Archives for posts with tag: plums

It’s been a mild winter.  A bout of freezes in December, some storms in January, but overall relatively warm and dry.  And now February in the 60’s.  The trees are coming back to life, faster than I’d like.

Early spring, between seeding and tending the nursery and harvesting overwintered crops, ends up being a race to beat the fruit trees.  We have about 80 of them: mostly apples with a smattering of plums, cherries, Asian pears, pears, peaches, and even a couple almonds.  Luckily, each type of fruit starts to blossom at a different time, so we start pruning the first to break bud and chase the gradual onset of flowering throughout the orchard.

The plums are first.  They’re so close!

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Plum blossoms about to break open.

Next week they’ll be a sea of white petals.  For now, it’s time to focus on pruning so that the tree’s hormones and energy aren’t wasted in all that flowering.  By pruning in the winter when the trees are (theoretically) dormant, we promote new growth and can help shape the trees to optimize fruit yield.  More on all that later.

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The indispensable orchard ladder and extension pruner.

For now, let this be just an announcement: the race has begun.  From now until mid March when the last pear tree is pruned, I’ll be chasing blossoms.

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I finally, finally spent a few minutes taking photos on the farm today.

The rhubarb is alive again, popping forth crinkled leaves from buxom pink buds on the soil surface.  The biggest leaves are the size of my palm, and I find myself wondering how many 2-inch stalks it would take to make a rhubarb pie.  But no, it deserves to grow.

Just downhill from the herb garden, the garlic’s standing proudly.  It came up a while back, after months of wondering and waiting if I’d done something terribly wrong.  It’s a tidy crop, keeping to linear geometry for the most part, for now.  The one love of elephant garlic is the exception, trouncing out at a 75 degree curve from its straw bed.

(The Elephant)

And, to my joy, the plum trees’ buds are swelling greenish white, readying themselves to break.  They’ve had a hard time at life, being alternately pruned, not pruned, watered, not watered, weeded or smothered by lawn.  On some branches, their shoots are so short it’s hard to tell one year’s growth from the next.  We’ve done our best to send them off well this season, at least.  I did my best to encourage some fresh growth this week, snipping and thinning and separating skyward branches with chunks of wood chips.  What will, in twenty and a half years, be arm-sized scaffolds supporting truckloads of sweet ripe fruit.  Please?

There is so much more, waiting.  Just waiting.

Tossed to the compost.