By Joe Cowan
Director of Operations
Fall is a great time for planting and gardening. Once the weather starts to cool off a little bit and before any serious cold or frost hits I take every moment I can to be outside doing something productive. Fall is my favorite time to plant a new fruit tree. Newly planted trees and bushes require a lot of water to establish their root system, but in cooler weather there is little danger of a plant dying due to dryness. Also, the first season the buds should be plucked off in favor of root development rather than fruit. Most good nurseries will pluck the buds in summer to encourage root growth and save you from the temptation to let your new tree or bush bear fruit the first year.
For our first full size fruit tree, we chose a small Liberty apple tree from a local nursery. A prolific bearer with good tasting fruit, I’ve used it before for making pies and I found the flavor and texture to be really nice. It can be used in many different applications and is disease resistant and hardy. There is something special for me about planting fruit trees. The notion that they will be alive and producing fruit well into and past my old age is a novel idea. The permanence of planting a tree that can last 80 years or longer makes it different than growing annual vegetables. Thinking about George grown up and having the same apples as he did as a toddler will be a wonderful experience for us both. Also, since this tree is a permanent fixture on our property we are taking great care to think about the location with future plans in mind. For this tree, a corner of our new garden bed right next to the stone path will be perfect. It gets lots of sun through the fall months but is protected from too much wind by the nearby woods. We will treasure this tree and hopefully the fruit it bears for years to come.
Happy Spring, everyone! As I type this on an early Sunday morning, we are having a beautiful early spring here in the Northeast. Our new garden fence is up, the garden beds are slowly being made, the greenhouse is nearly finished, and seedlings are in the greenhouse planter boxes. For me, spring represents many things, but on a completely practical level it means the transition from “exercise” to doing actual work with my body. Shoveling, pushing a wheel barrow through mud, pitch forking hay — these are my favorite ways to work up a sweat and start the day.