Saturday, May 30, 2015

Our New Grafted Apple Trees

After a one-day deluge last week, the plants (and weeds) are making great strides in this warm spring Summerland weather.  The tourists are roaming around our Bottleneck drive neighbourhood, with wine tour buses regularly passing our house (should I wave?).  I was too busy to photograph the irises as they bloomed in the last few weeks, but the cheddar pinks (Dianthus gratianapolitanus) are looking great in the perennial beds.  I appreciate their compact shape with a dense show of deep pink flowers over blue-green foliage.  I certainly would love to have more of these.
Cheddar pinks (Dianthus gratianapolitanus) - May blooms
In the realm of edibles, the new apple nursery is now established with 4800 trees.  I believe these are called bench grafts, with the tops (scions) collected from Ambrosia trees early this year and grafted onto specific rootstock by a nursery in Summerland.  They looked like twigs going into the ground, but in the last week, have produced some leaves.  They will eventually be dug up and and moved to their final locations next spring, where they will grow as a high-density orchard.
Newly planted grafted apples

The old-style orchard: Macintosh apples this week

One of our table grapes - planted this spring
 The vegetable garden has produced a tidal wave of spinach, leaving us searching online for spinach recipes and blanching and freezing some for future use.  There will be spanakopita and spinach salad for every meal!  I've even tried playing YouTube Popeye videos for subliminal messages to the children.  I think smaller, spaced out successive plantings would have been better, but the initial garden efforts were a bit enthusiastic.  Next year, we will try for more self-control.
Greens in the stock tank raised beds
So far, the stock tanks are working well as raised beds.  We still have to hand-water them from the top, as not every plant will have deep enough roots to reach down to the damp soil closer to the reservoir on the bottom. I have faith that the tomatoes will eventually reach down and tap into the available water though.  They have big root systems. 

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