Thursday, July 31, 2008

Feelin' Fruity

I love fruit! My small suburban lot is home to several fruit trees which are mildly successful in providing fruit.

Plum - I have a plum tree of undetermined variety that in 2007 produced enough nice, juicy plums to make some jam. And it was pretty good! In 2008, though, it didn't make as many plums but it did make quite a few. Before they could ripen they began to disappear. Not fall on the ground but just evaporate! What in the world? Birds will peck holes in them but this wasn't what was happening. Then, one evening I was sitting in the backyard and saw a very chubby squirrel running along the top of the fence with... no! of my plums in his greedy little mouth! I couldn't believe it. I know squirrels eat nuts and seeds but plums? And here comes his buddy with another plum. Good grief. My husband used to say squirrels are just rats with fluffy tails, so here we go with the rat issue again. Trying to avoid poisoning them (I admit they are one of the cute rodents, even if they are pests) I purchased a big plastic scary looking owl and hung it in the tree. Too late for this year but maybe it will help next year.

Pomegranate - Pretty good crop this year. It's still a relatively young bush but there are around a dozen fruit on it. The problem with pomegranates is getting the seeds out is not an easy proposition but they sure are tasty. And good for you. They ripen in the fall so maybe my lettuce will be ready about the same time so I can have a really lovely salad.

Lemons - Two trees this year. Little trees but prolific for their size. I have a Meyer Lemon and a Verigated Eureka Lemon. Meyers are a sweet lemon (still too sour to just eat all by itself) and Eurekas are very sour. Both make good juice, the Meyer producing a little more juice per fruit than the Eureka. I'll have ripe fruit in late October or early November. Yum! Lemon meringue pie for Thanksgiving!

Peach - I have a small La Feliciana peach tree. I got it too late this year to have peaches but should have some nice freestone peaches next June. The label that came with it says it requires 550 chilling hours. What is a chilling hour? How low does it have to go? It says it is disease resistent, heavy bearing, and ripens in mid-July. grows 20' tall and 20' wide. Prune in late winter. This variety was developed by LSU. Geaux Tigers!

I'll probably add some berry plants - blueberries and blackberries. Just not sure where to put them. Will have to research their needs regarding sun, water, and soil and see if I have a spot that matches.

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