening, etc.  I really don’t care what it is called, except when my husband calls it an addiction.    

This is a small sample of what’s growing around here, and more pictures can be found throughout my blog.


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We live on a 1/12th of an acre, smack dab in the middle of a sprawling metropolis, but we own about as many edible trees, berries, grape vines, etc. as some folks keep on an acre.  I try to squeeze it all in by choosing dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit tree varieties whenever possible, espaliering some, closely grouping others, confining a few in pots on the driveway, and a lot of it gets regular pruning throughout the year, especially a bit in the summer when needed.  Most of the high density growing methods I have picked up  over the years through workshops and books.

Although it looks like I should be done adding trees by now, I continue to collect a few more each year, and I try to keep improving my gardening skills and knowledge.  My mom even reserved us each a spot to attend a workshop, titled “All About Fruit Trees,” later this morning over at H& H nursery.  It will feature a guest speaker from Dave Wilson nursery, Tom Spellman, who will be talking about backyard orchard culture, pruning, and care of fruit trees.  I am hoping to learn something new or some other orchard management practice I am lacking (which I am sure is a long list.)

Every year, I add a few more things (and rip out a few.) When it comes to my backyard fruit,  I have been trying to have some kind of fruit to pick, throughout the entire year.  In the summer months, there is more than enough to choose from in our yard.  During the rest of the year, the choices get limited, but it is slowly getting better.

As of Jan. 2012, I count over 30 fruit varieties in our yard, but I have gown about a dozen others over the last 15 years, that have come and gone.  My edible yard is still considered modest in comparison to other backyard fruit enthusiasts like me.  Here are two Southern California backyard fruit collections I think are really cool and book marked awhile back: This one is in Fountain Valley , and this one is in Rancho Cucamunga.  This second garden link is to a Dave Wilson “Fruit Tube” video, hosted by the same guy that is doing the H & H workshop.

This is a list of what fruit I am growing at Hanbury House currently:

  • 2 Apple Trees-Anna and Dorset
  • 3 Blackberry Patches- Hanbury, Boysen, and Triple Crown
  •  blueberries both Southern Highbush “Sunshine”
  • 4 Citrus Trees-Bears Lime, Improved Meyer Lemon, Owari x Satsuma Mandarin, Cara Cara Navel Orange (this one is only 3 years old so we aren’t picking anything yet)
  • 2 Figs-Black Mission and Violette de Bordeaux
  • 2 Goji Patches
  • 6 Grape vines-2 Jupiter, Canadice, Fantasy, Concord (Eastern,) Interlacken
  • 1 Guava- Strawberry
  • 2 Kiwi – Vincent and a Male for a pollinator
  • 1 Loquat- Big Jim
  • 2 Nectarines-Snow Queen and Panamint+ 1 tiny volunteer seedling in a pot
  • 3 Peaches- May Pride, Red Baron, Desert Gold
  • 2 Persimmons- Fuyu (Piro) and Giant Fuyu (Gosho)
  • 1 Plum- Multi- grafted with 4 varieties: Beauty, Burgundy, Methley, and Santa Rosa
  • 1 Pomegrante- Sweet (only 3 years old, so we have yet to pick any fruit)
  • 2 Raspberries Patches-Anne and Baba
  • a couple dozen Strawberry plants scattered throughout the front and backyard.

Here are some helpful links to more info on Backyard Orchard Culture:

© 2012, Hanbury House.

Urban Fruit Gleaning



This new video by a local film student features a few volunteers from SoCal Harvest.

If you are local to the Greater Long Beach area, and if you don’t want backyard fruit to go to waste, SoCal Harvest has a team of volunteers that will come out, pick any fruit within reach of picking poles and small ladders, and box it all up for Food Finders to pass out to local food pantries.  Homeowners can even get a receipt for the donation for a tax write off.  For more information about the program, donate, or to volunteer, visit SoCal Harvest’s Website.  There are many other similar groups around the county that do community gleaning projects.


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Last February, my son was assigned a school community service project, as part of a health class, in which he was to spend a few hours volunteering with a health related organization.  He decided tagging along with me to a couple of SoCal Harvests would be a good way to do it.  The cool thing about the assignment was he finished his mandatory hours more than 9 months ago, but he still volunteers whenever he can.  Although he just got some great grades for the end of the semester and could be spending his day playing video games or what ever he wanted, he said he is coming with me this morning.  I think part of the reason J does it is he enjoys being able to work outside, for just an hour or two on Saturday mornings, and then he gets to see the results for his effort almost instantly, like in the picture of the truck filled with fruit seen below.

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J Passing out flyers

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The SoCal Harvest truck getting packed up to drop off fruit at Food Finders. All this fruit came from just one house in the California Heights neighborhood of Long Beach.

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A harvest in a backyard in College Park Estates area of Long Beach.

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J happened to snap a photo of me out on one of the harvests.

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J trimming off leaves and stems so the fruit doesn’t get damaged and go bad prematurely

 

I pray the following is the other part of the reason J continues to volunteer:

The Lord portrayed the day of judgment, with all the nations gathered before him, separated into “sheep” and “goats.” To the “sheep” he says, “Come you blessed of my Father, for I was hungry and you gave me food…” In their astonishment they ask, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food?…”  And He answers, “Truly I tell you, Just as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Either way, I am glad J continues to volunteer.  I sure was blessed with a good kid.

Although I had posted about Food Finders and SoCal Harvest once before, Food Finders  has recently changed locations, so I felt it necessary to update their information here:

Food Finders is now located at  2301 E 28th St #303  Signal Hill, CA 90755.   (562) 598-3003

© 2012, Hanbury House.