You’ll remember that 2½ years ago, Will cleared off our wanna-be orchard of stumps, logs, and rocks, helping me fence it to keep out the deer. Then, two years ago, we planted lots of apple, pear, and cherry trees in it, to accompany the five trees already struggling there. Well, now those trees are way over my head and a few are starting to bear even though they are all standard trees. We’ve found that dwarf and semi-dwarfing rootstock is not hardy enough to withstand the bitter winters we have here. Even those trees that do survive often have one heck of a time bearing consistently. With lots of care, wrapping the trunks with screen to prevent mouse and vole damage in the winter, and tons of rotted manure mulch, those trees are rewarding us.
Out of the 20 or so apple trees, we have five with apples set on them! And the others are growing like weeds. Our cherries are doing well, although only one has a total of three cherries on it. Oh well…next year! The Hansen’s bush cherries are wonderful. They are getting large, bushy, and very productive with finger-tip-sized cherries all up and down the branches. Last year, the chickens ate them, as they range in the orchard. But this year I’ve fenced them out of that spot so we should have cherries for us.
I just put up our first peppers — five ½-pints of pickled pepper rings (hot hungarian banana and jalapeno). We have LOTS more coming on. Those peppers love our hoop house! — Jackie