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

Extra attention for the perennials

High density apple

Although the fruits are delicious, my favorite part of adding high-density apples to our homestead is the way they prompt me to pay more attention to our other perennials.  Usually, I'm lucky to make one summer pruning pass through the perennials each season, but since I have the high-density apples on my monthly list, I've been going ahead and taking a look at everyone else while I'm at it.  Kayla's hard work weeding, processing garlic, and generally being an energetic and pleasant presence in the garden has also been essential in giving me time to check on the perennials more.  (Thank you, Kayla!)

Prune black

PrimocanesWhich is why I spent Tuesday following up on last month's raspberry pruning.  The reds and blacks are both done fruiting (although the former are already setting new berries for fall), so this year's floricanes can come out.  Usually, I wait until winter to remove the used-up canes, but it seems like acting sooner can only help by giving the new canes a bit more light and air.  Old, branched canes end up in our brush pile, while the smaller primocanes that I decided not to keep wilt down nicely into mulch if placed along the sides of the beds.

Tie up red

Training a plumNow's also a good time to tie up those new, vigorous canes so we don't end up picking berries from a sitting position the way I had to on some plants this year.  This will also keep the berries out of the way of the lawnmower and out of the rot zone close to the damp ground.

As you can see in the foreground of the photo above, the blackberries are in full production mode, so I left them alone.  Next month during our apple-training day, I'll prune out the old blackberry canes and tidy up the beds like I did for the raspberries this week.  But for now, it's time to move on to training our new plums and our frameworked pears.

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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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Nice shirt! I love how you and Mom both wear 20 year old hot yellow shirts, although for different organizations.

Also, I am using the other meaning of visiting when I mention I would like to come for a work day. It is ok if we must do indoor work, like the garlic processing if Kayla ever gets tired! But I especially would prefer doing pruning. Pruning tom.'s was the one most important skill I remembered how to do from Celo, though I think I recall you might disagree with the whether to do or not.

If you want a visit, go on and bake my day! (email me!)

Comment by Maggie Wed Jul 24 18:51:45 2013

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