Tag Archives: cherries

Fruit Growth and Apple Tree Pests

I’ll start with the good stuff.

Strawberries

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.

Green Strawberries
Green Strawberries

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.

Cherries

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.

Green Cherries
Green Cherries

Grapes

The Valiant grapes are doing very well. Lots of leaves, new shoots and small bunches of grapes.

Grapes
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….

A Growing Apple
A Growing Apple

…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 Black Mystery Beetle
A Black Mystery Beetle

A more serious and definitive threat was found while investigating these warped leaves. They had a white fuzzy appearance and were all rolled up.

Leaf Roller Signs
Leaf Roller Signs

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.

A Leaf Roller Worm
A Leaf Roller Worm

I’ve got several exciting garden projects planned for this week and you, lucky reader, can expect regular updates on everything I do.

 

 

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Cherry Blossoms and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Our cherry tree is in full bloom with lots of pretty white flowers. With any luck we’ll get some cherries this year already. Does anyone have recommendations for cherry tree netting?

Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms

 Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Caroline made Strawberry Rhubarb pie Sunday night with rhubarb from our garden, and strawberries from the store.

Caroline Cutting Rhubarb
Caroline Cutting Rhubarb

I didn’t know you needed to peel rhubarb. But Caroline knew!

Peeling The Rhubarb
Peeling The Rhubarb

We served the pie hot, with real whipped cream on top. Caroline used this recipe from Allrecipes.com.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

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Tomatoes and Peppers Finally Planted

The packages say to plant tomatoes and peppers indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date. Fridley’s average last frost date is about May 21st, so I’m late this year. Better late than never though, and I’m happy to say that my tomatoes and peppers are finally planted. They’ll have about 4.5 weeks inside before transplanting this year instead of the 6, but maybe we’ll get a warm fall that will still give them the needed time to mature.

Planting Tomatoes and Peppers

I picked up a bag of dirt from Home Depot. This year it was Scotts Moisture Advantage. I don’t have a favorite, this one was just one of the cheaper ones in the size I wanted.

Potting Soil
Potting Soil

A few years ago I read on a blog about mixing the dirt with water in a bucket and filling the pots with already damp soil. It seemed like a good idea and so I’ve been using it. The soil being damp makes this less of a messy project for the kids (no dusty dirt on the table) and means I don’t have to water 36 little pots full of water.

The trick is to get the dirt wet enough that it stick together, but not so wet that it drips out the bottom of the pot when you fill it up.

Mix up the dirt with water in a bucket, then fill the cups
Mix up the dirt with water in a bucket, then fill the cups

I used to use the black plastic multi-cell planter pots, but they were pretty flimsy, tore easily and my plants always grew out of the small ones. It was much cheaper to just buy a big pack of party cups and drill a hole through the bottom of them.  You can wash and re-use the cups. They’re not black, so it’s easier to write on them with a sharpie, and they’re a good size for 6-week old tomato and pepper plants.

This year we’re doing more beets, peas and basil, and less tomatoes and peppers. We planted 9 Sweet Million tomatoes, 9 Beefsteak tomatoes, 6 Sweet Banana Peppers, 6 Hot Peppers and 6 California Wonder bell peppers.

Tomato and Pepper Seeds
Tomato and Pepper Seeds

What’s Growing?

The carrots are coming up.

Carrot Hairs!
Carrot Hairs!

Lettuce Lane is our name for the path that goes between the garden and the trees, up to the spigot. On either side we’ve got a 6-8 inch strip of dirt where we fill with lettuce. Here it is popping up already.

Lettuce Lane
Lettuce Lane

The Rhubarb and Chives have awoken from their winter slumber. Hopefully this will be the year I get my strawberry rhubarb pie.

Rhubarb and Chives
Rhubarb and Chives

Lastly, the cherry blossoms have started cracking open. I would love to get cherries this year, but I know it’ll take a few years before this tree really kicks it into gear.

Cheery Cherry Blossoms Popping Out
Cheery Cherry Blossoms Popping Out

Happy Gardening!

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