Posts Tagged ‘Don’


Support City People’s to support City Fruit


City People’s Garden Store in Madison Valley is a locally owned and operated community garden store. Since opening in 1988, we have been committed to offering a wide selection of quality plants and organic and natural products to help you grow them. With over 15,000 square feet, the outdoor nursery is an urban oasis!

City People’s strives to give back to our communities who have so generously supported us over the years. Through donations and marketing avenues we support organizations that help us grow healthy communities in the areas of environment and gardening, education and youth programs, and food security.

This winter the Garden Store is concentrating support toward City Fruit through the sale of bare root fruit shrubs and trees.* 10% of the proceeds from the sale of these items through March will go to City Fruit. We will also host City Fruit workshops this month and throughout the year (details below, and on the calendar).

Bare root berries are coming from Peaceful Valley Farm, an organic farm in California; raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, and currants, plus rhubarb, jerusalem artichoke, & asparagus. We are excited about this new organic vendor who use no sprays (including biological sprays), making sure not to harm any critters – especially fragile bees and butterflies.

Bare root trees from Mt Vernon, Washington and Mallala, Oregon include:
Apples – dwarf, columnar, espaliered & 4-way combo varieties
Pears – espaliered & 4-way combos
Cherries – including several dwarf varieties
Hardy Nectarine – dwarf
<& Plums, Figs, Meyer Lemons, Honeyberry, Kiwi, Japanese Pepper, Goumi, Grape and Hops!

City People’s Garden Store’s bare root fruit selection will be arriving the first week of February. Come early for the best selection!

* Buying bare root plants is an affordable way to grow your edible garden as you are buying only the plant and not the soil or the pot.

Don’t forget to check out City People’s Garden Store’s fruit-related talks coming this spring:
Registration is required. To sign up for a workshop, send an email to [email protected] or call the store (206) 324-0737.

Winter Fruit Tree Pruning
Sunday, February 9th, 11 am – noon
Winter fruit tree pruning can improve overall health and appearance and can increase fruit production. This class, co-sponsored by City Fruit, discusses pruning tools, basic biology behind pruning fruit trees, basic cuts and how to stimulate fruit production.

Planting Fruit Trees
Sunday, February 16th, 11 am – noon
Getting your fruit tree off to a healthy start means buying a healthy tree and planting it correctly. Root health is critical for tree health, and this class demonstrates the key considerations in planting a new tree. Bare root trees will be available and a portion of purchases of fruit will go to CityFruit. Instructor Jana Dilley is the Program Manager for the City of Seattle’s reLeaf program and is a certified arborist.

Pollinators — Mason Bees, Honey Bees & Others
Sunday, March 9th, 11 am – noon
Learn why pollinators are critical to fruit production, why mason bees are helpful in the Pacific Northwest rain, and how to encourage pollinators in your yard and orchard. This workshop is co-sponsored by City Fruit.


Recipe: Apple Crisp


Photo by Dorothy Finley


October is all about apples! Check out this awesome recipe from our very own Betsy Moyer.

Apple Crisp


5 cups peeled & sliced apples (the apples I use are the Gravenstein from our front yard, but any sweet/tart cooking apples will be good.  Don’t use Red Delicious, they get a little mushy and loose their flavor).

2 TBS white sugar

2 TBS light brown sugar

½ cup rolled oats

½ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup flour

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ cup butter at room temperature

¼ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Directions: place apples in a 2 qt baking dish and stir in the 2 TBS of white sugar and the 2 TBS of brown sugar.  For the topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour and spices.  Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly without any loose ingredients left in the bowl. Fold in nuts. Sprinkle the topping over the apples.  (I love this topping, so I usually double it for the 5 cups of apples). Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until the topping is golden and you can stick a fork through the apples. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!


mid-July Report

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.


Got spots?

Our pear tree with spots.

It’s time to check out your tree’s leaves and see if they’re good and healthy or if they’ve got little spots on them (like our poor pear tree). A few spots here and there aren’t too big of a concern if the overall tree is healthy — but watch it carefully. If it’s “Leaf Rust” and “Leaf Spot”, they are fungal diseases and can cause bright orange and black spots on the leaves. Once it starts moving, it will rip through the tree and soon all of your leaves will be covered in dark spots, wilting, and falling off the tree.

When our trees get it that bad, they never produce fruit and hardly grow. They’re not happy.

It’s not very easy to get rid of but a few things can help. We have a whole page on identifying and managing pests & diseases. But here are three quick tips:

1. Healthy soil. Start here. Make sure the soil is healthy for the tree. You can learn more about taking care of your fruit tree here.

2. Pick the leaves. Pick the leaves with the spots from the tree without touching too many other leaves. And pick them up off the ground. Don’t put them in your compost. Put them in your yard waste bin. Not ideal, but it’s the best option for the urban home owner. And wash your hands afterwards before touching any other trees or plants. You’ll probably need to do this several times.

3. Organic spray. Use a bordeaux mixture (copper sulfate plus lime). It will also takes care of those two issues. Follow the directions on the label of the spray bottle — different trees have different instructions.

Good luck and let us know how you get on or if you have other tips. Drop us an e-mail, send us a tweet, or post on our Facebook page.


March Report

The kaleidoscope of changing Seattle weather patterns makes it difficult to predict in March how fruitful our trees will be in August.  One thing is for sure:   Extended early warm weather followed by unseasonably cold weather in the Spring is dangerous and helps explain our Italian prune loss for last year, 2010, because that is what happened last year.

Generally speaking,  the further along  fruit buds are in development, the more sensitive they are to cold temperatures.

For 2011, our unseasonably warm January helped to swell some of our plum buds prematurely and it is possible that a few of the 20 degree nights we had in late February caused a small percentage loss of some of  the plums to come.  (Probably just a nice little thinning is one guess).

So far, we are optimistic.  Actually, this cold weather for early March  is a good thing.  We are not ready for our fruit trees to blossom out just yet and we welcome delays in bud development at this point.


Does Bagging Fruit Work?

As you’ve read numerous times on our blog, facebook page, and twitter account, we’re big supporters and practitioners of bagging fruit. Just last weekend, in fact, a group of us were at Piper’s Orchard in Carkeek Park placing foot socks on trees in the historic orchard there.

I’m a big believer in using data and hard evidence to inform where to invest energy, so I started wondering about whether or not all this bagging of fruit really makes a difference.

We’ll be able to tell ourselves a bit after this year’s effort, led by Don Ricks, to place foot socks on apple trees in several parks, but I also found a couple pieces of information that help demonstrate that if used properly, applying foot socks or bags can make a significant difference in yield of quality fruit.

Take this article a few years back in the Seattle Times. The evidence is mostly anecdotal, but compelling. But I also found this article written by the University of Kentucky. Within that they have the image at the top-right of this blog post — showing the results of a several-year apple bagging study. Washington State University Skagit Extention also touts bags as an approved method for preventing apple maggot infestation.

And hey — Ciscoe promotes using them, citing recent research.

Add all that up and it appears that the foot socks and bags are an effective deterrent against apple maggots. It was fun just putting foot socks on the fruit, but would be great to get some tasty fruit out of the deal. We’ll see how the fruit turns out that Don & volunteers have been protecting and we’ll make sure to share our story.


Foot Sock Party: Piper Orchard

Over the weekend, Don Ricks led a buch of volunteers at Piper’s Orchard in placing foot socks on fruit to help protect against apple maggots & coddling moths. The idea is to increase the yield of some of the historic varieties in the orchard there.

I went along to learn how to propertly put foot socks on and lend a hand in pretecting this valuable fruit. You can check out some photos on our Facebook page and below is a video of Don explaining how it’s done:


Help Apply Footies in Seattle Orchards

Courtsey of Seattle Tree Fruit SocietyAs you know, we at City Fruit are passionate about pest management. We’ve blogged about it, sell City Fruit Shields to fruit tree owners, and are working to apply the footies on healthy trees in the city.

To help us with this, we’re working with Don Ricks to determine the status of apple maggot and coddling moth in the city, when to start applying pest prevention measures, and which to use.

We’re looking for volunteers to help him apply footies to fruit trees in two different orchard in the city:

If you’re interested, you can find more details on the Piper Orchard website or e-mail Don directly.

Courtesy of Friends of Piper's OrchardDon is continually monitoring the situation in Seattle and has sent us this dispatch:

As of today (5/10/10) I am still not seeing codling moth in the trapsbut what I did see over the weekend is that some of the apples at the Good Shepherd Center are now big enough to apply footies to. Everywhere else, the apples are still too small or we haven’t even had complete petal fall yet.

One month ago it looked like we would have an exceptionally early season this year,  but we have had some cooler than usual weather the past few weeks and this has changed the picture. Neither the bugs nor the fruit is developing as fast as we once thought, but we expect the weather ahead to be warming up shortly. Warmer climes, like the Rainier Valley, will need earlier attention. Cooler climes by the Puget Sound, or at higher elevations, might be a little later.

Consequently, the indications are now that the best time to apply foot sox will be the week before and after Memorial Day.

If you are spraying the organics Neem Oil, kaolin clay, or Spinosad products as your first cover spray for the codling moth, then probably mid- to late-May would be a good time to make the first application. This will have to be followed by sprays every 10 days or so until either harvest time or until you have covered them with foot sox. 

The apple maggot fly will probably be flying in early- to mid-June, but stay tuned for further updates on when the fly is flying and (later in the season) when the fruit will be ripening.     


Haiti & Mangoes

We’ve all seen & heard about the horrible situation down in Haiti because of the earthquake. Beyond the physical and emotional trauma inflicted upon the people & their country, natural disasters have long-lasting and far-reaching impact in to agriculture and business.

Found this article in Packer — “The Business Newspaper of the Produce Industry”. I didn’t know this but it seems that mangoes are the number one commodity of Haiti and many of the shipping and export businesses in Port-au-Prince. This will impact the price and availability of mangoes as well as the businesses that rely on that commodity. The aftershocks keep coming.

Very similar to the news down from the Southeast with the freezing temperatures and wet weather. It’s not helping the fruit industry down there. Except for peaches, it seems.

As these natural disasters impact the agriculture businesses around the world, the availability of fresh, affordable fruits & vegetables is reduced. This is where having have local food sources all the more important.

Don’t get me wrong, I love orange juice and mangoes and will probably continue to buy some to help support the farmers in those areas that are impacted by the natural disasters. But the work that City Fruit, and other organizations like it, are doing to ensure that local, healthy fruit is harvested and distributed to those in need in our communities is even more critical now.

And if you haven’t already given to support the aid effort in Haiti, there are a number of agenices I encourage you to support: