I’ll start with the good stuff.
We have three strawberry patches, one on either side of the driveway and one along the sidewalk by the house. The patch along the house has been the most productive in previous years, but has reached the end of its life. The plants are still alive, but they’re not producing much. I need to revitalize that patch.
The two patches along the sides of the driveway have never done well. The poor northern patch gets some foot traffic since it’s between our driveway and the house. Only 4 or 5 plants are still alive in that whole strip. I don’t think we’ll try to keep strawberries there again. I need to find something that will hold up to kids occasionally stepping on it.
The southern strip was never a peak performer until now, but this year has been its year to shine. The plants are sending out runners like crazy, there are tons of flowers, and many strawberries have already set. It seems that this is a patch worth working with after all.
The wild strawberries that are planted under the blackberries are spreading fiercely and have lots of little fruits and flowers too. They’ve done a good job keeping the weeds out from the blackberry patch.
The North Start cherry tree we planted just last month already has lots of fast-growing fruits all over it! We are very excited at the prospects of home grown cherries this year already!
If anyone has a suggestion on what kind of bird netting to use, please let me know. From what I can find with online searches, the most effective netting is the ugliest netting. We’ll do it for the cherries, of course, but if someone knows of a good looking, yet effective option tell me soon.
The Valiant grapes are doing very well. Lots of leaves, new shoots and small bunches of grapes.
The Catawba grapes stems are showing less signs of life than the Valiants, but there are buds with leaves starting to open, so I think it’s just taking longer to get started. The tiny little GroFast Concord grapes from Home Depot are doing well. It now has two fence-high stems and several small side branches. I don’t think we’ll get any grapes from it this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we do next year.
Apples and Apple Pests
Our Apple trees have fruited, and the tiny little apples are growing well so far….
…but danger lurks at every turn. Tonight while looking at the apple trees, I saw this black with brown spots, ladybug sized beetle on a leaf. I’m not sure what kind he is, or what his intention are, but the leaf next to him had some holes in it. I’m not saying he’s guilty, I’m just suspicious is all.
A more serious and definitive threat was found while investigating these warped leaves. They had a white fuzzy appearance and were all rolled up.
When I peeled the rolled leaves open, I found this little worm inside. That’s no good. I believe it’s a Red Banded Leaf-roller. This UMN Extension page has several photos. My plan to combat them so far is to 1) Go squish all the ones I can find and 2) Bag my apples this week. Bagging the apples should protect them against other pests too.
I’ve got several exciting garden projects planned for this week and you, lucky reader, can expect regular updates on everything I do.