Tuesday, March 31, 2009

21 degrees

That's how cold it got Saturday morning in our frost pocket. It's the late-March freeze I talked about when explaining why I plant my spring veggies in coldframes. It doesn't happen every year, but often enough to force me to take precautions.

Of course, any apple blossoms and baby apples were zapped. (The Braeburn apple that I featured the other day blooms especially early). Fortunately, unopened flower buds are quite hardy.

One of my research projects was to identify apple varieties that bloom late enough to avoid frost. This seemed like important information for a survival orchardist to know. For several years, I kept records of when my apple trees started blooming. I identified several promising varieties. Someday I'll go through my records and see if I can draw some conclusions.

My red mulberry tree next to the Ark's river deck got zapped as well. During the early 90s I spent several thousand dollars on edible trees, shrubs and vines: "Try them all and let God sort them out." I tried several varieties of mulberry and discovered that some varieties wouldn't grow here at all. (I blamed the alkaline soil or alkaline water). The varieties that grew well bloomed very early, so most years they'd get zapped by frost. If they avoided frost, birds would eat the fruit as soon as they showed color. So I cut most of my mulberry trees down. I left the red mulberry because it's a nice little tree, not for the fruit. Now it will leaf out several weeks late because the backup buds have to activate, and they require considerable heat. No sense rushing into things after getting zapped, after all. Just like real life.


Anonymous Jacques Conejo said...

I get such a kick out of you and your perspective.

"Just like real life".

You're a funny guy, Mr.Gordon.

Thanks for the "homestead" update and informative revelations...


7:24 AM  

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