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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fruit Trees and other Stuff

Yay me! I stumbled across a great deal on fruit trees this weekend and ended up with a Honeycrisp Apple and also a peach tree. The peach is self pollinating - good thing, since I don't know of any other peach trees by my house. The apple needs a cross pollinator, but my next door neighbor has an apple and I'm sure there are others in the vicinity. With any luck I'll be harvesting my own apples, peaches and cherries in the next couple of years.

We had a windstorm with gusts to 68 mph last week. I got up early and went to Lowes and on my way saw a number of downed trees including one giant cottonwood that came up roots and all and somehow managed to miss the house it was next to. It did however take out the fence and the phone, electric and cable lines. Half the town was without power all morning. I was very pleased that I didn't have large trees and hadn't lost anything. Turns out, I'm not that observant. As I pulled into my driveway I saw that my wisteria was hanging half into the yard, having pulled it's trellis right off the side of the house, shattering it into pieces. Crap. Anthonys sister, being sentimental as she is, said "Cut it down!". My mother also suggested I cut it down. I have news for you people. Wisteria are juvenile until they are about 8 years old. Mine is 6 years old and produced a flower for the first time last year. I have been waiting 6 YEARS for this thing to bloom - I am NOT cutting it down and starting over. So, my neighbor volunteered to help me build an arbor for it, give it a little more support and hopefully prevent another catastrophe.

So, having solved that problem, I went into the house and had a clear view of my backyard from the front door. Sigh. I have climbing roses at intervals along the back fence. Ten feet of climbing rose came down, trellis and all. That one I will just cut off at the ground. By mid summer next year you won't be able to tell at all. We're supposed to have high winds again tonight and the arbor isn't done yet for the wisteria. Believe it or not I have every intention of bungee-cording that sucker to the fence to prevent it from hurting itself.

I grew a fabulous crop of mosquitos in my side garden. They're like birds. You can actually feel them land on you. I hadn't noticed a bucket filling with water whenever I turned on the sprinklers. So now it's a feeding frenzy when I go over to work on the side yard.

The one thing that I thought for sure I'd get a bumper crop of was the tomatoes. Alas, they have blossom end rot. Unfortunately, that is my fault, as it is caused by irregular watering. If I'm a good girl and water appropriately and religiously, I may be able to pull this one out, as only a few tomatoes have been stricken at this point.

My bell peppers are just now flowering. Very late. The melons quit growing. The zuchinni and the pumpkins have been taken hostage by squash bugs. My onions are gone. I don't know where they went. I know where I planted them, but they are not there anymore. Weird. That's the second batch that's gone missing this year. I got some really weird deformed cucumbers. They're like art. I have five volunteer Roma Tomato plants in the wrong garden. I didn't put them there. The green beans look great - they are starting to flower. So apparently, we will have beans this year. Just beans. Oh - and oddly enough, my lilacs are preparing for a second bloom, which I've never seen them do. What an odd summer.

What I have learned this year:

-Start growing my own plants early indoors. Do not wait for the nursery to get them in.

-Put the plants out early, regardless of the weather. Protect them from the elements with floating row covers and/or Wall-o-Waters.

-Square foot gardening grows square feet of weeds. I repeat, does not cut down on weeds. At all. I don't care what the book says.

-Quit growing squash. The bugs freak me out.

-Hire small children to pick the raspberries.

-Cover the entire yard from fence to roofline with mesh or accept that the birds will get into the fruit. I'd rather they ate the squash bugs.

Sadly, I have accepted the fact that if I had to rely on myself to produce the food for our table, we would all starve. I don't consider it a complete failure. I did learn from my mistakes and I'm already formulating my plan of attack for next spring. This year, I'm still going to do fall crops of lettuce and peas and get some garlic in for next year. And I am still planning to make and can apple butter this fall and also practice making home made bread. I'd really like to try to can up some peaches before the season is over, too, but I don't know if I'll get around to it. Time is running out.

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