Nashua Orchard Journal

I really hope I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got budswell and we’re pretty far from being out of the woods re: cold snaps.

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On my father’s side of the family they regarded April Fool’s Day as a date that only fools would plant out crops before. They lived in Ohio for several generations and somewhere up the Hudson in NY before that.

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Quick update on how things are going this year. A groundhog defoliated my mulberry tree, so I had to strip the crop and let it focus on regrowth. One of my beach plum seedlings flowered. Nothing to pollinate it, but I have high hopes for fruit set next year. Strawberries have been going gangbusters! I’ve probably picked close to 10 lbs of mara des bois this season, and they just keep coming!

My Juliet cherry set and held enough cherries this year to get a nice bowlful. I’m thinking next year will be the year I can start making jams and pies.

These are a fair bit darker in person. Probably still a bit off of perfectly ripe, but I’m trying to balance ripeness with not getting cleaned out by birds! @mamuang how are your cherries doing?

The red currant is ripening lots of fruit. Gooseberry and white currant a decent amount. Disappointingly, Willoughby black currant has yet to set any fruit despite great growth and blooming the last two springs. I’ve decided it’s on probation. I thought blackcurrant was typically self-pollinating, but perhaps there are exceptions?


Mara deBois needs to be dark red to be at its peak. Not sure how dark those strawberries were in your pic. Bright red is not enough. They have to be dark red to be great.

We finally put double bird nettings over our Juliet but still caught one bird sneaked in. I hope I could keep Juliet longer on the tree to go as dark as possible. At present, mine look the same color as yours.

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They get a pretty dark red. I found that I was overshooting and ending up in “rotten” rather than ripe. I’ve got it pretty well dialed in now and found that firmness is a better indicator for me. That moment when it goes from firm to having a bit of give, so that the berry becomes quite delicate, that’s the prime spot. A few slightly underripe ones will sneak in, but they still taste better than most of what’s in the store, and help the jam set up!

After 4 years and more rain, my strawberries got gray mold and botrytis. It took a lot of fun out of it.

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Ugh, I hear you on that! I’m also dealing with bortrytis rot. Still getting lots of good strawberries, but it’s hard to stay motivated when it’s wet and a third or so are rotten. :slightly_frowning_face:


Well, after much consideration, I decided to remove my Orangered apricot tree. It got hit really badly with bacterial blight. The disease seems to have slowed down, and the tree was growing well still. But the cracks in the trunk bark were getting worse, and I’m pretty sure next winter or spring would have done it in. I’ll be putting a 20th Century Asian pear in its place.

RIP Orangered.

On more positive note, Random redcurrant is close to being ripe. They are large and juicy, about the size of chickpea. Not very sweet yet, probably due to lack of sunshine. I’ll let them hang for another week or two, or until the birds start getting into them. This photo doesn’t do them justice, even tinkering with the colors a bit.

And figlets are getting started on most of my trees!


Time to pick the currants!

1301 still isn’t producing much, but is picking up a bit. Rondom is starting to really come into its own. Next year I might finally have enough for jam.


Looking back on 4 years of progress. 2019 to today:

Fruit trees out front still aren’t very big, and still a lot of work to do on my various garden plans. But such a big difference!


Looks like after you cut that tree your neighbors trees moved in. There is still plenty of room for more.

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Believe it or not, there’s a persimmon tree in there that should take up most of the front yard, and small blueberry bushes in the “empty” spots in the hedge. I’ve allocated fruit trees and bushes in pretty much every usable chunk of full and partial sun, as well as a few spots that might maybe be full sun in a few years when/if neighbors take certain trees out. I do have plans to continue nibbling away at the lawn with native plants and low-growing fruits.

Yeah, that’s the big downside of our skinny lot that runs north-south. Lots of large trees near the property line, and very little full sun. We actually took out 3 other big trees in the back as well. I’ll have to do a before/after back there as well.

Hazelnuts work great in the near total shade areas. I have a bunch of them doing it now.


First one of the season.


My potted Chinebuli persimmon is flowering for the first time this year! I know there’s still plenty of time left in the season for it to disappoint me, but I didn’t have this one pegged as being the first persimmon tree to (maybe) fruit for me.

And filing this under “it probably won’t work but I’m gonna try anyway,” I’ve potted up a number of black walnut seedlings in fairly small root pruning plugs, about 2.4" wide x 4" deep. I managed to save the cotyledons on a few, but most do not have them. I’m mostly curious to see how they fare growing in those pots for a few weeks or so, and then maybe pot them up if they’re doing well.

Went away for the weekend, and came home to persimmon blossoms, many strawberries, and the first ripe mulberry of the season.

And the raised beds are looking pretty good so far this year.