Thursday, July 02, 2015

Big Haul of Japanese Plums - First Part of Harvest

One of the fruit trees which has overwhelmed me with its success is our young Methley Japanese plum tree.  Here is last year's harvest (below), and here are my comments from last year, as well as photos of the inside of the plum, which is sweet and juicy and very blood red.  With that rich colour, I'm sure they would make amazing juice.
Modest Methley Japanese plum harvest.

This year, I've been munching plums for a couple weeks now, and finally, with my 14-year-old's help, climbed the ladder and picked about half the plums, which were ripe.  I don't mind letting the birds and wasps have many of the plums (there were many pecked / partly eaten ones), but it would be a shame to let too many of them drop to the ground.  So here we are, with about half of this year's harvest :
Good harvest from my Methley Japanese plum tree - and this is only half!

Not a bad haul, for a tree we've only had for about 4 years now.  Here is the poor tree about 2 weeks ago, with the plums weighing down the branches so they form a weeping shape :
Japanese plum tree full of fruit.

It might be hard to see, but here is a typical branch, from a couple weeks ago :
Japanese plum tree loaded with unripe plums.
The branches were loaded like that from trunk to tip.  Pretty amazing.

As far as my other fruit trees, not so much success.  My italian plum which bore a lot of fruit last year, but had come down with some disease, put out flowers and even had some miniature plums forming in the Spring, but I don't see any now.  None!

My young peach tree gave me so much joy over the past few years.  Here is last year's harvest (below), and see my blog post for more details.
Memories of a beautiful little Frost peach tree and harvest.

Well, this year it put out a LOT of pink flowers, but then didn't follow up with any leaves.  At all.  It looked like it had finally given in to a disease which left many of its tender branches broken and oozing.  It looked really quite painful.  So I continued to water it, and hope, but finally a couple of weeks ago I realized it was not coming back, so chopped it back.  I hope to replace it next Spring.  So sad.
Remains of a dead Frost peach tree and birdhouse (and garden totem)

My little Morello sour cherry tree was purchased in 2008.  Here he is, the following year, showing good potential for fruit production :
Young Morello sour cherry tree.
Funny thing is that he never really grew very much.  And he continued to have the same weird pattern, fruit along the branches, and leaves at the tips.  Except the branches grew longer, so it looked even weirder.  Then last year, something (I suspect a raccoon) broke off the top half of the tree one night, leaving only 1 long branches and a few tiny side branches.  I decided to keep him, and see what would happen this year.

So this year, something again broke the main branch (perhaps crows this time), leaving it pretty much a skinny trunk and some tiny side branches.  I don't think he's worth saving now. he looks pretty pathetic, I will probably replace him next Spring also.  And will try to dig out the hole and add a lot more good soil, while we're at it.
Broken sour cherry tree.

But all is not lost.  My Bartlett pear, which was suffering for many years with a disgusting fungus infection, is doing much better this year, and looks like it may even bear a crop of pears.  Over this past year, the trees behind us were taken down, opening up more sun, and I spent some while removing the moss and lichens from the branches, and even sprayed it before leaf-out this Spring with a homemade mixture of dishsoap and vegetable oil and water.  Any or all of those things seemed to help.

The espaliers are also doing very well, all 3 of them.  And my dear "David" (Davidii involucrata) tree is forming a nice shape :
Beautiful young Davidii involucrata tree (dove tree).
Here he is flanked by two garden totems, made from my ceramic pieces.  If you want an amusing story of how the first totem became an apartment, read this post from May 2015.  When I went out there a couple of weeks ago to install the second totem, the ants and soil had made it all the way up to the top piece.  Pretty weird and amazing.  I wonder how long it take for them to full inhabit the second garden totem?

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