//www.azplantlady.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/appletreeArizona-1.jpg 900 1200 firstname.lastname@example.org //www.azplantlady.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/favicon.png email@example.com 18:20:002016-10-26 14:35:40Friday on the Farm: Apple Blossoms, Cabbage and Chickens
Yesterday, I spent the morning on the family farm pruning apple trees.
It was a nice break from a very busy week of landscape consulting and I was looking forward to spending time with my mother, who resides on Double S Farms with my youngest sister and her family.
The sun was rising up in the sky and the day promised warm temperatures in the upper 70’s with our unseasonably warm winter.
Now at this point, you may be noticing that the trees were already in flower and that we were getting to pruning them a bit late in the season. Ideally fruit trees are pruned just before the buds begin to open.
But, even though we were pruning them late, it won’t make a huge difference and will improve the size and quality of our apple crop.
You’ll notice that the apple trees are located behind a wire fence. Well, there is a good reason for that…
And their names are Sodapop and Johnny.
Soda is the daughter of our dog Missy, who passed away last year at the age of 13.
Johnny is a 3-legged doberman rescue dog who is so friendly and exuberant.
You see, the dogs love to eat the apples from the trees. Especially Soda who does her best to reach them up high.
You can read about Soda’s previous exploits here.
The problem is that the seeds of apples contain small amounts of cyanide and if dogs consume too many, they can have problems. So the fence is up, much to the dismay of Soda and Johnny.
Pruning trees is one of my favorite things to do and although as a certified arborist, I talk to my clients a lot about trees, I don’t prune their trees. Instead I give them advice on how to prune them theirselves or refer them to a certified arborist company who does it for them. So, my tree pruning is primarily focused on my own and my family’s.
Armed with a pair of loppers, hand pruners and a pruning saw, I took a moment before beginning to smell the sweet fragrance of the apple blossoms.
In the midst of our pruning, my granddaughter, Lily, showed up. She proved to be a good helper and moved the small branches into a pile.
We focused on cleaning out the interior branches, which are hard to get pick apples from. In addition, we also pruned off some of the taller branches so that come apple-picking time, we could more easily reach them. Once we finished, we had pruned away a quarter of the tree, which will allow it to focus its resources on growing the remaining flowers, which will turn into apples.
For info on how we have pruned fruit trees in the past, click here.
My mother took a few of the cut branches and brought them inside and put them in a vase where they will offer beauty and fragrance indoors for a few days.
Now it was time to turn our attention to the vegetable gardens. My mother has two large, raised beds where she grows a variety of delicious vegetables.
Lily wanted to feed the chickens some lettuce from the garden.
The resident chickens of Double S Farms, love lettuce.
Next, great-grandma needed Lily’s help to pick a cabbage from the garden. It was huge! I only wish that I liked cabbage.
I asked my mother how she uses it and she told me that she uses it in soups, but blends it ahead of time so no one knows that it is in there.
Lily wondered if the chickens would like cabbage and it turned out that they liked it better than the lettuce.
Before leaving the gardens, Lily had to pick a flower. Like many little girls, she loves flowers and carries them around smelling their fragrance.
The white petunias belong to Finley, my nephew, who gets a small plot in the vegetable gardens to plant what he likes.
As we got ready to leave, I noticed a beautiful, little bouquet made up of petunias on the kitchen table. Who knew that petunias could make such a sweet bouquet?
Visits to the family farm are always refreshing and it was great to enjoy a morning out in the sunshine gardening.
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."