Fruit Trees: Summer Pruning vs. Winter Pruning

Fruit Tree Pruning

To grow the most varieties of fruit on my small suburban lot, I am experimentally trying a technique called Backyard Orchard Culture developed by the fruit tree-growers at Dave Wilson Nursery. Proponents will tell you Backyard Orchard Culture or BYOC (“Bring Your Own Cherry? Citrus? Cherimoya?”) is a great way for space constrained gardeners to [Continue Reading...]

Figs in the Pacific Northwest: Will My Unripe Figs Ripen?

Note: This post has been updated to reflect additional and more accurate information. I don’t think I’ve ever hosed up gardening advice quite so completely as in the first version of this post, but thankfully my readers are amazing and set me straight. Thank goodness for community! I’m getting lots of questions about figs right [Continue Reading...]

How To Grow The Most Delicious Strawberries

Super Delicious Strawberries In Five Easy Steps

It’s strawberry season in the Northwest. Every year around April I give in and buy a plastic clambshell full of gorgeous berries trucked up from California. Winter’s been long, you see, and those berries just look like perfection. And every year, about two months later, I taste my first homegrown berry and I remember what [Continue Reading...]

Cross Dressing Fruit and Frustrated Apple Maggots

One of my readers, Robin, left this comment on the October Garden Tour post, where I showed my espaliered apple tree full of apples wrapped in pantyhose footies: I’m really curious about the cross dressing apples as well. I must’ve missed the post that explained it. Why the sexy legwear? And how big were they when [Continue Reading...]

Adventurers Of A Corporate Gleaner

Location 47.58 degrees North by 122.155 degrees East: a top secret blackberry patch adjacent to the offices of a major mobile communications provider. Date Friday, August 12, 2011 Time 09:34 local, 16:34 Zulu Mission Initial reconnaissance by the operative codenamed “Homebrew” on Thursday, August 11 revealed an exceptionally large blackberry patch at a previously unsuspected [Continue Reading...]

It’s Harvest Time

Yes, summer has been elusive, but that means best quality cool weather crops like lettuce and broccoli. The warm weather stuff has been slow to ripen but I’ve got zucchini and greenhouse cucumbers and the very first cherry tomatoes. And – excitement of excitement – tiny little green beans. I can’t wait to eat fresh [Continue Reading...]

Backyard Orchard Culture: Designing Fruit Tree Quartets

The whole idea behind the Backyard Orchard Culture method is to prune trees so that they produce an extended harvest of manageable quantities of fresh fruit rather than one really big harvest all at once. This is achieved by planting trees with different ripening times and keeping them small through aggressive but thoughtful pruning that includes annual summer [Continue Reading...]

Backyard Orchard Culture: A Mini-Orchard In The Making

About a month ago, I talked about our plans to attempt the high-density fruit growing method called Backyard Orchard Culture.  Well, plans have become reality and the mini-orchard is planted! A few weeks ago our bare-root trees came from Raintree Nursery. A box arrived that was about the size of me. I was very excited to see the [Continue Reading...]

Backyard Orchard Culture: Too Good To Be True?

I have struggled for a few years with a desire to have more fruit trees than my 1/3 acre lot can accomodate. A third-acre is actually pretty big by urban standards, but only one-quarter of our property is given over to edibles. The house, driveway, paths, shady areas and kid’s play area (aka lawn) take [Continue Reading...]

It’s Called Gleaning. No Relation To Glee.

I have a friend, the Shoreline Fruit Lady. Today is her birthday, so in her honor I thought I’d talk about one of her favorite things: gleaning. Fruit Lady is a neighborhood gleaner. She walks around her ‘hood with kids in tow and if she notices a big overgrown plum or apple tree in someone’s [Continue Reading...]

Fruit Tree Grafting Class at Sky Nursury

I went back to Sky for another Saturday of fruit tree education. Bill Davis of the Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation took point and was assisted by Dan Vorhis of Sky (you may remember him from last weeks pruning class). The lecture portion of this class wasn’t as rewarding as the pruning class last week. [Continue Reading...]

Sky Nursery Fruit Tree Pruning Seminar

Today’s 90 minute long class on fruit tree pruning at Sky Nursery in Shoreline was clearly more popular than the good people at the nursery predicted.  I counted chairs for 60, and well over 100 piled into the room.  Dan Vorhis took the class thru the basics of open center and central leader pruning techniques [Continue Reading...]