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Fruits Of Our Labour Part 1 with Update

I've never been much of a gardener... I don't have a green thumb, I forget to water everything, I don't pick weeds... Sounds like a disaster, right? I have always loved and appreciated nature, but never had an inkling to garden or even have a house plant.

So why the change of heart? I'm going to say having babies of my own. Suddenly, groceries are getting out of hand and fresh fruit was looking like a luxury item. Cue social media fear mongering about what is on/in your food and postpartum me was riddled with anxiety.

But now that I'm sitting here thinking, I have deep core memories attached to gardens. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother growing up and she had a vegetable garden and a lot of flower beds. I have vivid memories of helping in the garden, and watching the flowers. I think that's where my deep love of Tiger lilies come from.

Getting a bit off track here, but my absolute favourite flower of all time is the Japanese Cherry Blossom. So when I went with my family Greenhouse hopping (Oh no, am I old?! Lol) I went to look for the strawberries, as I already had it in my head that on top of my vegetable garden I want berries as well. I walked outside and there she was, it was love at first sight. A beautiful, in full bloom, cherry tree. We went about our day and for the rest of the week, all I could think about was that tree.

I found out that this tree will self pollinate, meaning I only need one. Great! I am in Zone 3b, so this tree is a Romeo cherry tree. (Sour cherry) So most likely not for fresh eating, but I really only wanted it for the flowers...

I got talking to some friends and thought getting an apple tree might be fun too! Since apples are so well rounded, fresh eating or baking/preserving. A few elderly ladies swore by Goodland apples. I looked it up, (matched my love of pink-ish blooms) one website says up to 20 weeks in cold storage?! (Due to a slow oxidization rate apparently) Well, I'd be silly to not try. But in doing research, apple trees do NOT self pollinate, so you need two trees. There was only one Goodland, and the woman at the Greenhouse recommended a Hardi Mac, so that is what we got. Now that I'm home though, I wish I had went with a Honeycrisp. I heard they don't do as well in our climate but I guess only time will tell. After all this, I went to a garden centre at a box store and picked up a Saskatoon bush, a blueberry bush, and a different colour of Lilac. (We already have the light purple type that my mother in law planted here when they lived here about 30 years ago)

Blueberries and Saskatoons both are able to self pollinate, but will yield substantially better with more bushes around! I plan on getting more blueberry bushes probably next spring and luckily for me we have saskatoons growing in the forested area around our house! But we will most likely let this bush turn into a hedge as I have a plan for the fruit patch to double as a peaceful garden spot to read books and enjoy the scenery.

We got the trees home with minimal damage, and they stayed in the pots for a few days while we planned out where to put them. Trees love water, so you absolutely do not want them to dry out if you can't plant them right away.

We dug the holes about 1.5 to 2x as deep as the tub that they came in, and twice the width. In our area we have hard black dirt for about a foot and then any deeper is just clay and rocks. So we had to bring in a lot of extra dirt for back fill. I mixed the bottom dirt with bone meal, and then watered the trees with a root booster since I really wanted them to do well. You must water your trees a lot when you first transplant them! The roots aren't established so it will struggle to uptake water.

Transplant stress! It is a real thing, and you need to support your tree! (I mean, even with water and fertilizer my Hardi Mac still doesn't look well and when I'm writing this they've been planted for 3 weeks and a few days)

What nobody tells you about having trees, is it's almost like having more children. I am constantly stressed about them, if they are getting enough nutrition, if we're getting inclement weather!

Picture of a young apple tree with wilted leaves.
Pictured here is the Hardi Mac a few days after transplant. It still kind of looks like this at 3 weeks in the ground.

Picture of a young apple tree with wilted leaves.
Pictured here is the Goodland apple tree, a bilt wilted. Looks much better now at 3 weeks in the ground.

A young cherry tree with wilted leaves.
Pictured here is the Romeo cherry tree, it has done the best with transplanting and has a few inches of new growth on the branches at 3 weeks in the ground.

Another thing you need to be aware of is wildlife! I ran out of deer fence and since I hadn't seen the deer lately I thought I'd be fine... WRONG! They decimated my blueberry bush to the point of I wasn't sure if it would live and they ate the branches of my one tree that wasn't fenced. (The Hardi Mac, of course the one that seemed to be struggling)

Happy to say that at a bit over 3 weeks there is new growth on the blueberry bush, but it might not produce any berries for a couple years. Lesson learned.

I was going to wrap the fence around the trunk of the trees but it wouldn't keep the leaves protected so we decided to go with a perimeter fence and so far we've had major success in keeping unwanted munchers out.

Another thing I did was I added straw mulch to the base of the trees, just because I have an abundance of it available to me. It definitely keeps the dirt from drying out and so far I haven't had any weeds or grass growing in the dirt around the tree. I made a doughnut shape with the straw, so it is not touching the tree to keep the air circulating. Apparently it can rot the tree if you have the mulch too close to the tree and that's something I didn't want to chance.

Pictured is the straw mulch and the deer fence around the Goodland tree.

Birds are another predator of the fruit, I've already had them in my strawberries! Luckily they didn't damage the plants and there was no fruit yet, so I quickly set up cages for all of my plants since I didn't want to risk anymore losses. It's a little bit red neck, but it'll have to do for now. So far, I've gotten to feed all the strawberries to my babies, so I'll take that win!

Wire fence around a garden to protect it from animals.
The deer fence cages around the strawberry patch and what is left of the blueberry bush.

The last thing I need to finish off the fruit garden is the raspberries! I'll be taking plants from my mother in law and my mom. We have raspberries growing in the bush here (and everywhere!) but they just don't produce. So what little berries they do make can be for the animals.

I'll be sure to update the progress of the trees and the fruit patch, and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes! Or, learn from my (hopeful) success!

Happy gardening!

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