Avocado Grove Springtime

May 12, 2019
by Mimi Holtz
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Avocado Growers Love Rain

Avocado Grove Springtime

Why Avocado Farmers Love Rain

Southern California is famous for it’s glorious weather, and many people move here for the sunshine.   I must admit that I moved to California after a particularly difficult winter in the northeast in 1977.   It was such a luxury to see flowers in the winter,  be able to schedule picnics without worrying about the weather,  and to go without boots, heavy coats, and shoveling show.  I didn’t care if it ever rained at all ….until I married an avocado farmer.



I quickly learned that the only time an avocado farmer can take time off from work is when it rains.   Beautiful rain that falls gently,  sprinkles the groves with enough water to soak in so the roots can take up that glorious clean water.  Rain that leaches the salts out of the soil and cleans months of dust off the leaves of the trees is always welcome.  Sometimes we have gully-washers too,  and that requires “getting ready for the rain”:  cleaning off the grove roads so that leaves don’t clog up the drains,  and making sure that the water has a place to go without causing too much erosion damage.  There is only so much we can do,  because wind can knock the fruit off the trees and too much rain can cause shallow rooted avocado trees to fall over.  For the most part though,  we just love rain.

Early wild flower

One thing that I really miss about living in Vermont where I grew up is the wild flowers.  There are wild flowers that come up while the snow is still melting, and wild flowers that follow throughout the spring.  If you know your wild flowers, you don’t even need a calendar, because you can tell what month it is by which flowers are blooming.  I spent so much time in the woods and out in the fields around our house that I knew these things.  When I moved to Los Angeles  it was hot in summer and wet in winter.

Miner's Lettuce

Everything changed when I married The Farmer and moved to the avocado ranch.
Water is expensive and sometimes in short supply.  When it rains,  the trees get their water for free!  Nobody has to go out and turn valves,  nobody has to monitor the grove to make sure every tree gets water,  and the water bills will be much lower, leaving the possibility for the ranch to make a profit when the avocados are mature and can be sold, if the prices are high enough.  We do have to measure the rain, so that we know how much rain has fallen.  “Did you check the rain gauge?”  “How much rain did you get?”

Wild Peony

This year we have had plenty of rain.  Not only did we have the gift of water for our trees,  but The Farmer had time to recover from the flu with minimal work required during those rainy weeks.  (Farmers are not supposed to get sick.).  I’m happy about all those things,  but the most exciting result of the rains for me is the color!

Fields of wildflowers

Green hillsides and spectacular wild flowers all over the ranch.  Wild flowers that are native, and wild flowers that grow from seeds mixes that I buy at Lowe’s.   Flowers everywhere!

 

Wildflowers on the Ranch

After the first wild flowers finish blooming,  the fruit trees begin to bloom!  Tango Mandarin OrangesTangerines get sweeter in the spring sunshine.

Mulberry Tree  Mulberries begin to ripen in May.

Sharing the Springtime with Friends

I love sharing the beauty of springtime with friends, especially the ones who truly love nature and are interested in how plants grow,  how flowers turn into fruit,  and how the avocado trees provide shade for the baby fruit all year until they can be harvested next season.

Ripe Hass avocado

The trees that flowered last year and were pollinated,  survived the hot summer day last July when we had 115 degrees,  held onto the tree through high winds in winter,  and thrived on the nutrition and water provided by The Farmer are mature and ready to harvest now!   The Hass avocados are so tasty,  and in late June  the Reed avocados will be ready too.

Planting New Avocado Trees

Baby avocado trees We have planted some baby trees during the last couple of years,  with varieties that we’ve never tried before like Nabal,  Santana,  Carmen,  and Gem.

Avocado flowers and babies

The first of the baby avocados are just beginning to appear now.  They’re so tiny .. like BB’s … and by this time next year they’ll be ready for harvest.   We never know how many babies will set,  how many of those will grow to maturity, and how many of those can actually be harvested and sold.   The rain really helps out, and we’re grateful for all the wonderful rain we received this year! Continue Reading →

Veg Beef and Barley Soup

January 2, 2019
by Mimi Holtz
9 Comments

Hearty Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup

Veg Beef and Barley Soup

Happy New Year!   I made this Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup today because the weather has been really cold here in San Diego county. It’s an easy soup with lots of flavor and healthy vegetables.   I’ve been craving the rich beefy flavor of  my mother’s homemade soup as we were growing up in Vermont.

This isn’t my mother’s recipe exactly, because I made it up as I went along, but it’s really good! Continue Reading →

Blooming avocado tree

May 9, 2018
by Mimi Holtz
11 Comments

Avocado Trees are Blooming!

Blooming avocado tree It’s springtime in the avocado groves!   The trees started blooming weeks ago, but by now the hills are a mass of yellow blossoms!  You can hear the bees buzzing in the grove as they pollinate each tiny blossom.  The tree in this photo had a few “off blooms” in January, and the fruit has already had time to grow into plum-sized avocados.  This is one reason that some avocados are mature enough to pick very early in the season, and others take longer to be ready.

With such nice weather, I’ve been getting out to ride around and watch the progress of the springtime bloom!  In today’s post I even have a video for you!

Continue Reading →

picking avocados

February 4, 2018
by Mimi Holtz
12 Comments

A February Visit to the Avocado Ranch

Janice loves avocado

Avocado farm visit love!

Just about one year ago, in February 2017,  Janice Person came to visit our farm.  It was her very first visit to an avocado farm,  and the Southern California was dressed up in green,  with lots of wild flowers and gorgeous scenery due to all the wonderful rain.  I was hobbling around on my bad knee, waiting for my meniscus surgery date.  We had a great time together, but neither of us ever got around to writing about that day.  We decided to share our experience with you this weekend, both at the same time, because once again it’s February in the avocado grove! Continue Reading →

Kubota RTV with Mimi Avocado logo on it

January 31, 2018
by Mimi Holtz
11 Comments

It’s a New Year for Mimi Avocado

Kubota RTV with Mimi Avocado logo

MImi Avocado Mobile

It’s a brand new year and I’m so glad to reconnect with all of you!  When I  wrote my last post in May of 2017,  I shared a wonderful video about how avocados grow, which was filmed on our ranch last March.  If you missed it, here it is:

I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be posting again until 2018.   If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter you have seen much of what I’ve been doing since last May.   I just haven’t been ready to get back to writing here on the blog until today. Continue Reading →

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