Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Late May In The Orchard

Our wet spring continues here on the farmstead but the fruit trees seem to be holding their own. Apple blossoms have dropped now and it looks as if we have fruit set.  The youngest tree on the south side of the house has bloomed this year for the first time giving me my third apple tree now in production. It is my only dwarf only dwarf tree coming from Stark Brothers Nursery here in Missouri.

Of the two plum trees, the front tree does have some fruit and seems to have suffered little  damage either from last years drought or this years late snow storms. The fruit crop on the tree is not as large as usual but under the circumstances that is understandable. The back plum tree which is younger does show some drought damage and I notice that several of the limbs have not leafed back out. Once we are certain that those limbs are dead we will prune them out and hit the tree with a good shot of compost and manure around the bottom and we are considering picking what little fruit is on the tree off to allow the tree to concentrate more on recovering as opposed to fruit production.  

Thus far to date there is a peach crop. Smaller than usual but there none the less. 

One of the youngest trees, drought stressed last year is showing signs of peach leaf curl. A fungal infection that has been aggravated by the abundance of rainfall I am sure. The other three trees on other parts of the property are not showing symptoms and this fall we are considering treating all four of them looking for an organic solution first.  

 The strawberries in the raised bed have been fertilized with compost and rotted manure and mulched with decomposing straw. They are setting berries beautifully and we look forward to our first picking of ripe red berries ripening in the June sunshine. 

The one hundred new strawberry plants just planted this year in the garden are leafing out and even have a bloom or two. They will produce little this year but next year should produce a full crop. 

The grapes and blackberries were pruned in March and have been weeded, a generous amount of rabbit poop placed around each plant and mulched heavily with straw and dry grass clippings.

The grapes are just now showing blooms. The blackberries have not begun to bloom yet. 

We have gotten one full cutting and a small one off the rhubarb. With 5 gallons of chopped rhubarb now in the freezer  we have begun to thin the bed and give crowns away. 

The bed had gotten much too thick and had started to be prone to downy mildew. To improve air circulation and sunlight between the plants we have removed 3 large crowns and would like to remove one more. That will leave us 5 large crowns in the bed which should be more than sufficient for our needs and still be able to fit in that space allowed.

Once the crowns were dug up the holes were refilled with rich compost and the bed heavily mulched with a straw and goat poop combo. These rhubarb crown that were removed were shared with a friend that lives locally that I met through this blog. I like being able to give someone else a start of these wonderful plants just as someone local once shared them with me. This friend graciously shared a start of raspberry plants. So I will now add to my orchard a new fruit and to my family a new friend. Two new blessings in one week.

Anyone else out there add something new to their orchard or have any raspberry growing tips?

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. Our plants and trees through the year have lost their real names and become named after their origin....Grover's Plum, Grandma Myrtle's rose, Granny Butler's pear and on and on.

    1. Many of the flowers in my yard are like that. I remember the friend or loved one that gave me my start of that bush rather than the name of the variety of plant : ) Maybe I have just been gardening too long for my own good...

  2. I grow boysenberries which is a cross between blackberries and raspberries. Our harvest is just now finishing with a bumper year. My climate is very different than yours. We are hot and dry in the San Joaquin Valley of California (zone 8-9). I can only offer the following: full sun, well drained soil, feed and irrigate regularly, use netting against birds, and prune according to How to Prune Fruit Trees. This book is dandy. Don't pay more than a couple of bucks for it at your local nursery. Amazon is way overpriced. http://www.amazon.com/Prune-Fruit-Trees-Twentieth-Edition/dp/0963574809

    1. I'll have to keep my eye open for the book and thanks for the recommendation.

  3. what an awesome orchard you have planted-enjoy

  4. I can only dream of having the garden and orchards that you have.

  5. Everything looks great except that peach leaf :( This year I added a dozen or so strawberries to my little fruit bed.. I dont have much room here in town but I do what I can, how I can. Last summer I added a fig tree (Chicago Hardy Fig)to my fruit bed & its got 3 lovely little figs on it and its growing like a weed. Im sooo excited for fresh figs.. They're one of my true loves.. Last year I divided my old rhubarb and then added a super red variety and they all came back this spring & did really good.. I was pretty happy since M'honey really likes rhubarb pies.

    Last fall I added some grape vines in the back yard but Im not sure they survived.. I forgot about them to be honest.. I need to go look-see. I dont know why I bought them.. they were inexpensive and available and Im a sucker. ;) Who knows.. maybe I'll get a grape or two.. ;)

    1. The house O Wise One and I owned in Louisiana before we moved here had a beautiful fig tree! I so miss my fig preserves. My mother made the best ones ever when I was a child. She also made a cookie with a ground fig center that was to die for.

  6. Hi!
    Is your row of trellises for the grapes and blackberries oriented north-south or east-west? I'm near Leavenworth, KS (close to you) and trying to decide which way is best!
    Thanking you in advance.

  7. The pictures and stories of your chores are very detailed and very helpful.. Thank you. My Husband and I recently made a huge move from the Mojave Desert of California to the beautiful green grasses of Colorado's front range.. In the desert it is impossible to grow anything and since I have always wanted a garden/orchard and we needed to make some changes for my health reasons, we came to Colorado.. We are making so many plans and have already begun gardening or at least making lots of mistakes and learning from them.. I am having fun with the second stage of our life together.. the first 30 years together have been a blessing and given 3 wonderful sons & 3 beautiful granddaughter all back in the desert. We will be referring back to your blog again and again for all the wonderful detailed advice you have shared.. I would love to grow some rhubarb also and any advice you can give would be appreciated. Rhubarb is my husbands very favorite and we tried last year with a cutting we got from a local nursery, but it was left out in the freezing cold last year and we lost it...or at least that is what the nursery told us we did wrong. Evelyn H. above has a good question about the North-South or East-West facing for the trellises.. what would you suggest for me here in the lower Northeastern part of Colorado? You have a new follower and I hope you will not mind my coming to you time again as we get our garden/orchard established. Blessings to you and your family :D


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