Mojave Fruits and Nuts

I have had both good success and expensive failures growing fruit and nut trees in my garden.  My Tillman Apricot is by far my best producer.  Other trees failed to survive the first year.  We can have warm winters and early springs followed by hard frosts as late as April.  Some trees will leaf and bud in late winter/early spring and then die in an April frost.  I don’t know if the older trees would have survived.  At sixty dollars/tree, experimenting can get expensive.  This is where finding out which varieties worked for others and which ones didn’t would be very helpful.  The age of trees that died is also useful information.  Perhaps my failures would have survived if I protected them better when their wood was still young and tender.


My first almond died.  I made the mistake of attempting to prune it too soon.  It didn’t recover.  My second attempt is in a more protected location.  I planted it in spring of 2015.  The top branches died in a late spring frost.  The lower branches survived and are showing slow growth.  Perhaps protecting young trees from frost would be advisable.


The town of Apple Valley got it’s name from farmers who hoped to grow apples commercially.  They found out that our climate is not consistent enough for profitable apple orchards.  Many home owners  enjoy growing apples with the understanding that some years their trees will be strictly ornamental.  I planted a Fuji apple in the ground and keep a Roma apple in a container as a source of pollen for the Fuji.  I am yet to get a Fuji apple.  The Roma produced mini apples that had a texture that is more suitable for cooking than eating.  I would rather cook with the quince.


Branch Loaded with Apricots.

Branch Loaded with Apricots.

I have two varieties of apricots. Both produce abundantly.  I have been eating canned apricots all year and have plenty extra to serve as gifts.


Young Plums Ripening

Young Plums Ripening

Santa Rosa Plums grow well here.  At maturity they have a deep purple skin with yellow/orange meat.  The meat gets sweet first and then finally the skin becomes sweet.  By then every bird in the neighborhood will have filled its belly with my fruit.  The birds are much better at harvesting fruit under bird netting than I am.  While fruit that reaches full maturity on the tree has the best flavor, I am learning to harvest the younger and tangier fruits.

I planted an Italian plum.  The grafted portion of the tree that produces fruit didn’t survive a hard frost.  The root stock did.  I tried to dig it out and start over.  The roots sprouted new shoots which have an amazing resistance to Roundup.  I also tried covering it with several layers of black tarp held down by bricks.  The darn thing sent out runners and bypassed the tarp.  I may have to dig out a major pit to get rid of it.


Quince is a very pretty tree that grows well here.  It produces rose like flowers that mature into fragrant fruits which resemble a cross between an apple and a pear.  Quince in traditionally grown as a source of pectin for home canning.  I found that the slightly dry fruit  works well in baked goods.  I chop it up and toss it in muffins, bread, pancakes, etc. I also enjoy sauteing quince in butter with cinnamon and vanilla and serving it over greek yogurt or ice cream.


About Caliche Chick

I retired from a career as an Environmental Scientist and Botanist. My first career was teaching science and English as a Second Language (ESL), and content classes for ESL students at the middle school level. I also taught introductory biology at the community college level. I have an avid interest in plants that grow with little to no irrigation. I also keep a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and back yard chickens. When I am not in my yard, I am taking Construction Technology Classes at Victor Valley College and working on my "fixer upper" home.
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