Loquat alias nispero

Subtropical decorative tree (Eriobotrya japonica) can be found in many gardens around the East Bay, but from what I have observed – most trees are possibly seedlings as their fruits are rather small. Many people do not harvest them – I know of several large trees that are only harvested by squirrels.  Loquat tree can grow up to 14 to 16 ft tall if not trained. In East Bay area it can be planted in a spot with full sun whole day. The wind can damage leaves which are otherwise very decorative. Loquat, especially young trees, may be damaged by temperatures bellow 32F. To produce big juicy fruit and abundant growth in the area, the irrigation in summer is necessary.

Loquat is one of the first fruits to be harvested in the spring, some varieties actually even in the autumn. Tastes maybe between apricot and apple, but of course depends on the specific variety.

For some strange reason, loquat is not commonly found in the nurseries around the Bay area. Somebody told me that maybe they are not so easy to graft, but I am not sure whether that is the right reason.

I finally got a tip that God’s Little Acre nursery in San Jose might have several varieties I decided to make a trip there. Tip was right – they had three varieties:

  • Champaign (white-fleshed)
  • Gold Nugget (orange-fleshed)
  • Big Jim (orange-fleshed)

[More information about loquat and varieties is available here: https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/loquat.html]

I have opted for Gold Nugget variety.

Only a few weeks later I have discovered that Berkeley horticultural nursery also offers several varieties of loquat.


Spring diseases on roses

I have inherited several bushes of roses from the previous house owners. Their flower are gorgeous, but they also developed symptoms of some diseases. On the picture below is Black spot (Diplocarpon rosae) and rose rust (Phragmidium mucronatum).

According to my colleague Steve Dreistadt from the UC IPM:

Cultural practices can help for both, more air circulation and sunlight exposure (e.g., prune off some of the rose branches and overstory and nearby plants), no deliberate wetting of leaves… As in Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs book.

Black spot is rare in Davis and rust a problem only during very rainy springs and where people overhead water the plants, or grow them too closely/crowded or heavily shaded. This makes clear problem cause is primarily environment and culture.

In Bay Area I’d grow only rose varieties labeled to be resistant. Extent of problem varies by the yearly and seasonal weather. In combination with culture, repeated spraying is sometimes used. Where it’s often foggy/rainy, fungicide effectiveness can be often unsatisfactory.

Conclusion: I will not spray, just remove the affected leaves. My roses are not crowded and have plenty of sun shine. Let’s see if next spring will be different.

Black spot (Diplocarpon rosae) on rose leaves. Less severe, not so advanced symptoms are more diagnostic.
Rose rust (Phragmidium mucronatum)


Persimmon tree (Diospyros kaki)

I have to admit I was never big fan of persimmon. It was because I have only tried Hachiya type varieties which are highly astringent till soft-ripe. At that time, they are of almost liquid consistence which is not attractive to me.

But then I tried Fuyu type – squat shape and flat bottom. It is mildly sweet, crunchy and can be eaten almost like an apple (I like it with lemon juice).

Tree that I bought if Fuyu type – variety ‘Jiro’. It came from Dave Wilson Nursery and I bought it Home Depot.

Courtesy of Food Librarian, Flickr.

Here is description from the label: ‘Jiro’ (“Apple Persimmon”). Medium size, flat shape, still crunchy when ripe, non-astringent. Cool or hot climate. Hardy, attractive tree, practically pest free. Fall harvest. Needs 200 chilling hours. Self-fruitful. Drought-tolerant.

My tree was small, I guess it is 2 years old at max. Its started sprouting ion mid-march and has some flower buds, so let’s see how the flowers will look like and if I manage to get at least one fruit to taste it.


Fig tree (Ficus carica)

The variety I have opted for is ‘Panache Tiger’ from Four Winds nursery. I got the tree in Home Depot. Here is description:

Courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski – Flickr

 Especially fine Flavor! Small to medium sized with green color and yellow “Tiger” stripes. Strawberry tasty flesh is blood-red in color. Needs 100 chilling hours. Self-fruitful.

Fig trees can be kept below 10′ with regular pruning. Pruning is best done in late fall or winter. It is a Mediterranean crop suitable for dry hot summers and rainy cool winters. Fig is one of drought tolerant trees.

My tree had several small figs which indeed fell down after transplanting. But the tree started to grow really nice just few days after planting.

Veggie planting – March 2016

While seeds sown more than 2 weeks  ago (February 13 & 14, 2016) happily grow, it’s time to continue sowing more veggies and new batch of those that will be harvested continuously. So today following seeds were sown in seedling tray:

  • Mesclun – lettuce mix (in order to have continuous harvest)
  • Tomato “rainbow blend” * [germinated in a week, well]
  • Broad leaf sage [germinated in two weeks, but damaged by snail]
  • Cilantro (longstanding) [poor germination]

*I am actually not very happy about my choice to buy this blend – it is a mixture of 14 varieties, but how will I recognize them? Some need support, some not. Some are my favorite, some not … Blends like this maybe make sense for lettuce or ornamental plants, but not for tomatoes. Next year I will rather go for only 3-4 particular varieties.


  • Black Krim
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Black From Tula
  • Pink Brandywine
  • Red Brandywine
  • Yellow Pear
  • Large Red Cherry
  • Red Zebra
  • Ace 55
  • Beefsteak
  • Tiny Tim
  • German Johnson

Veggie planting – February 2016

I set managed to set up my first cold frame in early February and first batch of veggies was sown on weekend of February 13 & 14, 2016:

In seedling trays:

  • Siberian organic kale (germinated well in less than a week)
  • Black kale (germinated well in less than a week)
  • Russian kale (germinated well in less than a week)
  • Red Russia kale (germinated well in less than a week)
  • Mesclun – lettuce mix (germinated well in less than a week)
  • Arugula – salad rocket (germinated well in less than a week)
  • Tomatillo Milpero (needed almost 2 weeks to germinate)
  • Tomato – Jelly bean hybrid (needed almost 2 weeks to germinate)
  • Physalis – Chinese lantern (needed almost a month to germinate)
  • Italian large leaf basil (needed almost a month to germinate)

Sown directly to the soil (in cold frame):

  • Radish – Cherry Belle (germinated well in less than a week)
  • Kohlrabi – early white Vienna  (needed almost 2 weeks to germinate)