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If I can make it through tornado season...
Hopefully, strong winds will become less and less a threat to our fruit trees as spring moves into summer. It has really been an amazing year so far, and the tactics I used to guarantee the pollination of my fruit actually worked even though bees were scarce to be found. As I mentioned in a previous blog, false summer left the fruit trees blooming right before a cold snap hit and began frosting everything. The bees were dormant or dead, and I had to manually approach each tree's blossoms with a swirl of an artist's paintbrush. This was experimental, I had never done it before, but my efforts, as it turns out, were not in vain...
Little Plums, Partially pollinated by bees and me... ( photo / image / picture from SevenTooMany's Garden )
Cherries, this could be an interesting year... ( photo / image / picture from SevenTooMany's Garden )
It turns out the small cherry trees we have are trees that have been grafted onto rootstock. The particular cherry tree seen above has grafts of 5 different kinds of cherries onto one rootstock. I made sure to cross-pollinate from one graft to another since I have an idea that most cherries are not self-pollinating.
Peaches - And an anomally - A double peach. ( photo / image / picture from SevenTooMany's Garden )
As far as new trees go, it really is best to buy from a local nursery if you can. This year we took a little risk and purchased some fruit trees from the internet. Gurney's seed and nursery is about a state away and twigs abandoned of all dirt on their roots arrived in a four foot tall box via UPS. We ordered trees that were grafted onto dwarf rootstocks, and it is amazing to see that they are thriving. We ordered one Honeycrisp Apple, one Stanley Plum, and one Dogwood (The dogwood isn't grafted and it's just a tiny twig - we hope the Dogwood makes it).
Dwarf Honeycrisp Apple, doing surprisingly well considering... ( photo / image / picture from SevenTooMany's Garden )
Dwarf Stanley Plum - Come on, grow, grow ( photo / image / picture from SevenTooMany's Garden )
So, to recap, the established fruit trees are actually growing fruit thanks in part to my paranoia about there not being enough bees and hand-pollinating them. And the internet trees are actually alive and growing which seems like a miracle to me. The sorry, lifeless appearance they had when they first arrived had me wondering if they still had any life-spark inside them. Overall, we're pretty pleased with what we've got going, but we have a long season of growth and interest ahead of us.
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