The exceptionally warm and sunny weather has increased fruit set on some trees, hastened the time in which the fruit will come into bearing, and (unfortunately) has increased the bug activity.
Codling moths are flying now. If you are applying foot sox, they should be applied as soon as you see an evident apple upon which to apply the foot sox.
The good news is that Eastern Washington growers are also experiencing an early season and those who love cherries should be seeing some cherries coming from Eastern Washington in early June.
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
The exceptionally warm and sunny weather has increased fruit set on some trees, hastened the time in which the fruit will come into bearing, and (unfortunately) has increased the bug activity.
Adapted from “Bubby’s Homemade Pies” by Ronald M. Silver and Jen Bervin (John Wiley & Sons, 2007)
Photo by Emily Barney on Flickr
Time: 2 hours
Dough for a 9-inch single-crust pie
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup, packed, light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough and line pie pan. Prick dough with fork, then line with foil. Fill bottom with pastry weights or dry beans. Bake 8 minutes, remove foil and weights and bake 8 to 10 minutes longer, until pastry looks dry and is barely starting to color. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. Place flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt in food processor and process briefly to blend. Dice 6 tablespoons butter and add, along with pecans; pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
3. Melt remaining butter in a large skillet. Add apple slices and sauté over medium heat about 5 minutes, until a bit softened around edges, with some just starting to brown. Remove from heat. Mix remaining brown sugar and cinnamon with a pinch of salt, the cloves and nutmeg. Pour over apples and fold together. Fold in whiskey.
4. Pour contents of pan into crust and top with crumbs. Place pie pan on a baking sheet, bake 10 minutes, lower heat to 350 degrees and bake about 40 minutes longer, until topping browns and juices bubble. Allow pie to cool completely before cutting. Pie can be made a day in advance and warmed for serving.
I work with fruit trees in parks and public places and have made some subjective notes and impressions from this past year. The first of these concern the codling moth (CM).
Three years ago you couldn’t see the fruit trees nestled at the bottom of a hill just west of the old Amazon headquarters on north Beacon Hill. Looking down, it was blackberries and brambles. This neglected piece of Dr. Jose Rizal Park caught the eye of Craig Thompson, who was working with the Green Seattle Partnership and others to remove invasives from the adjoining woods. Craig turned his attention to the apples.
This October, three years later, the orchard produced 500 pounds of apples of several varieties. Neighbors and stewards picked 300 pounds for a cider pressing to benefit the Rainier Valley Pre-school. Don Ricks, who has been working on heritage orchards in several Seattle parks, says that the Dr. Jose Rizal Park orchard has turned around faster than any he has seen.
In recognition of Craig’s leadership in turning an unsightly bramble patch into a productive orchard, he has been selected to receive a 2012 Denny Award by the Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, Christopher Williams. Denny Awards recognize individuals who provide ‘leadership in enhancing and preserving parks. . . ‘ and demonstrate ‘ . . significant personal commitment of time and effort . . . ‘. Craig will be honored at a free dinner, open to the public, at Langston Hughes Community Center on Nov 29 (6 – 8 pm.)
As one of City Fruit’s orchard steward leads, Craig attended workshops on fruit tree care and recruited a team of stewards dedicated to Dr. Jose Rizal Park. His reach into the greater community is extensive: Craig brought large workparties of Filipino-American students, Earthcorps, Safeco and Fred Hutchinson volunteers, and students from Seattle Pacific, and he has collaborated closely with Parks Department staff to clear, prune, mulch, fence and harvest the orchard.
[Even though this is no longer active, we posted the archive below because we think the information is useful.]
These two guys know a lot about fruit, fruit trees, pest prevention, etc, and they’ve graciously agreed to try to answer any questions you have.
Dear Don & John,
Not a fruit question, but what’s with the new name?
As you know, we’ve done a few Q&A pieces on this blog, answering people’s questions about their fruit trees, fruit shrubs, and, well, fruit. Well, turns out that there’s actually a company called The Fruit Guys and because of that, we’re changing the name to Fruit Q&A with Don & John. Same idea — you ask questions, we answer them — just a different name.
I do want to talk about The Fruit Guys, though. They were very nice in contacting us to let us know about their company and they care about the same stuff we do. From their site:
“The FruitGuys provides fresh seasonal fruit from local farms to thousands of American businesses, from small family-run businesses to major Fortune 500 corporations…We consider ourselves fortunate to work with customers who share our ideals about health, the environment, and our communities. The FruitGuys launched our Farm Steward Program in April 2008 to support sustainable small family farming. We donate 88,000 pounds of fresh fruit a year (more than 7,000 pounds a month) to non-profit groups and regional food pantries nationwide, such as Somethin’ Fresh. With your support, we sent over 7,000 pieces of fresh fruit to food-banks and programs for families in need over the winter holidays with our Donate-A-Crate Program.”
Seems like a great company and we’re happy to have made their acquaintance.
Learn more at fruitguys.com
- Don & John
Hi Don & John,
I garden at Greenwood P-Patch, where we have a row of blueberries along our garden’s western edge. Unfortunately, the planters did not gauge the light level correctly, and most of the trees have failed to thrive and set fruit.
We have about six bushes that look healthy. They plan to eventually move them into garden plots, where they will get more light and presumably do better. I have six gardeners who have pledged to put their mud boots on and move the bushes while they are dormant.
My question concerns the remaining bushes, which are in very poor condition–stunted with yellow leaves. I’ve pulled out several dead bushes while weeding. How can I tell if these bushes are likely to survive? Once the other bushes are moved, it may be possible to move the sick bushes to areas in the row with more light.
We have seen some blueberry plants set tasty fruit in the shade, but the fruit will be more abundant in the sun. Blueberries can do well in shade, but need water and a soil that is acidic — yellow leaves is usually an indication of too alkaline a soil. You also would need a primarily organic soil as you cannot compost, wood chip, sawdust, etc. too much with these plants.
Also be sure to keep the weeds away. Pull weeds, do not hoe or dig up the soil near the plants as they have a very shallow root system. You can also use a low nitrogen fertilizer early in season (Feb-May) and keep things damp. As I mentioned earlier compost heavily, or wood chips are welcomed. Water is the biggest restriction with these plants.
Here’s a great video we found that has a great overview of blueberry care: Blueberry Plant Care Video
With that work, hopefully the remaining blueberry bushes can make a come back. Hope that helps and good luck with the p-patch!
- Don & John
Dear Don & John,
My neighbor and myself grow both Red Currants and Gooseberries. This year we both have a bumper crop of fruit setting on our healthy, leafy bushes. We were very excited, until we noticed that something (an insect?!) has carefully laid eggs in every single berry. You can visually see the damage on the outside of the not-yet ripe fruit and inside there is a small, white grub growing.
What pest would do this to Ribes family fruit and what can we do to discourage this is future years?
Thanks for writing in. We don’t get many currant or gooseberry questions!
You’re instinct about the problem being an insect is probably correct. Currants and gooseberries are usually a pain to grow here because of the Currant Fruit Fly which actually is a small fly which hits the fruit, and the Currant Sawfly which is not a fly but a type of wasp whose larvae look like currant-leaf-colored caterpillars. There’s also a small chance it could be the Spotted Wing Drosophila (which they recently found in WA), but we suspect the larva is more likely the Currant Fruit Fly, pictured here.
The good news is that there is a non-chemical way to address this issue. You should immediately pick all fruit and remove it from the area – I wouldn’t recommend eating any of them, although if you only juice the fruit, you can still pick clean now and process.
The reason for removing them from the area is that the larvae drop to the ground and overwinter under the bushes, much as apple maggots burrow into ground under apple trees. Removing all the infected fruit may cut the life cycle enough such that you get a clean crop next year.
And while you can share this information with your neighbor, there’s no telling what the rest of your neighborhood might be doing and there may be infested currants in your area which are not managed and these can re-infest your fruit next year. One way to help against that is to net the shrubs with a fine mesh just after pollination but before fruit begins to form.
If you want to determine exactly which insect it is, save a handful of fruit, place in large Ziploc bag, store on kitchen counter, keep beady eye on it and see who emerges. If a small vinegar fly emerges in a couple weeks or so, you have the Spotted Wing Drosophilia. If no one emerges or rice-sized pupae are seen, you have the fruit worm which won’t emerge until next year.
Hope that helps and good luck with the berries!
- Don & John
Dear Don & John,
I actually have two questions built in to one request.
1. My inherited apple tree (variety yet unknown) has some kind of disease causing the leaves on many branches to curl and look nasty. How do I treat it without chemicals? Is it too late?
2. Do you know where the best place is to get a reasonably priced orchard ladder (tri-pod style)? Those things are crazy expensive.
Thanks for writing in. It looks like you get a 2-for-1 special today!
Your apple tree probably has apple scab, causing some leaf curl and color distortion and you can read all about how to manage scab organically on the Pests and Diseases page. We’ve got some suggested sprays and techniques listed there.
However, if your leaves are tightly curled upward that could be a sign of a new insect, the Apple Leaf Curl Midge, that’s been coming down from British Columbia, Canada. The damage is caused by the new larva feeding on the leaves – which can lead to distorted limb growth, premature leaf dropping, etc. Luckily there is no evidence of reduced quality of fruit.
For a mature tree, you should be safe to ignore it. For a 1 or 2 year old tree, remove affected leaves to try to save others from curl since it is thought to have 2 generations per year here. We would anticipate that parasitoids will slowly catch up with it and keep it in check.
With regards to the orchard ladders, yeah, they can definitely be pricey but worth it. You should probably be able to get by with a 6-8’ ladder unless your tree is really tall. We’ve found Tallman to be an excellent brand generally, which you can sometimes find used. For new, we purchased ladders for City Fruit at Horizon in Bellevue, WA, but Wilson Irrigation in Yakima is also a good bet.
Hope that helps and good luck with the apple tree!
- Don & John
Dear Don & John,
An apple tree on my block is 20-25 years old, pretty much neglected, but has a good crop of apples. I haven’t looked at it closely this spring until today, and was dismayed to see that the apples are all junk – see the photo.
What is the cause of this distortion? The leaves generally look OK, though there are a few curled and gray.
What can I do to help this tree?
The photo is great and always helps us provide a more accurate diagnosis. We think there are a couple things going on with your apples.
First, the spots on your apples are probably due to “scab” – a varying collection of fungus. The fact that the apple tree is older and has been neglected doesn’t help, but the wet weather probably had something to do with this as well, giving the fungus more time to establish itself on the fruit.
While problematic, there are organic solutions. The first step is to remove all old leaves from beneath the tree in the fall and put them in the yard waste container, or bury them. Prune out affected twigs, which bear small, blister-like pustules, and put them in the yard waste. Do both of these things in late winter or early spring, before growth begins in the tree.
There are also several organic spray options including sulfur, lime-sulfur, or Bordeaux mixture (copper sulfate plus lime) applied early in the growing season. These are readily available at most nurseries. Spray as soon as the buds show green. And since scab likes damp weather, spray every week until midsummer if the weather is dry. If the summer is wet, spray until 30 days before harvest.
The dimpling on the apples is more difficult to figure out, but it’s most likely a pollination problem – which is a more difficult problem to solve this season. It would be good if you get a lot of bees or other pollinators, as that would help ensure good pollination. Otherwise, next season when the flowers are blooming, take a small brush and a container, shaking some pollen free from the flower, and then using the brush to then apply it to other flowers.
Hope that helps and thanks for writing in!
- Don & John
Dear Don & John,
I was cleaning up the ground and fertilizing some of the fruit trees this weekend and I noticed something really odd. All of the plum trees are acting like it’s fall. Several species, all very mature and prolific full-sized trees, have started yellowing and dropping their leaves. 50-60% of the leaves seem to have turned yellow almost overnight. The leaves have brown spots and drop in droves at a simple shake of a branch. I looked for signs of mold or insect damage, but didn’t see anything obvious. They just act like it’s fall.
None of the other fruit trees (cherries, apples, pears, fig) have this issue, though all are suffering somewhat from the weird weather.
Does this have to do with the funky weather we’ve been having? Please help!
You did all the right things in checking what you did. Those are good steps.
And while plum trees in general aren’t producing as much as they did last year, we don’t think the weather is the culprit here, but rather some sort of fungal infection – but it’s difficult to tell without actually seeing the leaves ourselves.
Our best guess is that the fertilizer might be the trigger here. Fruit trees in the Pacific Northwest tend not to need too much fertilizer beyond specific nutrients. But too much nitrogen can spur excessive growth, leaving the tree susceptible to fungal infections.
So we suggest holding off on the fertilization for now and seeing what impact that has on the tree in a few weeks. With all fungal infections, it’s a good idea to pick up all the fallen leaves and put them in the yard waste bin – not your home compost or the disease can spread there.
While you might not get a good crop this year, you can most likely improve the quality of the tree health for next year. In the fall, the tree could benefit from a good pruning – targeting the parts of the tree that were infected this year. This should help the tree produce new growth in the spring.
Fungal infections also benefit from various sprays. Because we can’t identify which fungal infection your tree might have, we suggest bringing in a leaf sample to the Center for Urban Horticulture on any Monday from 4pm – 8pm. They have experts on hand who should be able to more accurately identify which fungus is affecting your tree and then recommend the appropriate organic spray – which would be applied next spring.
Hope this helps and thanks for writing in.
- Don & John
Don Ricks has been leading the charge on applying foot socks to apples & pears throughout the city. While Don shies away from the term “expert”, he’s very knowledgeable about fruit trees and pest prevention. He’s very involved with the Friends of Piper’s Orchard and sits on the City Fruit Advisory Committee.
John Reardon is a long-time member of the Seattle Tree Fruit Society and has spent many years helping educate and inform people on the proper methods for caring for fruit trees. He also sits on the City Fruit Advisory Committee.
As autumn persists, the urge to be outside pressing fragrant fruit into hearty cider has kept our Correll press busy. Here Hunt Towler and David Beeman press more than 1,000 pounds of apples at the West Seattle Nursery pressing, where it seemed like half of West Seattle brought in apples to squeeze on Sept 27. (For more photos, go to Tumblr.) This was followed by a trip to the Holy Cross Church Orchard in Bellevue on Oct 6 and last weekend’s visit to Beacon Hill, where the Rainier Valley Cooperative PreSchool rallied the troops on a blustery autumn day. There’s nothing quite like watching apples become liquified.
Next up (details on our Events page): Freeway Estates Community Cider Fest, Oct 20, 2 – 5; Burke Gilman Trail orchard stewards cider pressing on Sunday, Oct 21, 12 – 3; City Fruit’s cider pressing benefit for the Greenwood Food Bank, Oct 27, noon – 4; and City Fruit’s 2nd Annual Hard Cider Taste Nov 1, 5 – 8 pm.
A note about our press. Our Correll press is a wooden press with an electric motor to drive the grinder portion; the press itself is manual. It was handbuilt by a gentleman in Oregon, and in 2009 we had to wait four months after putting in our order: there were more than 50 presses ahead of us in line. Last weekend I attended an apple tasting/cider pressing event in Portland and saw a twenty-four year old Correll press in action. It didn’t look much different from our two-year-old press and was still going strong.
Three dry months….and now we get the rains….No more watering is necessary unless you have pottted plants and are going to bring them indoors or under eaves for protection. In fact, putting potted fruit plants under something that will provide protection from the overhead rain is not a bad idea. Such an endeavor will reduce peach leaf curl for peach trees and anthracnose for apple trees.
Did you miss cider-making events this summer? Well, it’s not too late. Look at City Fruit’s “Classes and Events” link and learn about the two events on Saturday, Oct. 20th and the one event at Burke-Gilman on Sunday, October 21st.
Then next week, October 27th there will be an event in conjunction with the Greenwood Food Bank….
Finally, a hard cider tasting on Thursday, Nov. 1st.
So, make sure you have harvested everything and then kick back and enjoy a cider fest. Apples can be stored in a fridge or even in a shed (if protected from critters) and last for months.
Winter is coming —- but not yet.
City Fruit still has a lot of projects going….the summer is not over.
And remember, Asian pears are left on the trees until they ripen…..European pears are picked green and ripen off the tree.
I want to talk about the Piper Harvest Fest, but first a side note on the weather.
We have had weeks and weeks now with no rain….as long as you have been watering the newly planted trees and container trees, then you will have no problem. In fact, just as there is a silver lining behind every cloud there is also a silver lining behind havng no clouds as well. You see, Seattle has had an over-abundance of water the past few years. It is nice to see some dry weather (for a change) and give the trees a breather from all the fungal diseases that have been plaguing these trees during the wet weather we have been overly plagued with.
But the main emphasis of this post is this: The Piper Orchard Festival of Fruit on Sept. 15th, Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be at Carkeek Park again this year. Please consider being there. (see website for directions)
Not only is this a chance to meet people from the Tree Fruit Society, and to meet Gail Savina, or to see a cider press in operation or to sample baked backyard pies or to have your fruit identified by Dr. Rob Norton. But on top of all of this, there is a chance to hear a world-class teacher, Tim Smith from Wenatchee. Tim Smith will be there to talk about backyard techniques for improving backyard organic fruit growth. Tim knows a lot about a lot. As a side note, he helped pioneer one of the few organic pesticides GF 120 NF and I (Don Ricks) will have some of this product there at the festival to be seen by anyone interested with the further offer to help people with this product for year 2013 if they are interested.
Please consider coming.
1. Congrats to Gail Savina and Ingela Wanerstrand who did a good job answering questions on KUOW this past week. Being live ain’t always easy to do, but they fielded questions nicely.
2. Remember to water. Especially newly planted trees and berries, shrubs or trees in containers. The heat will dry things out. Water.
3. Someday if you are up in the Mt. Vernon area you might drop by and look at the trees and berry bushes at the Mt. Vernon research center. On Saturday, August 18th, several speakers will be there as well talking on fruit-related subjects. I have mentioned the Master Gardeners, the Answer Line, Seattle tilth in previous blogs. The Mt. Vernon Research Center is just one more resource to help the backyard gardener.
Many of the You-pick farms from Mt. Vernon to Snohomish are having a bumper crop of blueberries this year. Think about having the fun of locating one such farm on the internet, finding out when you should come out and then having a lot of fun.
Many folks are also experiencing a very good year for Yellow Transparent apples. There are several advantages in having a very early apple.
Plums are just around the corner now…start paying attention to when they are ripe……usually the plums on the outside of the tree color up before the plums shaded in the interior of the tree.
Watering time. Yes, yes, we get an ocassional summer shower here and there in this area. Don’t count on it as being adequate for your fruit trees. July and August still don’t produce much in the way of total rainfall. You need to be careful especially if you have just planted a tree or if your fruit tree is in a container (the future, in my opinion, for city gardeners). For trees that don’t have a deeply rooted established root system, then you need to make sure your trees get a weekly source of water that reaches down to the roots and provides some moisture. Seattle gets a lot of rain, yes, but not in July and August. In those two months the Seattle area becomes more like our arid Eastern Washington counterpart. It is time to make sure your trees get an adequate source of water these next two months…….after that, in Autumn, don’t worry, we can go back to the monsoon season again and you can stop ensuring a weekly source of watering.
A new pest is making its way to the Seattle area……the brown marmorated stink bug….but since I over-estimated the damage that would be done by the spotted wing drosophilia (which is, though, a real problem)…..I want to be more cautious as to say what to expect from this new “stinker”…..it is not here en masse yet, may never be, and we will “watch and see”.
On a different note, let me mention two more services where one can get help with gardening questions.
One is the Seattle Tilth Garden Hotline M-F 9- 5 p.m. 206-633-0224
And another is the “Plant Answer Line” associated with the University of Washington Miller Library 206-897-5268
Try the Seattle Tilth line for basic questions and the Plant answer line for more technical research.
The cool weather this June probably means you are still in time to do some protective work on your apples and Asian pears as there have been some delays on our bugs coming out.
European pears (like Bartletts) do not need protection at this point as the skins on the pears are still very hard.
And your plums also do not need protection at this point (for most people, anyway). Maybe later in the summer we can talk about the plums.
Also, please note: What everyone should know is that many of your gardening questions can be answered by Master Gardeners at locations near you. Visit the website for King County Master Gardeners or open this link please and note that there are various useful sites to click on, (such as the 2012 Plant Clinic Schedule:
(We post our monthly email newsletter, with tips about fruit tree care, notes about happenings in the area and updates about City Fruit, to the blog but if you want it delivered directly to your inbox, please email email@example.com.)
Fruit tree tip: Pick up your fallen fruit. Experts say that the single most important thing you can do to prevent pests next year is to remove fallen fruit (and leaves). Pests in the fruit overwinter beneath the tree, just waiting to create problems next season. Rake it up and put it in your yard waste (not your compost pile).
New grant supports Rainier Valley fruit trees: We have a new grant to help the Rainier Valley community plant and care for fruit trees. If you have a public (e.g., school, senior center, city street, park, public housing, etc.) site or an ‘institutional’ space (senior living facility, business or office site, etc.) in the Rainier Valley that could support fruit trees or berry bushes, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Rainier Valley Eats (RaVE) program, supported by the United Way of King County, recognizes that fruit plays a significant role in urban food production and is helping us grow more — and more appropriate — fruits in south Seattle.
2011 Harvest Summary: We harvested more than 7,000 lbs of fruit in the Phinney-Greenwood corridor and in south Seattle neighborhoods. Again this year, plums — our major ‘crop’ — were light, so we worked hard to compensate with apples, cherries, grapes, figs and even quince. Crop diversity is important, since fruit production is closely related to fickle spring weather: while there were few plums, 2011 was a bumper year for figs. More than 25 different organizations received fruit: they include women’s shelters, senior centers, food banks, meals programs, daycares, community centers and youth programs.
While our per pound cost to harvest fruit goes down each year due to increased efficiency, harvesting in an urban environment is still expensive — this year about $1.00/lb. We funded the 2011 harvest by selling a small portion of the fruit to restaurants, by a grant from Puget Sound Energy and through City Fruit memberships and donations. In other words, by becoming a member of City Fruit, you will directly support next year’s harvest.
Hard Cider Making workshop: Speaking of hard cider, check out the week-long seminar on “Cider Marking: Principles and Practices” Dec 12 – 16 in Mt. Vernon. International cider expert (from England) Peter Mitchell will cover hands-on cider-making techniques and give an overview of the market. The seminar is sponsored by the NW Agricultural Business Center and the WSU NW Research and Extension Center in Mt Vernon. Register at NABC website or contact Ann Leason at 360-336-3727.
New fruit growing book: From Tree to Table: Growing Backyard fruit Trees in the Pacific Maritime Climate by Barbara Edwards and Mary Olivella states on the back cover: “Plant a fruit tree — join the revolution.” It goes on: “This charming and easy-to-use guide dispels the myth that local gardeners in our sun-challenged, maritime Pacific climes can’t grow fruit trees.” (My own local fruit expert says the advice in the book is right on.) In addition, there are great recipes, from preserves to fruit-based main dishes to how to make pear perry. If you buy the book from City Fruit, the publisher shares the proceeds with us — so don’t delay! Cost is $18.95. Contact us at email@example.com .
Okay, take care and have a great Thanksgiving!
Let’s talk about Fall fertilizers. I am including some suggestions here from Norma Connolly, a friend who has some knowledge about this:
Potassium: Associated with better fruit color, and more sugar, this is something best applied in the Fall because it does not move quickly in the soil. Consult with your local nursery about amounts to use for your particular tree.
Micronutrients: If one can obtain Azomite, this would be great. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in how to obtain this and I may refer you to Norma or to another source.
Liming: Dolomite lime is usually a good addition in our highly acidic, rainy Seattle soils. But the best way to be sure you are adding the right amount is to make sure you have first tested the PH of the soil yourself. Test by digging down 8 inches and then get your soil from there. By adding lime, some nutrients like potassium will sometimes become more available. Application rate for 100 square feet would be about 4.5 pounds of lime for each rise of one PH point you hope to achieve.
Nitrogen: sometimes good for trees with low vigor but NOT good for Fall application. Wait until Spring if you think you need to make the trees more vigorous. Heavily pruned trees will probably NOT require nitrogen even then as they are already putting out too much “sucker” type growth.
Phosphorus: This product can help with flowering, but unfortunately, the best time to have applied this was by putting in the soil before the tree has grown and has become well established.
Make all applications evenly and work in the soil and be sure to have fun….otherwise, what’s the point?
Gail Savina updated you earlier on this blog as to many wonderful activities happening this month. I am just going to give a little more “color” on three cider fests coming up…at Beacon Hill, in the Ravenna area and in Northeast Seattle. Consider going to the one nearest you, surprise them, and support them.
Oct. 16th 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Northeast Seattle http://sustainableneseattle.ning.com/events/barter-fair-and-cider-press
Bring your own washed apples/pears/grapes and let them get juiced up, if you want (no fruit from ground please)
Oct. 22nd – Beacon Hill Harvest Festival, 1 – 9 p.m., Garden House on Beacon Hill, 2336 15th Ave. S. in Seattle, http://www.rockitspace.org/harvest-fair.html
Oct. 29th — near Freeway, 6th Ave. NE and NE 63rd St. in Ravenna District, 2 to 5 p.m.
— bring your own apples if you want and have them juiced up and/or come for some free cider
— for more details and directions or map contact Ruth Collard at 206-527-4035 or email email@example.com
(Note: Blog on Nov. 1st will be on Fall Fertilizers. Blog on Nov. 15th will be on transplanting)
If you protected your apples from bugs this summer, congratulations ! Not only can you now harvest your labors, but you have set an example for our community. You might enjoy them yourself, give to family or friends, or even give to a local charity.
If you do not have apples worthy to showcase, don’t worry. You can still use them. Consider washing them and and then bring them down to donate to one of our City Fruit cider press events this Fall. Just be sure, as a matter of public policy, that none of the apples we use ever touched the ground.
It is Autumn now. Harvest time. It is also time to start thinking about what nutrients we wish to put in the soil and what transplanting we may do. More about these last two subjects later.
Okay, we’re still in pear time and getting into apple picking time now. Are you wondering when your apples are ripe? Try tasting them. Or look for the “background” color against the green. Or cut one open and look at the seed color.
One cautionary note, though…..if your apples were not protected by an insecticide or by foot sox, then the apples may be dropping prematurely due to the effect of the bugs’ effect on the abscission of the apples’ connection to the tree itself…..i.e., the dropping of apples on your trees tells you something, but not necessarily everything about whether your apples are ripe or not.
The longer we can leave the apples on the tree the better it is for improving the sugar content.
One of the best ways to process unsprayed apples is to wash them and then juice ‘em up ! City Fruit will be doing this in several places this Fall. One can also see a demonstration of cider-making at the Piper Orchard in Carkeek Park on Saturday, Sept. 24th. The agenda and the directions are on their website:
Susan Dolan of the National Park Service will be the feature speaker at the Festival of Fruit and she is definitely one reason to come. It is also an opportunity to meet Gail Savina of City Fruit, who is talking that day about what we in Seattle are doing with our own public parks.
Hey, folks, just a side note: If you come to the Piper Orchard Festival of Fruits be sure to also meet Ingela Wanerstrand and Will Murray as they demonstrate cider-making for both kids and adults. Ingela and Will are almost tireless proponents of sustainable gardening and cider-pressing. Do me a favor. If you have the pleasure of meeting Will or Ingela (and they are both approachable folks), grab a cup of fresh, hot, local apple cider to warm you on this the first Saturday of Autumn…….and then thank them for all the volunteer effort they give to Seattle’s backyard gardening movement…….(a little appreciation is sometimes as warming as the cider is.)