Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gaining knowledge in the classroom and in the “field” (Part 3)…

Saturday, February 13, I attended a class on "How to Grow Your Own Fruit" with Jon Freeman-Wood (a grower and contractor in Somis, CA.) He was very enthusiastic and encouraging. He rapidly fielded dozens of questions from a large audience. Class was sponsored by Nopalito Nursery in Ventura, and located at the Calvary Chapel next door. Afterward, most of the attendees visited the nursery, which recently stocked fruit trees, in addition to their native and drought tolerant plants. Everything Nopalito sells appears to be very good quality, and they are doing a great job keeping plants looking fresh and healthy. Among others, they are sourcing plants from Native Sons Wholesale and Mountain States Wholesale, and fruit trees from Dave Wilson Nursery via Jon Freeman-Wood.

My fruit tree “field work” and lessons learned:
➢ Keeping citrus canopy as dense as possible to shade limbs and trunk from hot summer sun. Pure luck to have planted most along the (north-facing) south wall, and top of gradual slope over 25 years ago.
➢ Prune trees any time to remove weak, dead, and crossing limbs. Citrus are sensitive, and not as long-lived when pruned severely. Hey, lucky, lazy me!
➢ Don’t plant citrus in strong, full sun exposure – “arms and legs” like some shade (Poor lime and lemons! What was I thinking?!)

Recently, lightly pruned Navel Orange…

Apple tree going bye-bye (way outgrew its space)…

Removal of apple made way for relocation of lemons and lime…

They’re suffering quite a bit, but I hope they survive.

What is left of apple tree will make for some tasty barbecuing next year!

Trying to look on the bright side, but I will miss my homegrown/homemade applesauce. Next year, I may add new, extremely dwarf, low-chill apple and cherry trees along the back of the house. Other thoughts include constructing arbors to support native (or nearly native) grape vines, and balancing desire for “productive” garden vs. drought-tolerant and habitat garden. Or, maybe with careful spacing, I can have it all! Anyone want to weigh in?

Looking forward to attend more classes up at Nopalito Nursery. Check out their website for events listing.

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