Yesterday I was working on the porch and in the yard for five hours. Winter is leaving us. I’m not putting away the down comforters just yet though, we may have one final kiss of rain, maybe hail like last year. But the days are longer, warmer, sunnier.
The porch was looking pretty shabby. Spilled coffee from the other day, leaves scattered like the forest floor, an old rag rug that was starting to smell rank, plants that had suffered frost bite, barren pots, broken toys scattered about the yards. Our porch is a joy, it is also an extension of our house. We play out there, the boys crazy tree house is there, we have meals, do art work, play games, sip coffee, read…
The yard was looking disheveled as well. It’s that look after a long winter or frost, snow, rain, and neglect. Some of my fruit trees had leaf curl, which was new to me. I had to spend hours researching garden videos on YouTube. Did you know plums commonly get leaf curl from aphids? Did you know ants farm aphids? They get a sweet nectar from the aphids, thus move them about to grow their aphid ranch and protect them from the very predators I’m encouraging to feast on these buggers. Did you also know that nectarines are prone to fungal disease? They show it in leave curl as well.
I spent two days mixing homemade anti aphid spray (2 parts cooking oil, 1 part dish soap and a TBSP of that in a liter of water) and spraying trees with that solution or NEEM oil for the fungal issues, plucking curled leaves, covering trunks in tree grease to get rid of the ants, pruning, washing leaves with water and feeding the trees.
All my beloved fruit, nut, and berry trees were fed, watered well, and tended to. I stripped the beginnings of fruit off the sick trees so they could expend their energy on healing and stripped the blue berries and mandarin. The first two to three years of your citrus and blue berry trees, you need to strip the young fruit so the trees can focus on growing strong and healthy. It is so, SO hard to strip all the that fruit off there but do it know that your making a stronger tree that will produce abundantly in a few years.
I’m shocked at how much fruit all my trees are producing this year. They are still young. We planted them last year at the beginning of the quarantine. When the shelter in took place we ran out and bought trollies full of fruit, nut and berry trees at local nurseries. Today they are mostly healthy and grew so much over the year. They are loaded with fruit.
The garden is growing well, it’s a little wild but things are thriving. I love to take my morning coffee and roam about my vast quarter acre in the mornings, looking over all my fruit and vegetable children. I don’t know how people find the energy for more land than that. I’m quite busy with the mini orchard and big kitchen garden.
The porch was cleaned thoroughly. I got rid of the huge round rag rug, pruned all the plants back, fed and watered, filled empty pots with some new soil and flowers the back neighbor gave me. I swept and washed the porch boards, opened umbrellas in the yard, cleaned up liter from broken toys, epoxied stray dinosaurs and Godzilla’s to fence post, raked, and decorated.
On the side of the house under my living room window I planted corn. It is coming up so we fenced it in so the dogs don’t trample it when I play ball with them. I fed them fish emulsion mixed in the watering can. Corn is such a no fuss crop.
The little roses in front have some fungus and I drenched them in NEEM oil. I planted a few more flowers there as well. All the wild flower seeds are coming up. Bali sprinkled seeds everywhere.
I’m learning as I go. There are issues and it feels overwhelming but you learn so much from every situation and gardening becomes easier and more interesting. There is a solution to everything and we are fortunate to have so many gardeners on YouTube. You can easily find the answer to all your garden problems and fix it.
Bali usually spends the evenings and weekends outside working on the yard and now I get it. There is something about being out there with all that life! The birds chirping, the bees buzzing, the sun shining, the lush greenness and flowery floweriness of spring! I worked hard until the porch was clean and tidy, the yard was in order, the trees treated, and everything loved and nurtured after this winter.
I feel hope when I see the trees loaded with tiny pears and apples and I see my garden filling up with all sorts of green. I think in another few years I will call myself a gardener.😉