Peach Tree SOS

I know, I’m blowing up your reader or inbox with gardening posts today.. sorry about that. I promise this is the last post for today. I’ve been taking pictures, gardening, and now I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and record it all. 

Last year at the Mud Sale I bought two peach trees and two dwarf cherry trees. My peach trees are Baby Gold (apparently good for canning) and my cherry trees are Montmorency dwarf trees (sour pie cherries).  I have a problem though, I don’t even know the first thing about caring for trees! I’ve never grown a fruit tree before.

I honestly don’t even know where to start, but here are the pretty blossoms on the tree right now. Can I prune the tree when it is blooming? It seems to be growing straight up.

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I do know one sure way to kill a fruit tree is to prune it at the wrong time, so I started with Google and got mixed reviews on when it’s okay to prune. Then I put out an SOS on Twitter, but no one has responded yet.

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I’ve found this peach pruning “How to” and that helps, but I’ve already missed some deadlines for things I need to do. This will technically be my second summer (first full summer) with the trees.   I’m pretty sure I can’t prune them right now with blossoms on them, so I’ll probably just wait until next March.

Mistakes I made already with these fruit trees:

  • I planted them in awful soil.. sort of on a hill. How in the world am I going to pick fruit on a hill? 
  • I planted them in the burning heat at the beginning of July. Who the heck does that? It’s a miracle they’re even still alive.
  • They are too close together.
  • I haven’t done anything to them yet besides putting them in the ground.

So, I’ll fertilize and feed my trees now (pray they won’t die), treat them so the bugs don’t get them, and take care of pruning next year??? Unless someone tells me I can do it now. Can I? Does anyone know?

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Oh, Blueberry Bushes

I always seem to kill my blueberry bushes. After some research, I’m realizing that the soil seems to be the problem. So this is what I constructed.. ALL BY MYSELF. They are not filled with new soil or feed yet and mulch will go around them so they won’t stand out as much, but they are at least completed. 

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The blue color matches the shed (it’s the same outdoor paint), but my thought here is that I can better control the soil.. I’ll let you know how that works.

Tony came home and there I was with the saw, his drill, and screws I managed to find around his garage. He was pretty impressed…. and a bit scared. He wasn’t sure I knew how to work the saw. How hard could it be?

1. I measured the boxes I needed:

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2.I used wood from my reclaimed wood collection:

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3. I cut the boards I needed and screwed them together:

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4. I set them in place before I painted them:

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5. Paint:

 

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I finally filled them with soil and am in the process of locating a good blueberry feed. Any ideas? I think just controlling the soil may help. They are not dead yet, but they’re headed there.

 

Cherry Picking June 2013

I decided to cross one thing off my summer bucket list this morning. Our local orchard opened for cherry picking on Monday. I picked up my niece and off we went!  There is always an abundance of cherries year after year and I didn’t think we’d have a problem finding edible cherries. I actually used to work at that orchard during college, so I am well aware of how rain impacts the cherry picking season. When cherries are ripe and it rains (a lot of rain), all the cherries split and they mold very quickly. With all of the recent rains, that was the case today. My niece was a trooper though and didn’t let those cherries discourage her picking! 🙂

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We did find some great cherries though! One tree didn’t seem impacted like the rest. We were so excited! We thought we hit the ‘cherry jackpot.’

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My niece absolutely LOVED picking cherries! She didn’t want to stop picking them. My intention was to only fill 3 buckets (which was already ambitious), but it turns out they had extra bags on hand. We had to fill two more bags.

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She couldn’t get enough! She even accidently picked a stink bug and that didn’t stop her either. I HATE stink bugs! It’s a good thing I didn’t find it or we might have stopped sooner. I know, I know, I should not be scared of bugs because I work in the garden so much, but for some reason I cannot stand stink bugs. I despise everything about them and see no purpose for them.

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We ended up picking 28 lbs of cherries and we gave most of them to family and neighbors. It was a good lesson on giving to others without expecting anything in return too! Before we could give them away though, we had to do something about the potential mold.  We washed them in vinegar/water solution.

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Vinegar Solution:  About 1/8-1/4 cup of vinegar in a gallon of water.  It WILL smell like vinegar at first (my niece claimed she couldn’t eat the cherries anymore because they smelled bad). But don’t worry, once the cherries dry the smell goes away or you can just rinse them if you’d like. My niece had no problem eating them once they dried. The vinegar stops the spread of mold spores that may be on the fruit. In this case, the cherries would have become moldy rather quickly with the surrounding rotten cherries on the trees.  The wash will work with any berry. I often use it for raspberries because they mold really quickly.

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We had a great day! Now I have to figure out what to do with the cherries I still have. I’m thinking about freezing them and hopefully I can make some smoothies. Any other ideas?  🙂 It was a wonderful day!

Growing Strawberries

I’ve never been good a growing strawberries. I always had strawberry plants, but I could only get a few strawberries to grow, until I discovered a few tricks. I am proud to say that the strawberries are already turning red. I picked these after school. 🙂

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After speaking to a few of my colleagues last week, I discovered I wasn’t the only one that didn’t know much about strawberries, which prompted this blog post.

There are 3 different kinds of strawberries. I discovered this from going to my local greenhouse. I always wondered why the strawberries I had didn’t give me a lot of strawberries. I finally figured out that I had only one type (everbearing).

The three main varieties are:

  1. June Bearing- Usually produces a crop in late spring (I have quite a few of these for jam). Soon, a bunch will all come in at once. Once I pick them, they won’t really do much for the rest of the summer.
  2. Everbearing- I have 3 of these plants. I can pick a few about 2-3 times a year, but it doesn’t yield much. It seems like just enough for snacking while I’m working in the garden.
  3. Day Neutral- These are like the everbearing and the fruit is usually small. I don’t have this type.

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A Few Tips and Tricks:

  1. Full Sun: I originally planted mine in part shade and they didn’t grow well. As soon as I transferred them, they seemed to finally produce strawberries. Choose a sunny spot!
  2. New Strawberry Plants: Strawberries typically do not produce their best fruit if they’ve been producing fruit for more than 3 years. My strawberry garden is now divided into 3 sections. I plan on buying new crops and rotating them. If I buy one section a year and replace them, it will be easier on the budget.
  3. Well-Drained Soil: Strawberries will typically grow in any soil condition, but when I moved my strawberry bed to an area that was sandy/rocky, they grew just fine. I thought I was giving my strawberries a death sentence, but it was the only place I had with full sun by the house.
  4. A Raised Bed: I think this helps with drainage. Strawberries do not like sitting in water.
  5. Water! Water! Water! Although strawberries don’t like sitting in water, they need watered regularly.
  6.  Weed: Seems simple, but this is where most people lose the highest possible yield.

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I am sure I will learn more at some point, but for now I’m happy to say I have strawberries to enjoy. I could quite possibly have incorrect information. Remember, I’m still learning. 🙂  There is nothing like a homegrown strawberry! Even the dog loved eating one!

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