Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Mow vegetation short around the base of fruit trees and bushes to reduce winter habitat for rodents.

Monthly Archives: November 2013

Winter Protection for Strawberries

Spreading hay mulch on strawberries for winter protection

Why Mulch? As tem­per­a­tures drop and day-length short­ens, straw­ber­ries begin to go into dor­mancy to pro­tect them­selves from win­ter cold. New leaf growth stops, old leaves turn red, and the plants take on a low pro­file “flat­tened” appear­ance. By late Novem­ber the plants have gained con­sid­er­able har­di­ness or abil­ity to with­stand cold. As tem­per­a­tures remain […]

Apple-licious Cream Cheese Bars

Apple-ious Cream Cheese Bars Hot Out of the Oven

As I wrote in a ear­lier post, I had a great time at a friend’s Cider Press­ing Party/Potluck. One of the other party goers brought a deca­dent but sim­ple dessert that was hard not to take sec­onds (or thirds.) I got think­ing later how much fun it would be to try it with fall fruit […]

Taming the Bramble Brush Jungle in 6 Easy Steps

A thick stand of bramble canes

Fri­day past was open­ing day of deer hunt­ing — a per­fect day to stay close to home, given that great gar­den­ing weather was pre­dicted. Both my hus­band and I took the day off, primed to put the fin­ish­ing touches on bed­ding down the gar­den for win­ter. One major project that had eluded us ear­lier was pruning […]

Peach Leaf Curl — Control it Now!

It seems an unlikely time to be spray­ing fruit trees — late fall, as the trees go dor­mant. For Peach Leaf Curl it is the ideal time to pre­vent its occur­rence next spring. It is espe­cially impor­tant to take pre­ven­tive mea­sures if your trees were infected this past grow­ing sea­son. This is one dis­ease for […]

Celebrate the Harvest with a Cider Pressing Party

Getting ready to press cider

This past week­end our neigh­bors threw their annual cider press­ing party. It’s always great fun to get together with friends and wrap up the har­vest before the snow flies. If you are blessed with an over abun­dance of fruit, there is still time to orga­nize your own cider mak­ing shindig. If you are lucky you […]

What Makes a Rich Sweet Cider?

Crates of sweet, tart, and aromatic apples for cider

A good cider, like good wine, is an amal­gam of fla­vors. In this case, I’m going to talk about sweet, not fer­mented cider. Cider pressed from a sin­gle vari­ety tends to be a bit bland. For a rich sweet cider, a mix of sev­eral vari­eties yields the best results. Strive for some sweet, some tart, […]