Posted by Bill Thorness
on Mar 26th, 2015 in Blog
| 0 comments
Vegetables aren’t the only edibles in my yard. I enjoy growing a variety of fruit, from berries to rhizomatous perennials to fruit trees. Their cheery buds and flowers fill my garden with sweet promises of desserts, jams, ciders and fruit salads to come. Here are more images from the first days of spring.
The Siegerrebe wine grape is breaking bud.
Strawberries are forming flowers and new leaves close to the crown.
Buds on the blueberry bushes, with spring ephemeral flowers behind.
Rhubarb is sending out curly new leaves and showing bright red on its fast-growing stalks.
Bartlett pear in flower.
Abundant buds on the Liberty apple tree.
Exuberant flowers on a pear tree.
New growth on the pineapple guava, which last year produced two bushels of its tart fruit!
Lush new leaf growth on the raspberry canes.
Delicate flowers on the Italian plum tree.
My newly planted Sea Star strawberries are still just babies under the straw, but they’re already trying to produce fruit.
Perhaps I can’t sow a straight line, but these carrots are coming up fine. Can you guess the variety from my scribbles on the tag? Mouse over the image to see it.
The peas are beginning to grab the trellis, which is an easy DIY design featured in my book.
Pulled the winter
mulch away from the garlic and fertilized it with a top-dressing from the worm bin.
Robust fava beans are in full flower, their tri-color blossms screaming for pollinators.
This Redventure celery is certainly perky. It’s used in drink recipes in Amy Stewart’s new book The Drunken Botanist. Can’t wait to try it.
A bee on the hand is worth two on the plant? This gentle mason bee just hatched from its cocoon, and soon will be hitting the pollen.
I missed a tiny cluster of grapes, which can now be spring bird food as my short-season Pinot Noir leafs out.
- Rhubarb pie count so far this spring: 1. Clearly more to come, even though the plant is flowering.
The amazing rhubarb flower, which appears every 3 or 4 years, deserves a close look.
Posted by Bill Thorness
on Sep 6th, 2012 in Fruit
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There’s still time to do a little summer pruning on your fruit trees. It is helpful, because when the leaves are out and the fruit is weighing down the branches, it’s much easier to see where the tree has gotten too dense or unsustainable.
Summer pruning on the plum tree allows more light to get to the fruit to help it ripen.
And it’s about time to get out the fruit dryer, because our plums and apples and pears are abundant this year.
The pears are harvested off our “fruit cocktail” tree that has multiple varieties. From left, Red Bartlett, Comice and Bartlett.
This weekend, one of my favorite Seattle nurseries, City People’s Garden Store, is hosting two useful classes on fruit. Fruit Drying Basics is Saturday, 10-11, and Fruit Tree Pruning is Sunday, 11-noon. They’re free, but you need to pre-register with the store.
The classes are offered in conjunction with City Fruit. If you have a fruit tree but don’t think you’ll get around to harvesting when the time is right, or aren’t able to use all the fruit, check out City Fruit to see if they can help. They will get the fruit to those who need it.
I use the nylon “footies” on my apples to ward off the apple maggot and codling
moth, which are serious pests in Seattle’s urban orchards. This is an organic technique that I’ve found to be 100% effective. You slip the stockings on the fruit when it’s about 1 inch in diameter, and it will stretch as the fruit grows. Now I’ll pull them off for the
last few weeks to let these Liberty apples finish ripening.
I’m experimenting with espalier, the technique of training a fruit tree into a shape. This Akane apple is getting a simple horizontal T shape (see the bamboo for the lower tier), but there are many delightful patterns to choose from.