Category Archives: Articles

These are full articles of general interest, basically anything that’s not a short quip or site business. They should be of a high enough quality to push to external sites.

Cold Nights – Bad for Fruit Trees, Good for Mosquitoes?

Last night it got down to 29 degrees F and stayed there from about 1AM till the sun came up. I know because I was up working until 4, and I kept looking at the weather station my wife got me for Christmas.

As I was reading through the blogs I follow yesterday evening, Mary Schier at My Northern Garden said “The magic number for a freeze is 28 degrees F.  Above that, many crops will be OK; below it, not so much.” and indicated that she was going to be covering her cherry tree. So I covered my apple trees, one of which has blossoms starting to open. I also put the cherry tree in my garage (still haven’t planted it, probably after this cold passes on Thursday) with a work light on near it.

The Haralson Apple Tree Covered with a Tarp
The Haralson Apple Tree Covered with a Tarp

I didn’t want to put a lot of stress on the slender branches that are growing straight up, since they would probably break, so I didn’t just throw the tarps over the top. Instead I wrapped them around the tree, using bungees and rope to secure them. If the tarps were stiff and not secured with bungees, the tarps would form an upside-down cone shape.

The Honeygold Apple Tree Hiding From The Cold
The Honeygold Apple Tree Hiding From The Cold

It’s supposed to get even colder tonight, so if you’ve got flowering plants or other tender things out there, you may want to run out and cover them up. The low is supposed to be 28 tonight, 34 tomorrow (Wednesday) and back up to 46 (as the low) by Thursday.

The upside to this cold snap is that hopefully it will kill off a ton of the gnats and mosquitoes that have been flying around. I would love a less-buggy summer!

Good luck!

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Cherry Tree Purchased, Gopher State One Call Contacted

Bachman’s got their cherry trees in this week, and today I went and bought a North Star cherry tree. We picked the North Star because it’s self pollinating, hardy and it’s on the smaller side with a max hight of 10-15 feet. The cherries are sour, or pie, cherries, dark red and less than an inch in diameter. I personally would’ve preferred something with pink blossoms, but the white blossoms are supposed to be very showy too.

Buying a Cherry Tree

The tree we got is about 6 feet tall and appeared healthy. It cost $54.99 + tax  ($58.91 total) and came with a one year one-time exchange warranty. I chose the one at Bachman’s because it looked the healthiest, it was the biggest and I feel that they probably take the best care of their plants. Bachman’s staff is always knowledgeable with whatever questions I bring to them, and they seem to really enjoy caring for their plants. I’m hoping that that care translates into a tree that is more likely to thrive.

Home Depot had smaller trees that would’ve been good if Bachman’s hadn’t had any. Home Depot’s North Star cherry trees were smaller and bushier with just as many branches as in this photo, but with a shorter trunk, standing at about 4-5 feet tall. Home Depot’s trees look in decent shape and cost $35.

Walmart also had North Star cherry trees, for $25-ish. The Walmart trees looked pretty sad. The probably would’ve survived too, but I’m guessing they would’ve needed an extra season to recover from the lack of love.

The North Star Cherry Tree takes up temporary residence next to our garage
The North Star Cherry Tree takes up temporary residence next to our garage

 

Call Before You Dig (Maybe)

If you are going to be digging with a machine in Minnesota, you must contact Gopher State One Call before you start. You can call or submit a request online, and they will come mark your property within two business days. They will mark underground utility paths, including gas and electric so you can avoid dangerous situations, fines etc.

If you are digging by hand, then contacting One Call is optional. We didn’t call a few years ago when we put in our apple trees, because they’re in the backyard and we were sure that there were no lines running underground back there.

From the website linked above:

GSOC also advises you that although hand tools are exempt from the requirement to contact GSOC before you dig, in some circumstances it may be safer for you to have underground facilities marked when using hand tools. Hand tools may pose a threat to you, others and underground facilities. Therefore, contact GSOC and submit an excavation request any time you are unsure of the location of underground facilities or where the nature of your work may put them in danger.

Last year when we remodeled our basement we had our gas meter moved from the basement to the outside. During that process the patchy area between the stump and my house was dug up by the gas company.

The gas company dug up the patchy area to the right of the stump
The gas company dug up the patchy area to the right of the stump

I am planning on planting the cherry tree just behind the stump. It would be extremely disappointing if gas repairs were required a few years from now and the cherry tree had to be removed. And of course there’s the whole hitting a gas line while digging thing. In order to avoid either of those situations I contacted Gopher State One Call today. They should come by Tuesday and mark where the gas and any other lines are located and I’ll plant the tree in the place that is least likely to interfere with the utilities.

If all goes according to plan, we’ll have the cherry tree planted in its new home by Tuesday night!

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Planting 2012, Round One

I did it! I started planting. I put in the peas, onions, carrots, spinach, lettuce, corn and beets. I put them in on Wednesday (the 4th) but I just haven’t had a chance to write it up.

Calvin planting peas
Calvin planting peas

Calvin, my almost 4-year-old was my helper buddy. He was very deliberate with planting, and put the seeds just as far apart as I told him to. With the beets he would just take 2 seeds from the tin at a time. He was excited to be helping because he had taken a nap, and got to stay up later than his older brother.

My happy helper
My happy helper

While we were planting I noticed that our apple trees are budding. I have high hopes for our apple trees this year. This will be their 3rd summer and the general consensus is that they take till their third year to start producing. We had a couple apples their first year, but nothing substantial. Last year the birds ate all the flowers. This year we’re not putting out bird seed in the feeder till the apples have set and have been bagged for protection. With the extra care and a little bit of luck I think we’ll have a decent crop.

Apple buds starting to come out
Apple buds starting to come out

Happy gardening!

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