Friday, November 20, 2009

bare root team for 2010

you win some and you lose some. i had seven trees die this year. because they were purchased in january 2009 and i planted with ammend - fyn - guarantees them for failure. so here are the replacements i will be getting:

heavenly white
arctic blaze
arctic queen
arctic star

spice-zee nectaplum
tri-lite peachplum

new players for the 2010 orchard team are:

nectarine - z-glow and goldmine
cherry - mimi royal, royal lee, stella, lambert, montmorency
asian pear - shinko, hosui
blueberry - oneil, misty, bluecrop, blueray, ozark, reveille

most of the holes are dug, but i have some topsoil to move out of the way - to dig others, i need to extend the drip to cover the new trees and blueberries and i also need to noodle on a solution that keeps the bluejays from eating my blueberries.

i have just about filled up the garden and i still have grapes and raspberries and blackberries that i need to have. so at the other end of the yard - a few years down the road, we will see another garden area to house these vines. now, if i could only have time AND money at the same time to get this done faster.

a new discovery results in a new tree...

i ordered my bare root plants from the front yard nursery a few weeks ago. while i ordered some replacement trees that died over the past year - i am particularly excited about 2 of my selections - an asian pear (my first) and the start of my blueberry patch (another post).

since i became aware of asian pears about 20 years ago - i was unimpressed with the texture and flavor. i dont know what varieties they were, but chances are they werent ripened nor picked at their peak. i continued to be unimpressed, that is until a few months ago.

the company i work for has started to offer free fruit to employees (in an effort to improve eating habits and health, and lets just say it hasnt helped my waist line any). this fall, an asian pear caught my eye - it was about the size of a pippin apple and had russetted skin. i thought i would give it a shot - worst case, it would end up in the trash. but much to my surprise, this fruit was fantastic and really changed my attitude toward asian pears - i was eating 2-3 a day, they were just freakin' awesome. it took me a few weeks to get ahold of a box they came in - but i found the name, it was hosui. they are juicy (very juicy - in fact hosui translates from japanses as 'with water'), with a nice crunchy texture and its flavor is very similar to bartlett. it was awesome - so awesome, that i will now have a hosui pear tree in my orchard. the hosui will be joined by a pollinator - shinko - both will be my first foray into espalier fruit trees.

the front yard through the years

although i work for a high tech company, i am a late adaptor for many things high tech at my house. for example, we just went high speed wireless at the house, up until now it was a 56k modem. also, i just havent gone full digital photography, the pictures posted to this blog entry actually span 4 years and i can post them here - not because i am supremely organized and have these digital photos stored on raid 5 protected disk arrays - i can do it because they are all on the same sd card that came with this camera when i bought it when my second son was born - in 2001.

in fact , for normal family snapshots, the wife and i still do the old school 35mm film and get it developed - with duplicates - at costco. we have boxes of pictures - and when i found out that costco no longer sells film (they will develop it) it made me wonder if we should go all digital. well, time will tell, but back to the point of this post.

picture #1: we go into the way-back machine to 2006 when i started building the front yard. as you can see we have piles of dirt and partially built keystone walls.

picture #2: late fall 2007 - the front yard is mostly in and we see the first fall for the october glory maples. i really worked to get 4 season color and i get a hint of what might be in the works.

picture #3: spring 2008 - the crab apples are in bloom and if you look real close, up the staircase, you can see hints of the crimson pointe flowering plums in bloom. these are great eating plums, fantastic spring color and a real space saving tree.

picture #4: christmas 2008 - not much to show for color here, but you can see how big the trees grew since fall 2007.

picture #5: fall 2009 - the maples have really exploded and their color continues to improve year over year. these trees are growing 18-24 inches a year, i planted them to also provide summer shade, as my house faces due west and just bakes during the summer.

these year over year photos, from the near same angle, really gives a good idea how the landscape as evolved, particularly, the maples and how fast they grow. only downside to the great fall color - is picking up that color when it hits the ground.