Sunday, March 20, 2011

Moonlight Singers

Without pruning your apple tree will bear heavy fruit in alternate years.
These are some of the grafts on the tree - this one is maybe on its third year.
This graft is older and as you see it took on the bottom instead of on the top like the other.
I got my scions from Tony Dembski at Maple Valley Orchard and Nursery, Gillett, Wi.
Water sprouts need to be take off.
All of these were taken back to a downward facing bud.
Wow, all these water sprouts need to go.

These are fruiting buds - large buds and on spurs.
This is a stem or leaf bud - thin and terminal on this stem.
The trees pruned and ready for this seasons growth.
The newest cold frame for transplants.
Lettuce that wintered over in this garden cold frame

Early this morning, around 2 a.m., I was up sorting seeds and heard the Whistling Swans (Tundra) calling as they flew through the moonlight on this first official day of spring. Each year I enjoy hearing the flocks of Whistling Swans call as they fly north. In the daylight the white V's are tiny specks high in the sky, but last night as they few through the moonlight dragging spring north with them only their voices announced their presence. Something got me up so as not to miss them as they flew.
This week the apples were pruned. The pictures show the long water sprouts that I was cutting off. These will not produce fruit and need to be cut off. In my pruning I try to get as many fruiting spurs to develop as possible so some of the one year old wood was pruned to encourage down ward buds that might produce flower buds for next season. The fruiting wood for next season will grow this spring and the flowers that I have were produced last season. Fruit buds are larger and in most cases are on a spur. Occasionally some trees produce tip buds but most of my grafts don't. Note the pictures for the difference between fruit buds and stem or leaf buds. I tied some branches downward with soft 45 degree angles to try to encourage fruiting buds to grow. I made loose knots so I could check them during the growing season so as not to gird the branch. Sometimes the same thing can be done with weights. Once, I used clay flower pots to pull branches down.
The cold frame is one I want to use only for transplants so I set it up and then got a big hint that it would look so much better painted. So before today's rain I brought it back into the garage to wait for a warm painting day. The old shower curtain in the frame will be the plastic lid for this one - I like the idea that the plastic is not clear but opaque. That will help with tender plants that come out of the greenhouse to be hardened off outside.
I have started to fill the rain barrels by the greenhouse. The first one filled with today's rain and so now I should set the other four up to fill. Last summer we did not need them but since they are close to the cold frame and the EarthBoxes I use that water for those plants - nice to have it close.
Most of the last snow went with today's rain so I was glad I got the pruning done. Too wet in the cold frames to plant and cleaning my basement work space to get back to lamworking meant that the seeding I thought I might get done - didn't. Certainly the packets are in good order due to last nights sorting.
Happy Gardening


  1. I am amazed at the difference a few HOURS made in the photos. Snow to no snow. And I know it was mere hours. What is the window of opportunity for pruning on apple trees?
    Miss Milwaukee

  2. Hi MM,
    OK, you got me. I could not finish the pruning in one day so I took a couple and in the meantime the snow went - but its back today!
    February and March are the best while early April is OK but the sooner you get your pruning done the better for the trees. Pick a sunny day and go to it.
    Happy Gardening