Missed chatting with you over these past couple of months. Well, we’re obviously well into the beginning of a new year and I am just now playing “catch-up” with my blog writing. December, January and February are such busy months for hubby and I, as we tend to our annual fruit tree orchard tasks. As for my weird health “thing”, I’ve had a lot more energy lately and less “breathing” issues. The severity has seemed to subside a bit as well. Please keep praying for me and let these past several weeks be a positive trend to recovery. Hope all of you have gotten off to a great start this year as well.
Around these parts, or at least on the Asher homestead, the start of a new year always brings with it much anticipation and excitement as a new fruit season approaches. Just the thought of fresh, sweet and delectably delish’ sun warmed fruit makes me want to do a happy dance. Knowing that it is chemical/pesticide free, grown in nutrient rich soil, and was grown right in my own backyard (and front yard) makes we want to, well… twirl incessantly with arms held high reaching up to the sky! Excuse the momentary giddiness – too much fruit sugar in my thoughts 🙂
This is our third growing season and we expect to see fruit from most, if not all, of our fruit trees. In preparation for our orchard’s generous abundance, I’ve been reading thru recipe and canning books in an attempt to plan ahead for our sun-kissed treasures. I plan to use an entire arsenal of food storage and preparation tools… canning, freezing, drying, juicing, baking, cooking, and of course, fresh eating and sharing. I even created a calendar documenting harvest times for all of my fruit trees to with the planing. Believe me when I say there’s lots to plan for when you have apples, figs, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries, pluots, pomegranates, almonds, and asian pears to look forward to. 🙂
Along with the “sweet” rewards of managing an orchard on our 1/2 acre lot, is a fairly lengthy “honey-do” list for both hubby and I. The list gets even longer when new fruit tree arrivals are expected into the orchard, which of course, we ordered more back in September. How does the saying go? “One can never have enough time, money or… fruit trees”. Well, you get the jist.
Our New Arrival List
All of our new fruit trees are Dave Wilson bare root fruit trees. These are absolutely the best and set the standard for fruit tree quality (not bad for ‘free’ publicity). Be sure to check them out! If you’re wondering about the differences between container (potted) fruit trees and bare root fruit trees and which ones would work best in your garden, check out my post.
- Gold Kist Apricot (replace our Blenheim Apricot)
- May Pride Peach (replace our multi-peach tree)
- Flavor Delight Pluot (new)
- Flavor Supreme Pluot (new)
- Spice Zee Nectaplum (new)
In addition to our new fruit trees, we are also planting blueberries! Southern Highbush blueberries (low chill).
Blueberries in the desert? You betcha!
As of today, hubby has finished building the raised bed (4′ x 9′) for our new blueberry bushes and is in the process of getting the bed prepared for planting. Hopefully, this will take place this weekend as long as the weather cooperates. I’ll be sure to share the ins and outs of building and preparing a planter for blueberries in the near future.
Other Happenings on the Asher Homestead
Not everything has been “perfect” in the orchard this past winter. In addition to our many successes, we’ve had a couple of failures. Despite our best efforts, we lost our Meyer Lemon (planted last Spring) and we’re uncertain if our Mandarin Tangerine will make it (it’s looking pretty beat up) 😦
The main reason for our failure? We were unprepared for the coldest winter we’ve had here in Las Vegas, NV for some time. Citrus are very cold sensitive and we placed our frost blankets on our baby citrus trees just a little too late. All it took was one wicked night of cold and that’s all she wrote. We kept them watered and covered with the blankets for several weeks, but it just wasn’t enough to make a difference. We will be replacing them, but it may need to wait until next Spring. More research is needed so our chances of success are better. Some ideas we’re kicking around are: 1) check weather more frequently (duh!), 2) build a tent frame with PVC that we can drape the frost blankets over and clip onto to keep from blowing in the wind and prevent the weight of the blankets from crushing the trees, 3) string x-mas onto the trees to provide warmth, and 4) place mulch under trees (but not up against the trunk) to provide warmth to trees and ground.
So far it looks like all the other trees made it through. We’ll know more when the leaves and buds open.
Two of the new fruit trees we received are replacements. We had to remove both our Blenheim Apricot and Multi-Peach. Both the apricot and the peach failed to thrive for whatever reason, so hubby dug em’ up and tossed them into the dumpster. We’re trying a new apricot, Gold Kist, which was highly recommended by the horticulturist at the Orchard in North Las Vegas. And we decided to replace the multi-peach, which had 4 different varieties growing on the same tree, for a single variety type. May Pride is an awesome peach, so we’re excited to see it join our ensemble of fruit trees.
Earlier this month, we had about 5 yards of compost and 2 yards of acidified compost delivered to our property. The acidified (with sulfur and other goodies) is for our blueberries (they love acidic soil) and the regular compost is for our new trees and regular maintenance of our orchard.
In the Near Future
We have a couple of other exciting additions to our homestead, but we’ll keep the lid on those for now. Still waiting for the honey bees that Ted won last Spring during a beekeeping class he attended at the Orchard in North Las Vegas. The beekeeper lives about 4 hours away and has been busy building hoop houses on his property. I just sent another e-mail earlier today, so hopefully we can make arrangements for delivery in the next couple of weeks.
Veggie growing activities may be starting soon on the Asher Homestead. The plan is to get two veggies beds up and going using materials on our property to save $$. Something more to look forward to.
Gotta make hubby a lunch for tomorrow and then head off to bed. Hope you have sweet dreams and a restful sleep my dear friends.
May the blessing of heaven pour down on you and your family tonight 🙂