What are the apple fruit growers’ plans for the upcoming season? Myself, I’m looking at a late February to mid-March timeframe for some needed orchard pruning. I’m also looking at doing some cleft, rind, or bark grafting in the nursery and some over-grafting on the failed ( diseased ) scions on an over grafted 9-year-old MacFree apple tree.
Hopefully I get my first fruit in my 3 years with some of my current fruit trees. Last year they flowered but a late frost killed the flowers. Planting some miniature peaches and nectarines, seaberry, romance series bushes and a fair amount of trees.
This is one of the reasons I love the hardy haskaps. Here it is not uncommon for them to get hit with a frost and be covered in snow while flowering and they just don’t care.
Two years ago I was moving a large haskap somebody gave me (they were clearing a path on their orchard, an entire row of large haskaps had to go). The haskap was already leafing out strong which would make you think that I waited too long for the move but the problem was that haskaps do not wait for things to warm up. About 60% of the root system was still encased in a slab of frozen soil.
Shouldn’t these threads be combined.
Anyway, I have been at this lot 18 years this March. I always do a large pumpkin patch (about 600sq feet for pumpkins) and invite all the neighborhood kids to pick Jackolanterns. Tomatoes, cucumbers, zukes, and carrots mainly in the raised beds. My kids never eat the beets. They are more fruit eaters. Plan to do some onions and garlic too. And I also have an 10 yr old asparagus patch behind the raised bed, those ferns can get huge. Asparagus is my favorite veggie. Then I top off the raised beds with a couple of my own cannabis crosses.
I fill every crack of soil between plants with strawberries. It’s my favorite cover crop. I till in the big mamas every spring and keep the lil older plants and runners. I still Cannot grow enough to satiate my children. I sometime wonder if they are going to turn into strawberries.
I am blessed with an original to my home 1980 blueberry grove. It was planted in the flood plane of a small creek that bisects my lot. I wish it had something to do with me; I just enjoy the planting of those before me. They are big and ancient for blueberries. Plenty to freely share with the birds and neighbors as it always surprises me the productivity of those plants. Honestly it is what attracted me to this lot in the first place.
My raspberry grove is 5 years old this season and really put out last year. It’s a blend of red, gold, and black raspberries all growing in the bank of my creek where it exits my lot. To prevent erosion. Raspberries are great at binding loose soil. They seem to really like to fruit there as well.
My lot also came with an old pear tree I suspect was also planted in 1980. It does ok fruiting sweet firm pears. No idea what kind. I would eat 10 apples to 1 pear. But my son likes the pears so it lives.
6 years ago my first tree I planted was a Costco quad graft cherry tree. It shines and is very productive. Fresh cherries is probably my favorite fruit. I lucked out and the cherries seem to ripen consecutively from earliest to latest. Not all at once like my friends tree. Two years later I planted a Costco 4 graft apple tree. One graft died (honeycrisp) so I have to find a scion of that to reattach.
Then I noticed my kids eat a lot of peaches. So I went peach crazy. The same year as the apple tree I ordered 7 different curl resistant peaches and 4 curl resistant nectarines. The baby trees came delivered the next spring. I have high hopes for peach tasting dreams this year. Oh, and for fun I ordered a cosmic crisp apple tree along with the peaches. Why not? The peaches are 4 years old now this spring.
Then my wife said I was crazy and no more trees. (She is more a book worm than a gardener. Nobody is perfect). So I had to sneak in a few trees last year. Like on “double secret probation”. Ha. I got currants, a pineapple guava, Pakistani mullberry, an arborquina olive, and an interlaken grape. Psst, don’t tell my wife. I am good at “I don’t know where that plant came from honey.”
Then this winter I caught a fever really bad. Paw paw fever. I convinced my wife to let me get a couple trees for Christmas. I got a mango and KSU Shenandoah. Then I met a fellow grower in woodinville Wa that had 2 Rebecca’s gold trees that are 20 years old. She gave me 4 2year seedlings and 20 seeds to try myself. I cannot wait for these to grow like all you know. The anticipation anyway. Heck I feel it’s sometimes about the fruit journey than the destination. TBH. And meeting like minded friends has been a blast. Instant common ground no matter how different we are. Plants do that. Sorry for the ramble but I am a stream of consciousness English professor’s worst nightmare.
Moving along, this spring I have a pluerry coming because they sound like heaven. And a replacement for one of my peaches. I lost my Indian free peach so I am giving it another go. It never leafed out after last winter.
I almost forgot about my kiwis. Same year I planted my cherry tree I put in a male and female fuzzy kiwi. They did ok and were starting to set kiwis. But 2 years ago I moved them to pour a slab for a greenhouse. Now I have them climbing some small cottonwoods on the edge of a green belt (not mine) but no one cares. It’s wild there. Roots on my lot vines growing over. It really set them back. They almost died.
The greenhouse is for my citrus. I have a poured slab and footings, and a donated intact 8 foot high greenhouse from an old college roomie that moved out of state. He could not take it with him. But I want to raise it up on a 4’ foundation wall to make it 12’ tall. So I have to wait till the summer to make it happen. I have a key lime, meyers lemon, and a cutie orange. And a 4yr old blue Java banana. They all spend Halloween till march in my garage under led grow lights. It’s their last year there hopefully. That’s all I can think of for now anyway. Happy growing.
That’s Definitely lots of plans in the near future for you. May all your ambitions for the coming growing season come to life. God Bless.
I put in a bunch of berries/fruiting shrubs last year along with four trees, so I’m hoping they made it through the winter.
I’ve got several northern highbush blueberries (Chandler, Razz, Cabernet Splash, Bonus) and two rabbiteyes (Florida Rose and Pink Lemonade) and the Blizzard/Beauty/Beast and Strawberry Sensation haskaps. I think other than the Florida Rose and Haskaps, which were really small/young when planted, the rest will fruit this year (assuming survival).
I put in day neutral/everbearing strawberries, Anne and Double Gold raspberries. I got some berries off the Anne raspberries; the strawberries fruited, but I didn’t net them, so I didn’t eat any.
My front yard got Honeywood and Blanka currants which went dormant shortly after planting. Welcome and Amish gooseberries went in as well and had some fruit on them when they arrived.
The trees are a Pink Lady which has flower buds on it, so maybe fruit this year? I put in a Li jujube, Honeysweet euro pear, Early Fuyu, and Ichi Kei Jiro persimmon which didn’t have time to leaf out as they went in really late. Hopefully, those will wake up in the Spring.
This year I’m planting almost a dozen fruit trees (a couple apples, asian pears, euro and asian plums/pluots, and an aprium. So I’ll be digging lots of holes and making fences.
I’m in the midst of planning and dreaming as always this time of year. This year I’m focusing on maintaining and improving existing trees. I’ve got quite a few leaners in the orchard that I’m going to try and get more erect. I’m going to try and do some better scaffold and lateral placement using spacers and weights. I’ve got some stubs that need removing and general pruning cleanup.
I’ve come to realize that my random Frankentree grafting is out of control. I’m trying to commit to three or four main varieties per tree with removal or better placement of undesired grafts. I’m picking something like three trees as locations for particular grafting like limbertwigs, russets, red fleshed. For example, russets on these three trees but not randomly all over the place. This winter I’ve gone through and tried to pick out relocation for many grafts and placement for some new ones. I’m paying more attention to tree resistance, vigor, flowering group, etc than when I have walked out with a bunch of scions and wandered aimlessly around. Also bad placement of grafts has caused me to give more consideration to positioning.
I did some serious summer pruning and I’m eager to see the results of the same. Part of this was a focus on shortening laterals to encourage earlier fruiting and stiffer branches. This was prompted by watching some interesting and entertaining Orin Martin videos.
Last fall I moved some of my Bud9 bench grafts to espaliers and a couple of three in one placements. They are pretty small and I’m hoping for some good growth there.
I’ve jumped into creating a raised and mulched blubbery and blackberry bed. I’m hoping to improve my existing trellis and work on a netting solution.
I’m in the process of getting some late frost sprinklers put together using high angle wobbler sprayers. I’ve tried throwing on blankets and dragging out the propane heaters and smudge pots to no avail. I don’t really expect great results but somehow I feel better at least trying.
I’ve had some serious family challenges that have forced me to slow down but my heart and my mind are always in the gardening game. I take much inspiration and encouragement from friends and fellow growers on this forum. I look forward to a good year!
I have tried frost blankets. I used to have a lot of them a year or 2 ago. The issues I found with them is the trees/bushes pierce holes in the cloth, they tend to blow off and they blow away into the neighborhood to never be seen again. As my trees and bushes have gotten bigger over the years I have found it more of a struggle to put the cloth on if I can reach them at all as well. I have just learned that either they go into the garage for warmer temps and have to stay in pots and be small or they survive outside on their own.
I hope I have a decent Asian pear for a change, I now have 6-7 varieties. Just hoping for one to fruit.
Maybe I’ll come back and read this for inspiration. Off the top of my head:
- Transplant grafted plum sucker
- Clear more hillside for planting out trees
- graft Larry Feijoa to Mammoth again (get scionwood from Larry)
- transplant Shangjuan Lemon
- Graft several European Plums existing stocks.
- Get Flavor Grenad going on its own tree (force buds, or graft dormant wood)
- Graft pollenizer into Coffeecake canopy
- Graft superior goumi variety to Autumn Olive that never fruits
- Graft mulberry variety to root sucker on Pakistan
- Graft mulberry varieties to root cuttings from pakistan
- Remove Kandil Synap, Hudson’s golden Gem, and most or all of Bramley’s and graft better performing apples
- Find level space for large steel shelter - better store tractor implements, mower, wheelbarrows, etc
- mulch weeds in orchard enclosure and setup irrigation
- Get Adara established to grow more wood. Graft plum to sweet cherry.
- Graft Api Etoile and Joanie’s Gravenstein and Baldwin to own trees
- Bag Rubinette apples on espalier
- Height Reduce H118, grow open, high fruits don’t get picked.
I’ve been wanting to add the Api Etoile to my own collection as well. Did you obtain it via a fruit exchange group or some other route?
I guess I left out some steps in my list, like “obtain Api Etoile scions”.
The Temperate Orchard Conservancy lists it, as does fellow member from Slate Hill Edible Forest who posted that they are beginning to offer scion wood this year. I believe both ship in March at this point.
Thanks Richard, so you are saying the patent has probably expired?
I’m on ‘that bandwagon’ as well!
And so I have started cutting off many of my former grafts - farther back towards the trunks of the trees . . . and regrafting with my more successful varieties. As a Newbie Grafter - I went nuts with trying lots of different apples . . . and with the FUN of it all ! I didn’t know where to place my grafts - and put them too far out on branches. Now, I’m playing the ‘Fix It Game’ and I am slowly trying to reduce the number of varieties - and create individual scaffolds of one variety - keeping them on their own scaffold branch and in the same ‘area’ of the tree.
My plans for 2023 will be mostly directed toward increasing the number of grafts of varieties we really like - and which do well in my area. I’ll cut scions from my previous grafts, growing on my own trees and graft them to my other trees - with the idea of preserving the varieties which work for us.
Thoughts About Lessons Learned - and My Plans for 2023 - and Beyond.
Gardening and raising fruit trees has provided one of the best ‘Life Lesson’ opportunities, in my opinion. For instance . . .
I have gotten to the ‘stage of life’ where I need to pay attention to my ‘limitations’ - and plan accordingly. I can’t afford to keep ‘difficult’ plants, trees . . . or people, for that matter . . . in my life - that suck time and energy, keep me ‘running in circles’ - and give little in return. !
Life is indeed - SHORT . . . and every opportunity that presents itself - does not need to be taken. I have learned that it is important to protect my energy (and my heart) . . . for the ones that really matter.
Sounds like you are doing awesome in your quest to master this. We can read a lot about a subject and gain tons of “book knowledge” about it. We can then get good at the mechanics of it, making successful grafts and even using different grafting techniques. But the sort of experience that brings a deeper understanding, where your actions become fluid and intuitive, well you need to do a lot of stumbling around to get there.
I believe the intent of the two threads was for this one to be fruit related and the other to relate to vegetable and ornamental gardens / beds, thus the placement of the topics under General Fruit vs General Gardening.
This year will be my grafting year, we will see if I will be successful. Hoping for at least one to take. Low bar I know, but I’m a newbie.
Cleft or a bark graft’s on existing trees when the bark is slipping are two of the easiest ways to get good results. Just remember cambium to cambium and clean straight cuts will further improve your overall success rate.