Early Summer 2017 Garden

22. June 2017 21:32

CornBetween one thing and another, I have not had a lot of time for faceting lately. The garden has been one of those "things" that have kept me occupied elsewhere. Due to the wonderful rain this winter and how late into the spring it continued, more than a couple routine garden chores did not get done as early as usual. Some (such as tying up the trailing blackberries or the third dormant spraying) did not happen at all.  

The winter pruning of the fruit trees did get done eventually. At first, it was like in past years -- removal of obvious problem branches. But then a second pass was made where the focus was on getting the trees shaped better. That resulted in the removal of a lot more wood, and in some cases was that pretty much removed most of the fruiting wood. In the long run, it will be worth sacrificing a year's harvest to get a well-shaped tree for the remainder of its life. And as it turned out, most of the trees still had plenty of flowers and now have lots of developing fruit.

The later rains and seriously windy weeks between them, meant that the fruit thinning did not happen as early as it should have been done. Actually, at the proper time for thinning, the fruits are terribly hard to find in the foliage. And although I thought I removed more than enough of the fruit when I finally got it done, now it looks like only half as much should have been left on most of the trees.

The sweet cherries finally provided more than a few for a snack in the garden. It was much better than I expected. (The local birds did not try to share them!) It appears we will finally get some apricots this year also. And the dwarf mulberry is producing berries. The birds have not attacked those either so I collected enough to make a pint of mulberry jam. The mulberries are tiny -- I guess it goes with it being a dwarf tree. Birds are supposed to like mulberries better than fruit from other trees and the idea is that the mulberry would protect the other fruit. So far that is not working. Maybe I need to have a tree with full sized mulberries? Or maybe the country birds just happen to have different taste than the ones in more suburban areas?

Meanwhile, the blackberries have appeared in abundance. Since the did not get pruned properly over the winter, reaching into the bush to pull out the berries is hazardous -- most have lots of thorns as well. How the deer can munch the parts they can reach through the fence is one of the great mysteries.

The veggies in the raised beds are starting to be productive. The snow peas and snap peas have been producing. The green beans have just started and the zucchini is just about ready. We were doing the sunroom addition last summer and access to the garden was difficult because of the construction. There were a lot of crop failures last year and that was one of the factors. Critters also were a problem. For instance, field mice attacked the corn just as it ripened. The later plantings of carrots and lettuce just did not germinate or were dispatched by the local wildlife was sprouts. Things are so much nicer now. Hopefully the veggies will also be better with a little extra attention.

(See photos of the garden at http://www.vistagrande.com/gallery/album.aspx?aid=198)

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