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i grew apples

September 14, 2009

zora naki

i grew apples

i’m pretty excited about the first apple harvest (of my whole entire life) – i picked three today off of my espalier apple – a braeburn, a golden delicious and a red delicious. two of them were consumed on the spot, hence the lonely apple in the photo above.

also – peppers!

i grew apples (and peppers too)

much better than last year’s failed crop. of course, without anything in the photo to give them scale, the pictures are deceiving – these are decidedly smaller than what you would get at the store. there were a few spiders lurking in the crevices. but i grew everything without sprays or chemicals or anything other than the fresh compost added to the soil back in the spring. i think the raised beds are helping with the pest containment. or maybe it’s the vigorous undergrowth of clover and dandelions around the plants…

relocating from our house to a rental during the reno saga has been seriously detrimental to my urban homesteading efforts. the freezer is unplugged, the canning jars are packed away in storage, and the garden went without water during one of the hotter summers I’ve experienced out here. in our absence, the blackberry canes invaded. it’s a jungle back there. the cauliflower and broccoli heads came in small and very quickly (overnight it seemed) and had already gone to seed by the time i fought my way to the backyard garden (past the old furnace, around the tarp covering the tool cabinet, through the knee-high dandelions).  the strawberries performed admirably in the early summer but have taken a real beating from the work done – stucco raining down, roofing tile dropped, building paper left in a pile in the middle of the bed (obviously these people are NOT gardeners).

i still can’t seem to keep a male kiwi vine alive. i may need to relocate them – i now have two suspicious deaths on my hands. my thumbs are turning black. i planted potatoes in random patches around the beds and now (of course) with the plants done, i have no idea where most of them are.

don’t mind me. i’m just moping. i’ve been thinking about the amount of garden work in the back yard that i need to do to catch up for next year – ACCKK!

being even partially self-sufficient is so MUCH WORK.

i love being out in my garden and puttering – a little bit here and there. but apparently, for me at least, proximity is key. i don’t know how all of those allotment gardeners do it.

anyhoo, enough of the pity party. i think i’m feeling discouraged because the reno is being held up (again) – we’re on hold for another few days before they can finish papering the building, so we can stucco/insulate/drywall. the gutter/flashing guy made a brief appearance and hasn’t been seen since. i can’t find a window sill that i like. the budget is having issues. everything is great, but i want it to be DONE.



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  1. sweetcomice #
    September 19, 2009

    Well, WAAHOO! for apples right off the tree. What a commitment….planting, caring for, harvesting….the sense that this act involves years instead of a few short weeks (radishes) or three months of attention. We have two dwarf trees, a jonagold, we use for fresh eating and sauce, and something that was mislabeled, I love that, a spartan, which our local apple guy thinks is probably a gravenstein rogue. We bake pies and crisps with that. And give them away. I put in 5 jonagold dwarfs on an espalliar fence three years ago along the road in front of our house, they are now 6 feet tall, make a beautiful screen for this little funky yard, and as neighbors walk by going downtown to the post office I can tell them to grab an apple.

    On another note, I am feeling a bit blue myself. End of summer, facing the other side of that long term commitment to raising your own food, clean up. I love the messy look of the garden. Stuff like bean poles fall down, mold showing up, just how much can be stuffed into a compost bin?

    Just what is all of this commitment/work about? I haven’t followed your writing from the beginning so I don’t know if you have touched on this before…but I think for me the need to grow food and other plants brings me into the world of real Earth time. My world becomes slow and small. Details become important and extremely beautiful. Sort of like watching babies as they sleep night after night.
    thanks for inspiring me.

  2. September 20, 2009

    Lovely – thanks for the thoughtful comment. I like the idea of an apple fence – I wonder if it would grow under the shade of the maple tree on the boulevard?

  3. sweetcomice #
    September 21, 2009

    Well, apples do need a fair amount of sunlight. One reason is their suseptibility to aphids, leaf molds, two critters that love shade and coolness. And light also is what turn on the ripening process. That and a lower temperature as evenings become cool, the starches begin to change to outright sugar.

    Do you have some kind of home gardening extension, or masters gardeners program where you are? there is usually one person in those groups who is apple-crazy and knows the particulars of your region.

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