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HUGE Garden Update!

Quite a tropical year in the garden after a cool and misty start. So this year again the Asian Pears managed to set well and with extra irrigation August through September, gave us a reasonable crop. European Pears that set were fodder for Wasps and other insects through the dry July and August. Apples poor set as temperatures and damp weather kept insects from roaming and pollen from drying out to blow around. Apricots and Plums same fate, Cherries set well and were very sweet.

Everbearing Strawberries were just that, right up to November. Raspberries similar, with last ones picked for Chicken treats up to mid November.

We prune the main shoots of all fruiting trees at the beginning of August, wounds dry quickly and avoid infections. We do this most years to encourage lateral shoot growth, and keep potential fruit reachable from the ground. With the weather this year being prolonged warm weather into late October, this almost 12 wks of growing time has resulted in a doubling of expected extension growth. In the case of Halls Hardy Almond 3′ from spring summer, and 3′ since prune. Photo’s part of fall update.

With Snow season soon reproaching and Rabbits looking for something to ‘snack’ on we have taken the step of enclosing the rear garden with 3′ chicken wire. Last year with trunk guards in place, Rabbits proceeded to ‘enjoy’ every shoot not covered with these guards. Blueberries bushes eaten almost to ground level, Figs eaten down to pot level, Apples and Pears along with all other fruit trees had their lower lateral branches stripped clean of all bud clusters. This occurred mostly over a couple of really snowy days, after which the surface froze enabling the aforesaid pest a comfortable platform to enjoy their feast.

Outside is finally looking as it should for the time of year. Apples and Peaches are the last to shed their leaves. So time now to go and grow inside for the next few months. Thankfully we have a wood boiler, yes carbon friendly.

Yes, our greenhouse is full of plants at this time of year. With such a tropical year everything has really put some growth on. So what better opportunity to prune and shape plants as you bring them in. Citrus should be pruned as any other type of fruiting tree. Remove any damaged or crossing shoots/branches. Extensive vegetative growth shaped to fit space available. Leave fruiting/blossoming branches until after harvest. Always check for any uninvited guests, either mobile or in dormant state.

We have no problem de-heading our Musa. Yes this seem’s drastic, but as you see in the photo’s they grow back shorter and more manageable. This does not usually impair fruiting as flower is initiated as day length increases i.e. after March in second season.

What to do with the stalk when cut off, well first is to use as Chicken food. They eat it down to the ribs in very short order. The remains, thick stalk and ribs can then be composted or as mulch.

Ananas are not pruned, simple as that. Picture here showing the ‘tops’ from the fruit we harvested in wks 33 and 38. One of the fruited plants had a second shoot it now has a well developed fruit which should be ready in March. We have 10 or more plants flowering and fruiting at this time. 2 of which are for sale. They are A. Elite Gold, they were blown over during one of the many blustery days we have had. Only issue are a couple of bent and marked leaves, plants and fruit are just fine. We usually harvest the Pineapples on Saturdays of our Open House. So we trust the crop we have coming on our stock crop will be shared and enjoyed.

We have our second, for this year, harvest of Piper Nigrum drying on the Kitchen windowsill. In about two weeks these will be ready to go in the mill to season our seasonal fare.

So, we mentioned Citrus. Here are a few Pic’s to whet your appetite. Why buy Christmas Tangerines? why not grow your own at home, really low mileage fruit. Variety is Dancy, yes we have it listed. One of the best Citrus at this time of year is Mandarin ‘Shiranui’. Though by the pic’s you will see just a few of the varieties we have fruiting and starting to ripen.

Unfortunately at times animals are killed on our roads, normally these are not touched by ‘pets’. O2 does not even look at this type of event as food but, Turkey Vultures do. These are big birds, so it was quite surprising to see him ‘stalking’ something about three weeks ago on the road. It was only after moving to the side that we saw Vultures on the road. Even more of a surprise to see him at that moment launch himself towards the birds. Just by inches did the nearest one open it’s wings and take off, causing the rest to do the same. What would have happened if he would have caught one only the imagination can surmise. O2 and a Vulture are about the same weight, we do not know what he was thinking. Maybe just showing off.

Bees have been rapped up for the winter, awaiting spring blossoms to start the season. Next step is to start planning what and where to plant for next year. With Catalogues and lists being crossed referenced a great time of year.

Plan to eat local next year, starting from your own garden. Whether in the ground or in containers the choice is totally yours.

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