Thursday, January 4, 2018

Desert Paradise

Spent 5 glorious days in the Sonoran Desert.  Glorious in winter!


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Expanding The Definition of Fruitful

It’s time for a change.  This much neglected blog will be getting an overhaul, the theme still being fruitful labor, but exploring where one can be fruitful.  Stay tuned for images, poems, artwork and more!

The first installment of diversity in fruitfulness is: Compassion

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Winter Is Here

December is coming in with a cold bang... my apple trees still have their leaves and the temperatures have dipped into the low thirties and even twenties at night.  Yet it is blessedly dry and a great time to add compost to your trees.  I like to use mushroom compost I purchase from Mt. Scott Fuel, www.mtscottfuel.comI like to put at least a wheelbarrow full around the drip line of all my trees that are now 5 years old.  You can definitely put on more but aim for about a 1 inch layer all around the drip line.  The winter rains, at least in Portland, will bring the nutrients to the trees roots.  Now is a great time to lime as well and I would apply the lime before the compost.  For older trees (5+ years) use about a pound of lime spread evenly about the drip line.  For younger trees, a cup to two cups spread evenly about.  It is really hard to apply too much lime, especially here in the PNW, so don't worry about putting on too much.

The benefits of using  mushroom compost are a) it is sterile and weed seed free, b) made from cow manure instead of horse manure (horse manure is notorious for having large amounts of weed seed because horses can't digest weed seeds unlike their ungulate brethren),and c) it has added bits of lime, sand, and other micronutrients that I like. 

Other than that, my winter projects are to make persimmon vinegar from our bountiful crop of Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons as well as making dried persimmons and persimmon leather.  Drying Hachiya persimmons when they are still hard will remove the astringency that they are notorious for. 

Okay, enjoy the sunshine will it lasts.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Insect Management in the Four Year Old Apples

Hello folks, been some time since a posting, can only blame it on the usual: working outside, laziness, and doing other things than being on a computer.  One new hobby of mine is art, art in the plastic sense, not in tending fruit.  Yes, I've been dipping into my long unused creative well and trying all kinds of things with watercolors, acrylics, and my favorite, oil pastels.  I've been particularly inspired by Odilion Redon, Schwitters, Klee, and Lee Krasner.  More of the expressionist, abstracty kind of vibe.

Now to the matter at hand.  Codling moth in apples and pears is a major pest problem that you are guaranteed to have.  Check out this Wikipedia site for more great details.  Codling moth is the worm at the center of the apple, which is the larva that has burrowed into the apple after being laid as an egg on the surface of the apple.  In large orchards (1+ acres) the use of pheromone lures is rapidly advancing.  The Pheromone lures essentially make it really hard for the moths to mate, therefore no eggs can be laid on apples which will burrow into the center.  This use of pheromone lures is called mating disruption.  For us small time back yard orchardists, the only guaranteed method of protection is a physical barrier, either sprayed on as in the use of kaolin clay (brand name Surround), or by use of nylon baggies that cover the apple and create a protective barrier. The baggies are fairly easy to use, won't interfere with the ripening of the apple (it will actually prevent sunburn on the fruit), and can be reused unlike paper bags.  The best time to use the baggies is after thinning your apples (when the fruit is the size of a grape).  There are lots of YouTube videos that will show this.  I am having technical difficulties uploading my pictures to this blog, so you will have to venture out on your own..... sorry!

All the best in the spring.

Oregeon Spring Weather

Okay, two years since my last posting... no excuses, I've been playing outside too much.  Oregon spring 2015 is here and it is cool and wet.  After record breaking temps in March, April is starting off where we left off in February.  Alas, most of my trees have bloomed but the Hudson's Golden Gem and Cox's Orange Pippin are in or starting to flower. It will be a tough year for them I believe.

I am planning on posting some coddling moth management pictures next, just figuring out some technical issues with BlogSpot.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tending Fruit: An Urban Fruit Tree Growing Guide Now Available!!

Hello Folks, I am excited to finally offer after a year in the making, Tending Fruit: An Urban Fruit Tree Growing Guide written by yours truly. 

Tending Fruit
An Urban Fruit Tree Growing Guide

 (Sample of Cover Page)

Tending Fruit is geared towards those new to fruit tree growing and live in the Pacific Northwest, but it has basic principles that apply to fruit tree management in any area as well as offering a few surprises!  Now you can have your own copy in two easy ways:  1. An online version or 2. Hard copy.  I know books are slowly going out of fashion, so I can offer to send you a copy via email.  Here's how it will work:

Simply select the form of Tending Fruit you would like to buy above the 'Buy Now' button at right and follow the prompts to pay,  Make sure to include your email address if you are getting a PDF version and your home address if getting a hard copy!  Please allow 1-3 business days for delivery of PDF copies and 7 business days for hard copies.

The book has plenty of pictures, lots of line drawings of tree forms, and covers everything from tree selection to fruit thinning to pest and disease management.  I am excited to offer this work and to hear comments and feedback.  After all, fruit tree growing is a learning process.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It has been some time since my last blog.... no real excuses except time just keeps moving on.  Now is the time of year (Jan.-March in Portland) to plant your new tree!  I prefer buying bear root trees from the nursery as they tend to be more vigorous after planting.  Below is a step by step pictorial guide to planting your bear root tree.  Happy February.

Tree Planting Guide
Have the area in which you plant to plant your tree free of grass and/or mulched the year before you plant

Bare root Tree from Nursery – Buy your tree or have it shipped to you in the winter

With the fruit tree centered in the area of planting, measure the size of the planting hole, generally 2x as wide as the area of the roots

Using a digging fork, excavate the area for the tree hole putting the dirt removed to the sides of the hole

Place the tree in the excavated hole so that the roots spread out naturally to all sides and the graft union is 2-3” above the soil line


Refill the hole with the soil removed, tamping it lightly as you go and keeping the tree as vertical and straight as possible.  Fertilize the planted tree with about a cup of pelleted fertilizer spread evenly around the planting area


Mulch the entire 12’-12’ grass free area about 6-8” deep


Water the tree lightly over the entire planting area until there is standing water

Perform the Initial Pruning Cut of the tree to about 2-2.5’ above the ground

Exceptions to the Rule #1 and #2:


1.    Do not perform initial pruning cut to stone fruits as they are very susceptible to bacterial canker in the winter in the Pacific North West.  Stone fruits are generally precocious and should grow well without the initial pruning.
2.    Do not perform initial pruning cut to a tree grafted with multiple varieties as you could most likely prune out all your grafts!!