The rain finally arrived and we are grateful as the entire garden sighs with relief! This week finds us pruning roses and fruit trees, looking for the perfect new fruit trees to add to the chicken yard. Soon we will be putting the artichoke plants in the ground, too! It’s hard to get outside and do these winter projects when I’d rather be sitting with a good book all snuggled up in the warm house with the smell of freshly baked muffins. To take advantage of these, join the weekly bulletin and order some for yourself to enjoy!
Later, though, I will be glad that I got off my butt and enjoyed some fresh air in the garden. Hopefully, the new sprouting box will be finished next week – this is Ofer’s winter project – so that Ofer can start planting the seeds that we want for planting in the spring. We are hoping to get an earlier start than usual this year. We’ll see if that works out.
This weekend the weather was lovely again and we brought home our new fruit trees and got out in the garden for a day of work. Ofer and I started with pruning the trees in the orchard that needed winter pruning. Winter is not a good time to prune your citrus trees, so those we left alone. Ofer gave me some instructions and I was pleased to learn that the pruning is reminiscent of pruning roses and found that it is easier than I thought it would be.
The prune plum, fuji apple, persimmon, peaches and figs are all much happier after some pruning. It is amazing to feel the lightness and joy emanating from the trees after a good pruning! The apple is especially pleased to be straightened out and ready to stand tall and strong.
Next we planted our new trees – persimmon, snow queen nectarines and bing cherries. It takes a few years for them to produce much fruit, but the wait is worth it! The trees are about a year old when you buy them, so it’s already shorter than it seems. We prefer the bare root trees over the older, more expensive potted ones.
Find a place with sufficient sun for fruit trees. Citrus need some protection if you get frost so be careful of that. Then dig a big hole. It helps to have two manly men around to do that for you! And plenty of chickens to direct.
Make sure when you put in the tree that you leave the bulb at the top of the roots above ground. Don’t add fertilizer at this point because the tree is still dormant and doesn’t have any use for the extra food. Do give it lots of water though if it isn’t raining. We like to put posts around the trees to keep them straight as they grow. We learned to do this the hard way and that’s why we are now straightening up the apple tree (see above). Best to do it from the start!
Since we are planting in the chicken yard, we have added bricks around the outer perimeter of the trees to protect them from digging chickens. Now, hopefully, the rain will return to soak our new trees!