Saturday, May 16, 2009

A "Pix-zee" peach

At half-price day at the Friends School plant sale, there were some "Pix Zee" peach trees left. We decided to give it a try. The description notes that "Pix Zee" has "...delicious yellow fleshed, freestone peach with red over orange skin. It is a vigorous tree to 6’. Ripens late June. 500 hours chilling. Self-fruitful." It is genetically dwarfed, so it's great for our small yard. The master gardeners at the sale said they have heard folks in Minnesota who have had fruit from their Pix-zee. We will do some winter protection and see how it goes! I am hoping for fruit, although even if it's just ornamental, it's a cool little tree. (Note the first pic is NOT our tree, but another I found of the tree with fruit!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Three baby apple trees...

We have our apple trees!
Thanks to Steve at Cummins Nursery, we were able to get three 1-year-old dwarf "whips" that we just put in the ground. It will take 2-3 years for them to fruit, but now is the time to start training them. We have Honeycrisp, Elstar, and Zestar apple trees to work with. For anyone loooking to espalier apple trees in their small spaces, I highly recommend Cummins Nursery- they responded to my email right away, walked me through what I needed on the phone, and then shipped the trees within a week. They are able to accommodate small orders like this and were so reasonable!
And they really know their apples. I may get one more... We'll see how these 3 work. They only grow 6-8 feet tall and can be spaced pretty close together, so there may be room for one more tree. They are all starting to bud!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Like my Uncle Joe in Oklahoma needs the rain..."

We talk a lot about the weather in Minnesota. It's an especially popular topic in the office, where the building I work in is the only one that isn't connected to the others by some sort of tunnel or skyway system. The constant question when anyone walks through the door is, "How's the weather?"

Today, when I came in from lunch, my co-worker and I had a familiar exchange:
She: "So, how is it out there?"
Me: "A little chilly still... I wish it would warm up."
She: "Well, at least it isn't raining!"

Hmmm. At least it isn't raining. But wait. I needed that rain yesterday. Or, more accurately, the newly planted strawberries needed it. And chilly... well, the zucchini doesn't like the chill. It needs to warm up darn it! So I can get those tomatoes in the ground. And the cukes... they sure didn't like that wind....
My point: I think I have a new lens on weather.

I think about what the plants like. I wish for what the plants need. Sun? Rain? To hell with my beach plans... what do those beans want? I'm feeling a new bond with the farmers of the world.... "Like Uncle Joe in Oklahoma needs the rain" (from a Faith Hill song called "I Need You" for those non-country fans out there.) Maybe it's a new realization on the importance of the weather on our food. Sure, we all know grapefruits in Florida don't like cold. But I think I'm starting to feel a lot of empathy for those grapefruit farmers. Warm up, damnit! But not too much... it'll fry the lettuce.