Thin It Out – Part II

I sat down to leaf through my gardening magazines and came across an article in the June/July 2010 issue of ‘Organic Gardening’ magazine about fruit thinning that shed more light on my rather vague post of a few days ago.

The article talks about apple tree thinning in particular. The natural fruit drops that occurs as an apple tree sheds excess fruit as a natural thinning process that is normal for apple trees. The more fruit a tree brings to fully ripe and ready to be picked, the more energy the tree is expending on developing the fruit and keeping the tree healthy. If a tree has a particularly heavy crop one year, it is less likely to bear so much fruit the next. Even with the natural fruit drop it is usually helpful to do more selective thinning of little apples (the article says the size of a dime) to promote a better crop.

So, how to thin…. The article says to start with diseased or deformed apples first, then identify the largest apple in the cluster and remove the other apples around it. The rule of them is to have the apples spaced approximately six inches apart along the limb.

I was glad to find this information and, in retrospect, it makes total sense.

Mi Esposo gets the job done!

Mi Esposo stepped up and put in another couple of hours for me in the yard on Sunday. First, he weeded in the backyard, which is awful work because the weeds poke up between the bricks, and it is very labor intensive. If it was left up to me, we’d have a sort-of faux lawn back there because I would never get around to weeding. I have other things to do, such as wandering around the front yard with my coffee, talking to fellow gardeners, looking at seed catalogs, watching the birds at the bird feeder, wondering what I could plant if I had an acre, wondering what else I could plant vertically, wonder if I should move this plant over there, or that plant over here – well, the list never ends, but it IS important stuff to think about….if you are me!

Mi Esposo, on the other hand, is a man of action. “Let’s get the job done”, “We’re burning daylight”, and “Earth to Lessy” are some of his classic lines because usually I’m multi-tasking badly (for a sampling, read above!) and he’s standing around waiting for me to stop coming up with new ideas for garden projects. Anyway, he accomplished some big projects on Sunday, my favorite being the Strawberry Wall.

Basically he created a terraced wall on top of a raised bed that, historically, hasn’t been a very productive plot. I HAVE been having good luck with the few strawberries I had planted there already, so I decided to go with success and add to the strawberry crop. The strawberry pots I had in another part of the garden weren’t growing well, I think because the terra cotta gets too hot, so I moved those plants into the new section.

Voila! Project completed.

We’re off to a good start thanks to Mi Esposo!

A New Day….

After a week of blustery rain, the sun came out today and the garden came to life. I was glad to spend time outside with my plants. There was a bit of wind damage, but rain has a way of making plants look so vibrant and fresh. A good flushing does wonders.

I assessed the garden to see what kind of damage occurred from yesterday’s hailstorm. This echeverria’s tender leaves show how hard the hail came down – hail holes! Fortunately, that was the worst of it.

Damage from hail

I had to fill up the bird feeders because the birds were out en masse and they were hungry! This pretty little bird is a House Finch.

I found a special treat today – a new butterfly just emerged from its cocoon. It spent the day sunning itself, looking more vibrant as the day went by. A little miracle….

Purslane – Weed or Feed (the family!)

I’ve pulled a lot of these “weeds” out and thrown them into the compost trash. I could have been throwing together a salad.

Purslane - if you are going to pull it then maybe you should eat it!
Purslane - if you are going to pull it then maybe you should eat it!

Some facts about purslane that you might find interesting.

Recipes and a recipe for Mexican Purslane Stuffing.