Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Jan 22nd, 2012 - Apple Trees and RAIN!

We finally got some rain this weekend! Everyone is excited because it is the first measurable rain since about Thanksgiving.. one of the driest winters in over a 100 years.
I am also excited because my orange trees are almost ripe... still a ting of tart to them. They had a rough winter with it being so cold and not much rain so the crop is probably not going to be the best that it could be. My not being there is an issue as well. When it gets below freezing you are supposed to water well and try and keep the trees warm.. but mine just have to survive on their own. Here are some pictures:
Del Oro Grapefruit - So sour it makes you sweat one of my friends says.. and that is a good thing.

Orange on tree
2 Test Oranges - one from each tree

See that thick rind? That is from the cold. They are juicy and just need a bit more time to finish sweetening up

My tough little bush is getting ready to bloom, still no idea what it is.

And the other big garden news is that my apple trees finally made it in.. thankfully I had dug out their holes back on New Years Day and with the rain, I was able to get them in the ground pretty easily. They are not pretty but I am just in love with them!
This is the nursery in Burson where I buy my plants.

All 3 trees - not much to look at now.
My Arkansas Black tree in the ground - bare root are the cheapest and easiest to plant.

Western Mountain Bluebird
The bluebirds are back in huge numbers and it made my day hanging out in the yard with them. They are pretty bold for a songbird and will let you get within 20 feet. The zoom on my camera is not working so great anymore, so hopefully you can see him.  I want to get one of those new Nikon J1 cameras but they are a lot of money! I  have never taken so many pictures in my life as I have at this house. There is something every day I want to take a picture of and remember later.
A funny story about the apples happened on Friday- A dear friend of mine at work wanted advice about buying an apple tree, it was something like "you grow a lot of plants don't you?" question. Her mom has been wanting a Fuji apple tree for a long time and she was going to go get one for her this week. I tried to explain that since she lives in San Francisco, I am not sure they get enough hours of cold weather to chill the apple tree. She didn't know they needed the cold weather to set fruit. I gave her the name of a good nursery in San Jose and told her to go talk to them. "Tell them you need a low chill time, self-fruitful tree" was my advice. Then she said her mom would only buy the tree if she could taste the apples to see if they were good. I am busting my sides laughing right now as I explained that apple trees are mainly sold bare-root style, so they all look like twigs. And they will take 2 years or more before they start bearing a lot of apples... Her mother is so inpatient she throws out orchids after they bloom because she won't wait for the 6 months or so to have them re-bloom. My best advice to her was to get a dwarf, patio orange or lemon tree instead and buy her apples from the farmer's market. They are in fruit now and they are easy to care for... we will see what happens. I am always amazed at people who didn't grow up gardening like I did. I have very early memories of planting seeds in pots and my dad throwing them out because he thought they were weeds!


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