By an Act of Congress, December 12 was set aside as National Poinsettia Day. The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States. The purpose of the day is to enjoy the beauty of this popular holiday plant. Here’s a brief history of the Ecke Ranch here in San Diego County where more than 75% of U.S. and 50% of worldwide poinsettia plants get their start.
A lot of your plants may be looking a little stressed right now. That’s okay, it’s just that time of year. Plants are resting, storing up energy for spring growth. The big jobs to focus on this month are keeping the garden tidied up, and mulching for root protection and to prevent soil compaction with the rains that are being predicted. And most importantly, as always, enjoy your garden!
Or Apples for you non-German speakers. Twenty five years ago Mi Esposo got orders to Stuttgart, Germany and we moved there with two small boys right before winter set in. I remember eating fresh, crisp apples at our twice-a-week outdoor market while the kids ate their hot, soft pretzels – good times! This time of year always takes me back to those great years and simpler times.
So, to get back to our Tuesday Trees, I am excited to say that I am harvesting apples now from my Fuji tree. I was in the garden yesterday morning and ate an apple right off the tree. The shine comes from a little buffing on my t-shirt. It was so juicy I was not a very neat eater!
You, too, can grow apples, even on the coast. Coastal areas have 100-300 chill hours so it’s very important to make sure to choose a variety that is low-chill or you’ll never get fruit. If I were to do it again, I would probably plant all Fujis. The taste and crispness are perfect for me. I don’t have a lot of room on my property so I planted my tree on the fence and am keeping it trimmed to espalier. At least that’s what I’m trying to do, but I’m not doing a very tidy job of it. Despite my learning curve, the tree is thriving and I’m getting apples so all is not lost.
The apple (Malus domestica) is a member of Rosaceae, the rose family. January through March is the ideal time to plant apples in their bare-root stage. Plant where they will get good good drainage and full sun. Nitrogen and zinc are two of the most important nutrients to supply apple trees. Fertilizing twice per year, once in the spring and again in the fall, will keep your apple tree vigorous. Glückliche Gartenarbeit!