Tuesday, August 2, 2016

With a Cherry On Top

Photo is of the cherries before fully ripe.
A good lesson learned. Last year I did not water my cherry trees enough and the cherries were small and not in great abundance. This year I watered heavily. The only thing getting watered heavily in this severe drought is the fruit trees and the garden. Though the garden is still dry due to wind and high temperatures. I just can't stay ahead especially since we have been running around a great deal picking up parts to work on remodeling the house.
One cherry tree died last winter. Don't know why. It could have been the warm winter and the sap in it could have run at the wrong time when a colder spell hit. Who knows but shoots are coming up in abundance from the roots. My research does not indicate that cherry trees are grafted like apple trees. Anyone know that for certain. Cherry trees and I have no history. Okay, maybe we do. I tried growing some in the last place we lived and they all died. Pretty hard to get things to grow there.
We had one apple tree die here also though it was nearly dead when we moved in. We had one in the property we previously lived in also. They both came back up from the roots and the base tree is a crab apple. That is okay as you should have one crab apple with your apple trees I've read for blooms every year to help with the pollination of your apple trees. The cherry tree shoots I'll just let grow and we shall see what we get. I'll let them grow until early next spring when I decided on one main shoot for my new tree. We still have winter weather in the spring so the sap won't be running yet. The hardiest shoot gets picked.
My Nanking cherry starts I put in last year are growing slowly though they have been fertilized a couple times already this year. Not sure what is up there but I will put in some horse manure from the neighbors this fall after we haul our hay for the same trailer is used for both. Hopefully that will help.
Being a newbee to growing cherries, I did a slight bit of research. I did an Oops, I picked the first bucket of cherries too soon. They were a bit small but I juiced them and now have a half gallon of juice to make pancake syrup with. I put the jar in the freezer to tend to later when the weather cools. Right now beans and other crops are demanding my attention.
From my research I learned that sweet cherries bloom earlier than tart. Not a problem since we can't grow sweet ones up here as far as I know. Anyway I don't have one.  Cherries will not ripen once removed from the tree. Good to know and I did notice that with the bucket of them in the fridge. Most of the cherries came ripe all at once. Not sure if that will always happen but it was nice to do one big picking. Research said otherwise but I suppose the weather fiddles with that. My one problem was as I was busy picking the cherries from the upper branches and the little grand kids from the bottom, I failed to notice our four year old  meticulously snipping off the stems  down to the base of the cherry. I can't believe how many she got done. Oh what fun that was trying to pull the teeny tiny stems from the cherries when I prepared to freeze them. NOT!! 
We used scissors to harvest so as not to disturb the woody fruit spur, which continues to produce fruit each year. Not sure exactly what that part looks like so I figured leaving on some cherry stem would be smart. Second bit of advice I read said to leave the stem on if you were not going to be using the cherries right away as it helps keep the cherries fresher. Good to know and I am sure that is why they are like that in the stores.
Not sure how large the cherry trees will become. I think mine are  a dwarf kind. I hope so as it makes for easier picking and less watering. We had some cherries last year so I'm guessing you get cherries every year just some years the cherries come in  greater abundance.
If you have cherry tree advice send it my way. So many things to learn in this new location.

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