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

New blooms and fruit set

Apple blossoms

Potted plantsForecast low --- 37 degrees.  Actual low -- 33 degrees at porch height, light frost in the garden.  Luckily, I know how to read our weather forecast, so I took all of our plants in to spend the weekend on the plant table (and dining table) just in case.  We also ate the first delectable asparagus spears so they wouldn't be damaged by frost.

This may not even count as Dogwood Winter since the dogwoods are barely starting to bloom, but I can't help hoping we've gotten off easy.  Light frost isn't enough to bother any of the copious blooms sprinkled around our homestead, and it might not even nip the hardy kiwi leaves.  Time for a tour of the fruit flowers!

At the top of the post, you can see our first real apple blossoms!  Last year, we had a handful of flowers, but this year, the apple blossoms are turning the Virginia Beauty white and pink.  Lots of flowers means the tree probably feels ready to set fruit, so now I can just start hoping none of the disasters occur that could cause that fruit to fail.

Fruit set on peach tree

Our two older peach trees are already setting fruit, which you can tell from a distance by the color of the tree.  Compare the tree above --- a hazy pink from the sepals left behind after most of the petals fell --- to the younger peach below.

Young peach tree

This guy bloomed profusely, but only a few of the flowers stuck.  No wonder --- this Cresthaven peach has only been in the ground for two years and shouldn't really set fruit until 2014.  I won't turn down an early taste this year, though, if it wants to serve one up.

Strawberry flower

The strawberries are also starting to bloom, at long last.  I was really beginning to worry about them, since at this time last year the plants had set fruit, a few of which were already blushing pink.  They're probably smart to wait out the cold weather this year, but I'm itching for homegrown strawberries.

Gooseberry flower

Last year, we enjoyed a few gooseberries from our Invicta gooseberry (planted in 2010), but nothing from our Poorman gooseberry (planted at the same time).  This year, both seem to be blooming, so hopefully we'll harvest more of these tangy fruits.  Mark had never tasted a gooseberry before last year, but they became an instant favorite.

As you can tell, it's been a sort of strung-out bloom season this year, which probably is good for our bees.  Let's hope it's good for setting fruit as well.

Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free addition to the classy chicken coop.

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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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I have to say that I am envious of the spring that you are experiencing. I have been working 60-72 hour weeks during all of the prep time I had, and now that it is over, I am getting a really late start to the season. Hopefully I can get the garden hardy before hot summer, and then I want to quickhoop it to extend the growth again before I plant winter crops.

"Check out my Survivalist Blog at the Clever Survivalist and read daily Survival Guide content."

Comment by Clever Survivalist Blog Survival Guide Sun Apr 21 09:26:39 2013
Here in Zone 5 the weather has been wacky. Literally 83 the one day and snow the next :p My ever-bearing Tribute strawberries are now getting blooms under row cover, one of my haskap has a few blooms, and even one of my new blueberry plants had a bloom. I'm curious, did any of your trees bloom the first spring after planting? My cherry trees that I planted last fall seem to completely skipped that stage....
Comment by MamaHomesteader Sun Apr 21 13:30:17 2013
MamaHomesteader --- Blooming the first year after planting is more common if you plant older trees (which we usually don't) and/or dwarfs. Our dwarf apples are blooming this spring when we only planted them last fall, but I don't recall any of our other trees being that precocious.
Comment by anna Sun Apr 21 15:33:49 2013
Beautiful trees! It always amazes me how much colder it is in the mountains. We used to live in So. Maryland, by the bay and it was much warmer than you.
Comment by Adriana Sun Apr 21 17:00:31 2013

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