Tustin is Heaven on Earth for Gardeners

After being happily stuffed over the holidays my body is craving fresh, organic fruit. I am so thankful we planted fruit trees a few years ago because my family is never without some form of fresh fruit to pick & enjoy. For those of you who don’t already have fruit trees, they can be implemented into your garden design beautifully no mattter how small or formal your yard. Citrus are evergreen and have amazing scented blossoms, while apple trees can be espalliered against a wall or used to create a charming garden fence. Passion fruit and grape vines will quickly cover an arbor or unattractive fence; and kiwi bushes add wonderful blue-grey foliage to a planting bed.  Below are a few of my favorite trees for our climate:

Valencia Oranges – Great for cutting, juicing, or in a salad with avocado,mint & cumin vinagrette

Cara Cara Pink & Blood Oranges – The first is the hottest farmers’ market item & the latter is so Italian!

Bearrs Lime – Bartenders’ special, great in pies, ceviche, salsa, squeezed over mangos with chili & salsa

Meyer Lemon AND Eureka lemon – One sweet, one tangy.  I haven’t bought bottled salad dressing in years. The trick to amazing dressing is balancing the salt with the acid. Zov (and my sister-in-law the salad “queen”) taught me this trick. Taragon vinegar is a great back-up if your tree is picked clean.

Other prolific citrus trees in my backyard are: Oro Blanco grapefruit (the sweetest variety ever), seedless tangarines and tangelos; and I love the mandarinquat because it is unusual, the skin is edible and it makes great table decor all year round.

Fuji apples grow beautifully here in Tustin. I bought mine espalliered & created a fence.

Avocado (Haas & Bacon) – Ours produce as much as we want after only two – three years

Persimmon (Fuyu) – Eat it like an apple or slice it in a salad with mint, lemon & pomegranite seeds. They are ripe in October/November when not much else is and their mini pumpkin shape makes darling Thanksgiving decor.

Fig (Black mission is my fav) – Amazing fresh or grilled with proscuitto or in salads. High in iron, too!

Sapote (White) – Tastes like a blend of banana & pineapple. Just when I thought I’d never meet a fruit I didn’t I planted a black sapote. It’s supposed to taste like chocolate pudding…NOT!

Donut or Saturn peach – Super prolific and sweet

I am still trying my hand at plums & pluouts. And though the “Blenheim” apricot is super sweet, the fruit is a little small for my taste. I would love to hear if there are varieties you have had luck with.

So, for the New Year – will you join me in my quest to put the ORANGE back in Orange County? I promise you and your friends and family will enjoy the “fruits” of your labor!

Best wishes for a fruitful New Year:)



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