Fruits Of Our Labor From The Orchard after just over a year of cultivation with an encouraging crop with hopes for more to come.
We are really delighted with the first crop that we received from the orchard this year. First came the raspberries, followed by the blue berries, attracting a lot of robins to the orchard. Then we started getting the spectacular strawberries that are amazingly sweet with very little tartness. The Tawara pears are small but deliciously sweet and crisp. The peaches are from the two Veteran peach trees we planted in the greenhouse. We have gala apples and goji berries coming soon. Excited!
Fruits Of Our Labor From These Bushes And Trees
Our plants are still relatively young in the ground, but the abundant sunshine and late summer heat seemed to have done the job this year. Here are some shots of the plants themselves from which the berries and fruits came from. This is surprising considering the severe hail damage from the summer before as mentioned in Orchard in The High Plains, followed by a record-breaking cold winter.
A Brutal Winter
This picture taken of the orchard on an Arctic-like day in January this year was pretty discouraging. We were not at all sure if any of our new trees or berry bushes could have survived the deep freeze and thick snow drifts.
A Slow Start and Some Losses
After a slow start in the spring this year, the orchard took off and we started getting our trees back for most part. The pears, cherries, and berry bushes came back with a gusto. Sadly, we lost our 6-in-1 Espalier Apple Tree. We managed to resuscitate the Honeycrisp apple tree after cutting off the dead main trunk to allow the side shoots to take over. It was nice to see the orchard becoming green and full in midsummer.
Giving Street Names To Our Orchard
One of the fun things we did last year was to start naming the little lanes in our orchard. The picture on the left is of the previous year, compared to this year on the right.
Valley View Ave
Here is Valley View Ave that overlooks the valley beyond. The Nanking cherry bushes and Russian sage all grown. These are very good at attracting the bees to our orchard. The Nanking Cherry bushes can also help to pollinate the cherry trees planted close by.
The Nanking cherry bushes are now over 4 feet tall and these were grown from bare root stock. Unfortunately, the blueberries did not even make it through the first summer. We have since replaced them with other blueberry bushes.
The Main Thoroughfare – Orchard Boulevard
This is the main thoroughfare through the orchard that we named Orchard Boulevard. That name was a no-brainer. 😉 The width of this “street” is sufficient for the tractor to pass through.
Cherry Orchard Ln
Cherry Orchard Ln has two cherry trees, two cherry bushes, two strawberry patches, and one pear tree. The two cherry trees are sweet cherries Rainier and Bing, while the cherry bushes are tart Carmine Jewel. We took a chance with these zone 5 trees which we hope will acclimatize. That said, they are in a somewhat protected spot. There are six strawberry plants in each patch. The patch on the left has All Star and Quinalt strawberries, while the one on the right has Seascape strawberries. The pear tree, also on the right is a zone 3 Early Gold.
Apple Tree Ln
Apple Tree Lane has a Honeycrisp apple tree and two pear trees lining it. There is also an espalier apple tree by the fence. We had to replace the crabapple tree with another hardy zone 4 Tawara pear tree. We would have preferred another variety of apple tree but could not find one that is hardy enough for our planting zone. The other pear tree is a zone 3 Golden Spice. The pear trees were the first to return with some blossoms in early spring but unfortunately they did not become fruits.
Espalier Apple Tree
Sadly, our precious 6-in-1 Espalier Apple Tree along the fence did not make it. We replaced it with a new one that has only three varieties of apples as compared to the previous six. 🙁 We do like espalier trees because they take up much less space and create a kind of living wall but they are not easy to find. As such, we did put in two more along the internal fence of our expanded vegetable garden which we will show you in a post coming up soon.
Surprisingly, the crabapple tree is now coming back. You can see it in the pot in one of the pictures above. We will shelter it in the greenhouse when it gets cold and transplant it back into the ground next spring if it survives.
The Grape Vine
The Grape Vine, as the name suggests have four varieties of grapes. We have only seen a few bunches of tiny grapes this year, so we hope that this will improve as the vines mature. The picture on the top is of the previous year, compared to this year on the bottom. The four grape vines from left to right are – Flambeau (seedless), Marquette, Valiant, Trollhaugen (seedless).
Fruits Of Our Labor From The Berry Trail
The Berry Trail has the most prolific growth of all, with the survivors really thriving. We had to replace four out of 10 bushes that died last winter.
In the first box on the far left, we had two Jostaberries. One died and was replaced by a Duke blueberry. The second box has two goji berries grown from bare root with one is currently bearing fruit. In the third box, we had two Baby Cakes blackberries grown from bare root. Only one survived and the another was replaced with a Northblue bluberry.
In the fourth box, we had two Latham raspberries grown from bare root. Both perished and were replaced with two ever bearing Fallgold raspberries. The fifth box has two very cold hardy, summer bearing, Nova raspberries. These are growing very vigorously and produced lots of raspberries in early summer.
Finally, we have Plum Circle on the other side of Orchard Boulevard. Plum Circle suffered badly from the first hail but the two plum trees recovered sufficiently for leafy growth, but no fruits this year. One of them is a zone 3 Toka plum and the other is a zone 4 Mount Royal plum.
There is also an Ivory Silk Japanese lilac tree in the far left corner which suffered badly from the hail storm. Thankfully, it has new growth after we cut off the main trunk. We hope that given time, it will grow into a big beautiful tree.
Preparing for Fall/Autumn and Enjoying The Fruits of Our Labor
As we retire into fall/autumn, we are preparing the plants for winter. This involves removing the hail cloth so that winds and snow will not tear it. We also have to wrap the tree trunks, and add mulch to insulate the root balls from frost. Ironically, the plants do need the wintry rest so that we can enjoy more fruits and berries next year!
The strong and dry winds here make growing fruit trees and berry bushes very challenging and costly. We had to choose the trees very carefully. Hopefully, the trees have acclimatized somewhat and we will not have too brutal a winter this time. For now, it is time to enjoy the fruits of our labor before the cold weather sets in.
Similar Tools Used in This Fruits Of Our Labor From The Orchard Post
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here.
Dewalt Atomic 20V MAX* Circular Saw, 4-1/2-Inch
Black & Decker Corded Drill, 5.5-Amp, 3/8-Inch
Makita XFD12Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2″ Driver-Drill
Metal Roofing Screws: (250) 10 x 1″ Galvanized Hex Head Sheet Metal Roof Screw.