Archive for the ‘Fruit Tree Care’ Category

Apr16

Bloom Watch at Linden Orchard

photosWe’re on bloom watch here at City Fruit! I often have the pleasure of running through Linden Orchard in the Phinney neighborhood. This small plot of land was formerly home to an orchard, and six apple trees remain today. As the season progresses, I’ll continue to document the blooms, apple growth, and pest prevention activities at the orchard.

Join us this Sunday, April 19 at 12 noon for our Save Seattle’s Apples kick-off at Linden Orchard (N. 67th & Linden). The Linden P-Patch will join us to help thin blooms, and then volunteers will walk door to door to educate tree owners about protecting their apples.

 

Kate Morrison is the executive director of City Fruit.  She lives in the Greenwood neighborhood. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb13

Favorite Fruit of the Presidents – Thomas Jefferson

We begin our President’s Day series of blogs by City Fruit staff members with a focus on Thomas Jefferson and his favorite fruit.

Heath Cling Peach

Heath Cling Peach

My husband is a long-time admirer of Thomas Jefferson so we have had plenty of conversations about our third president and his personally designed Virginia home, Monticello. When investigating the Monticello orchards, I first focused only on Jefferson’s favorite apples, the Esopus Spitzenburg and Newtown Pippin. Thought maybe I’d plant those varieties of apples in honor of the man and his orchard … haven’t yet.

But this week I dug deeper into Mr. Jefferson’s fruit fancies and smiled when I learned that he and I share the same favorite fruit: the lovely, delicate, versatile, scrumptious, elusive but not impossible to grow in our climate peach.

Peaches, native to China, were introduced to North America in the 16th century by Spanish or French settlers. At Jefferson’s South Orchard at Monticello he planted over 1,000 fruit trees, including 38 new peach cultivars. By 1811 the orchard had 160 peach trees, by far the most of any fruit growing there. Peach cultivars that Jefferson planted in the Monticello orchard included American originals such as Heath Cling, Oldmixon Cling and Free, Morris’ Red Rareripe, and Indian Blood Cling.

Indian Blood Cling Peach

Indian Blood Cling Peach

Jefferson’s abundant peaches were made into a cider-like beverage called mobby, which was often distilled into brandy. Or they were juiced and mixed with tea, or peeled and pickled, or sprinkled with sugar and dried in the sun.

Not surprisingly, Thomas Jefferson also created the first American recipe for ice cream, and had it served often at his homes throughout his lifetime.

So for President’s Day, enjoy a very President Jeffersonian fruit dessert: Mr. Jefferson’s Ice Cream Sundae with Brandied Peaches and Praline Crumbles.

Even Thomas Jefferson had trouble getting some fruit cultivars to grow at Monticello. If you want to be successful growing fruit in the Seattle climate, check out the “Best Fruits for Western Washington Yards” Quick Reference Guide on the City Fruit website, under Resources.

Barb Burrill is the Director of Orchard Stewardship at City Fruit

Jan26

Grateful for a day of service and a ton of hard work!

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

It was one week ago today that we hosted a large event for Martin Luther King Jr Day. We are so excited to share the success of our MLK day of service–it was one of our most successful volunteer work parties yet! As our City Fruit team planned the special work project for MLK Day this year, we kept in mind our main goal of expanding the amount of work that we can do, caring for as many fruit trees as we can, and ultimately bringing the fruit back to our community during the harvest season.

We were buzzing with excitement at the opportunity to host two active community groups, the UW Husky Leadership Initiative and Projectline Inc. Each of these groups has created positive change within their organization and their enthusiasm was easy to recognize!

As volunteers came rolling into the orchard, we divided into groups, grabbed some tools, and conquered a couple of big projects. The Amy Yee Tennis Center Orchard has over 30 fruit trees with significant history to the South Seattle area. With over 75 volunteers with a combined 269 volunteer hours logged, our groups enthusiastically got to work clearing thorny blackberries, scotch broom, and other invasive weeds out from the base of the fruit trees. We were especially impressed with the efforts of our young stewards of the day who picked up fallen apples and planted young fruit trees in the newly cleared space!

The Amy Yee Tennis Center is now looking better than ever and we are excited for the prospects of this orchard for the 2015 harvest season. Thank you to everyone who came out and helped make this event a success for City Fruit. This was truly an inspiring group of volunteers and we are excited for the continued success of our future work parties!

 

 

Nov23

Out in the Orchard: A Good Time to Plant a Tree

It’s November. You’ve harvested the fruit from your trees, BGT March 22 work party 2cleaned up fallen fruit, raked up diseased leaves, and spread mulch up to the dripline. What to do now? Plant a tree!

November is the best month to plant trees in our climate. Plant a tree in the spring, and unless you are really disciplined about watering, the dry summer months will stress your tree when it is trying to get established. Plant in November, and the rains take care of watering duties. Plus with our mild fall and winter, roots of the trees can even continue growing once they are planted, whenever the soil temperature is above 50 degrees.

A problem with this plan, though, is that most nurseries are not selling fruit trees in November.

City Fruit has a few fruit trees and edible perennials that are ready to plant now. Sign up using the online form. A small donation per plant is requested.

Some small local nurseries such asCal watering quince Burnt Ridge Nursery in Onalaska and Hartman’s Nursery in Puyallup may have fruit trees you can buy for planting now. Burnt Ridge sells trees at The Farmers Market of Olympia, open Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 3 through December. Contact small nurseries to confirm their fruit tree inventory before you take a road trip.

To get the most fruit production from your trees, buy two or more trees that can pollinize each other.

Location is crucial. The more sun the better – full sun is best. Leave enough room for the tree so it can grow to its ultimate mature size. You don’t want to be moving that tree again in a few years.

Once you are ready to get your trees in the ground, refer to City Fruit’s on-line resource document on How to Plant a Fruit Tree.

Good luck! Send us a photo of your new trees at info@cityfruit.org

Barb Burrill is City Fruit’s orchard steward coordinator. 

Aug20

Out in the Orchard: Falling Fruit

It’s my turn to blog a bit about my City Fruit world. I’m Barb Burrill, the orchard steward coordinator. I support the volunteers who take care of 11 orchards on public land in Seattle, and coordinate orchard care with Seattle Parks grounds staff.

I became involved with City Fruit as a volunteer orchard steward for the fruit trees along the Burke-Gilman Trail in Wallingford. That orchard started with six trees and now has 41. Learn more about the orchards that City Fruit volunteers manage at the orchard stewards web pages.

If you have a fruit tree or two in your yard, or your neighborsCodling moth damage on apple
do, you notice when fruit starts falling on the ground. Falling fruit can be a sign of fruit ripening on your tree, or, if it’s too early for your fruit to be ready, it’s probably evidence of insect damage.

For apples and pears, take a look at the fruit on the ground and see if it has the tell-tale exit holes of codling moth larvae (see photo at right.) The rust-colored material is what the codling moth larva leaves behind when it exits the apple: chewed material and excrement, called “frass.” Just makes you want to take a big bite out of that apple, doesn’t it?

You can still use fruit that has codling moth damage – just cut out what the worms have damaged. Codling moth larvae typically focus on the core of the apple, so most of the apple’s flesh is left intact.

Keeping a clean orchard floor is an easy way to reduce the local fruit-infesting insect population. Pick up any fallen fruit within a couple of days and dispose of it in your curbside compost bin – not your home compost pile – before the maggot can crawl out of the fruit and continue its life cycle.

Cleaning up fallen fruit will help reduce the overwintering population of insect pests and keep all nearby fruit trees healthier. Have a chat with your neighbors if your sidewalk is gooey with squashed fruit. Or put on your garden gloves and help pick it up.

Neighbors under 18 might enjoy making a game of throwing the fallen fruit into the compost bin. Thanks to our orchard steward volunteers from Lakeside School for showing us how that’s done.

Enjoy the rest of summer! And keep watering those fruit trees every week.

Barb Burrill is the orchard steward coordinator for City Fruit.