A few weeks ago I was ready for a lazy Sunday afternoon nap, when the MR said hey, let’s go to Flower World. I’m not one to say no to a trip to the local mega-nursery with my guy, so there went my dreams of sleep and I hopped in the truck.
We were on the hunt for a few more fruit trees. When we were shopping for my birthday, the pickings were slim. We couldn’t find a single plum tree. We had a Hollywood plum at both of our first two homes, and the girls and I are partial to their giant red-skinned fruit with sweet red flesh. Maybe we’d have better luck this time.
The MR wanted to get them home and in the ground before they were all leafed out. Despite an early spring snow and closed mountain passes that put a kink in this past weekend’s plans, spring has come to the Northwest. Trees are easier to transport and at less risk of damage when they aren’t leafed out or in bloom.
While the selection was good, we only found a Hollywood plum in the dwarf variety. We have almost 30 acres, so we have room for large trees. The dwarf apple and pear trees at our old house never produced well. So we decided to go with something new, and chose two semi-dwarf Japanese plums–Shiro and Beauty.
While we were searching, we came across some nectarines as well. We had planted a nectarine tree at our old house a few years ago. I was sad when we left to chaperon a volleyball retreat and the nectarines ripened while we were away. I did manage to salvage a few of those sweet, juicy gems.
The fruit was delicious, but the MR was frustrated by the “leaf curl” fungal disease that infected the tree. This time, we tried to look for a disease-resistant variety, but of course the tags and info boards didn’t mention anything about that. One of the best ways to be successful with fruit trees is to look for disease-resistant varieties that are grown for your specific climate.
We ended up winging it again and buying a Fantasia nectarine. The tag read, “One of the new promising varieties for the Pacific Northwest.” That tells us absolutely nothing, but we hope it means it won’t fall prey to fungal disease and will do well with just mild amounts of heat and sun. I guess we’ll see come August.
I do have to be realistic, even though these are three-year-old trees, they are all newly planted. The MR put them in the ground as soon as we got home. I’ll have to be content with little to no harvest this year, but a girl can dream.
In order to keep myself organized, I took off all the tags and made a harvest schedule. At our old house, the plum trees were simply the purple one and the green one. We knew we had a Granny Smith apple but had no idea what the other one was. Along with their variety, I typed up their descriptions, whether they needed a pollinator, and the projected harvest times. I was quite pleased to see we have trees scheduled for harvest spread out evenly from June through late October.
Of course, harvest times can vary due to temperatures. We’ve had some very cool springs and summers, where the plums ripened quite late. This simply gives me a starting point. While we’ll be enjoying plumcots in June, I won’t start looking for nectarines until Sweet Miss’ birthday in mid-August.
Along with searching for varieties that do well in our climate, we chose trees with an open vase shape and nice full buds that appeared to be thriving. I was surprised to notice a hollow below the grafting spot on one of our apples that we purchased last fall. I need to investigate how to keep it healthy.
I’m excited to watch as our little orchard grows. I can’t wait to see what we end up eating this summer and fall.
How is your garden growing? Have you added any new trees or shrubs?