Re: [gardeners] Still no frost!

Ron Hay (
Mon, 04 Nov 2002 07:27:11 -0800

Hello, Penny,

I suspect the oil needs to be processed in some way...after all, people
have been taking castor oil for  years as a purgative. Have you done a
web search on castor oil?

You are right about the plants growing wild here: they are everywhere in
the chapparal on our hillsides, growing much taller than I, and to quite
a considerable circumference, with nary a care from any human hand.

It always intrigues me that plants which have fruit, which is patently
poisonous to the human form, such as the cashew nut (it's the processing
to make them "user friendly" that makes them so costly), were ever
discovered to be in any way useful to humankind.

And not just the poisonous plants: I can't imagine the fit of
desperation that drove the first poor schnook to contemplate the eating
of an artichoke!

Something to ponder.

On a lighter note, I drove down to Poway, a rural suburb of San Diego
(yes, they do exist!) for a meeting of the California Macadamia Society,
on a kind of lark. It was a long round trip drive on Saturday, 318.7
miles, but it was delightful to put faces to names on the list and in
the publications.

I did not, however, have the presence of mind to ask the question about
fruiting spurs, Penny, although I have posited that question to the
chairman on the list, which is not all that active.

Today, I noticed our mandarins are beginning to ripen, with gold peeking
out from under the foliage. Pomegranates are down to about 2 dozen, most
of which have been eaten, juiced, used in ME recipes, or given to
pomegranate fanciers among my Armenian and Persian colleagues.

Our Fuyu persimmons are turning a deep, burnished gold, and are crisp
and succulent. We love to "nuke" them in the morning to have with
oatmeal or cream of wheat; and since we have about a 100 on the tree,
after having given away about a dozen, we will have to find ways to be
creative with them, other than ways involving freezing, as our freezer
is, as usual, stuffed.

Sometime within the next month or so, I expect our macadamia crop to be
ripe, to split open on the tree, ready for husking and cracking out. I
am told that the Beaumont, which has a couple of crops a year, has some
ripe nuts which do not fall, but, instead, start growing roots right on
the raceme. One, I am told, has to watch for those, and to pick any
which do not fall after splitting. Most other varieties, chiefly Cate,
only have one crop per year, and all fall on the ground more or less at
the same time, making harvesting a good deal easier. But, after having
seen the large grove of Cates on Saturday, I can see why Beaumont is a
better landscape specimen/dooryard tree.

One of the delightful new additions to our front garden is two
brugmansias, angels' trumpets. An online friend on the rarefruit list,
last year, swapped me some cuttings for some of our huge passion fruit,
so that he could try to grow them that large from seed, as most are not
nearly so large as ours.

These cuttings grew to 6 feet this season, branched out, and have
produced it's second bloom. They first bloomed around Labor Day, and now
they are at it again: huge apricot trumpets on the one; delicate pink
trumpets on the other. The interesting thing is that they both unfold as
white and then achieve their mature color.

Well, friends, it's off to juicing pomegranates this morning before I go
into the office.

For those of you fortunate enough to live in benign climates, I wish you
happy gardening.