Mid winter is often considered the best time to prune fruit trees:
- the tree is dormant so sap isn’t running;
- the cold means insects and fungal diseases aren’t going to enter the cutting wound;
- there’s no leaves so you can clearly see the branching structure
I only have three fruit trees: dwarf sour cherry (Romeo, Juliette and Crimson Passion, all from the ‘Romance’ series developed by the University of Saskatchewan), now entering their fourth growing season after planting. The first year there wasn’t much growth – I figure roots were getting established. The next year there were a few blossoms and some growth – I cut off two or three small branches last winter. Last year there was a lot of vegetative growth – branches going every which way (maybe that’s why these particular trees are called ‘bush’ cherries) plus a lot of flower blossoms. No cherries though – some started to form but then fell off while still green; I think it was just too wet last spring.
I needed to prune though and Sunday was the perfect day — not too cold and the snow depth had gone down enough to see where I wanted to cut. Plus, I wanted to spend as much time outdoors in the sun as possible. My goal was to leave branches that grow up, not down, sideways and diagonally. Here is the results for one of them – I hope I didn’t cut off too much.
Dwarf Sour Cherry before pruning
Dwarf Sour Cherry after pruning
I know – the title of this post is a stretch – but I do love a catchy tautogram!
Kohlrabi, greens and Thyme growing in a raised bed
I’m always jealous of gardeners who can maintain a perfectly weed and disease free veggie bed beyond the end of June. You’ve seen pictures of them in glossy magazines (paper or virtual…) – lovely potagers or kitchen gardens, colourful, bountiful and beautiful. Something most of us, I suspect, fail to achieve beyond mid summer.
While at the Landscape Ontario trade show last week I spotted this raised bed. Raised beds aren’t new, I know, but it caught my eye because its shape is sophisticated yet it’s being used to grow edibles. If the walls here were made with natural stone instead of the more affordable decorative concrete block, this would be at home in a backyard in the toniest neighbourhood in town. If this was my raised bed, I’d likely have added Nasturtiums for colour (still edible though) and to soften the edges – but that would change the whole look, wouldn’t it? More to the point, a veggie bed like this just begs to be regularly weeded, harvested, watered, pinched back – all the things that can often get overlooked or ‘put off ’til tomorrow’ when the plants are far below eye level.
Kudos to the students at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture for building this, demonstrating that ‘formal’ can also be useful – and for bringing your mini Monarch house to the show.