The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Counting my apples before they hatch

Developing apples

I'm trying really, really hard not to get my hopes up about non-berry fruit this year...and failing miserably. The deal is --- we still have 2.5 weeks until our frost-free date, so anything could happen.

That said --- look! Baby apples! This is the moment of truth, when old flowers drop off the trees if they were damaged or went unpollinated. And, yes, the earliest blooming variety lost all of its flowers and even the later bloomers lost up to three quarters of their potential fruit due to a 21-degree night in early April.

Luckily, trees make many more blooms than they could ever turn into apples. So, barring a late, hard freeze, this might be a good fruit year after all.

Grape flower buds

Our apple flowers seem to pretty reliably turn into fruits if they're not nipped, but I'm having to rein in my excitement a bit over our grape vines. The seedless varieties we like to eat are very sensitive to fungal diseases, so I planted a few vines right up against the sunniest sides of the trailer a few years ago in hopes of creating a dry microclimate they can enjoy. This is the first year I've seen bloom buds on those trailer-side vines, so just maybe this year we'll actually get grapes. Fingers crossed!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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