Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How many fruit trees are enough?

Last year we had an amazing crop of just about every fruit that I grew.  I have apricot, plum, pear, apple, cherry, peach, nectarine, orange, lemon, pomello, grapefruit, kumquat, fig, loquat, mulberry, persimmon, pomegranate, olive, and probably others that I'm forgetting.  Last year we canned until I ran out of canning jars, I gave fruit to my grown kids, we dried fruit chunks and fruit rolls, oldest daughter sold some at their lemonade stand, and some even went to the animals. 

This year I don't even know if we will have enough to keep us in fresh fruit.  Today I went out to water and check on the trees.  I ate the first four ripe cherries straight off the tree.  It brought back memories of last year when we stood next to the cherry trees and just stuffed ourselves until we could stuff no more!  Today I probably ate 1/4 of all the cherries I saw on all four trees!  I didn't see any apricots on the tree apricot trees.  Two peach trees have some fruit and two have none! 

What's going on here?  I know that you can have fantastic yields one year and smaller yields the next but nothing at all?  The trees look really healthy.  Then I remembered.  We had a freeze after the trees had bloomed.  It didn't seem like a hard freeze and didn't last too long that night.  I do remember when it happened that the tips of the persimmon tree all died back.  That was the only damage I remember seeing.  I guess it didn't hit me that all those blossoms were in peril. 

It's good that we canned and dried so much of the fruit last year.  If we had to live off of what these 50 plus fruit trees are going to produce this year I don't know if we'd go hungry or not without that backup.  It's something that I will have to think about to hold us over for not only this season but all the way until the summer of 2013 when the fruit starts filling our bellies once again.  I suppose I'll have to concentrate on saving some of the grapes and raspberries rather than eating everything in site.  Since we are new to mulberries, last year was our first really good crop, I am going to have to learn to make mulberry jam and also mulberry fruit rolls.  

I'm wondering if I should try to find more fruit trees and stagger the ripen dates.  I know this spring I purchased to peach trees that are ready for picking in late September or early October.  I wonder if they'll flower as early as the peach trees that are ready for picking in August?  If they bloom later it would probably be a good idea to try to plant a few more trees with varying ripening dates.   

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