Fruit and Climate

Slowly I’ve been adding fruit to the garden.  We have 2 apples and 2 plums that are getting ready to start their 3rd year.  A row of raspberries that we share with the birds, and a fig tree that has a will to live I’ve learned to respect.  We’ve made our peace.

Gala Apple

Gala Apple

The blueberries I planted 3 years ago died this summer more likely than not because I’m very stingy with water.  We had very little rain this summer and the soil where the blueberries were planted was so poor that the rain would run off before it had a chance to soak in.  I’m a blueberry killer.  We also planted a couple of thornless blackberries.  They give us blackberries the size of my thumb but oh are they sour.  We leave them to the birds.  We have plenty of wild blackberries along the property line.  They are smaller, and I have to brave the thorns, but taste wonderful.

Methley Plum

Methley Plum

I ordered more plants that bear fruit.  They will be here later this month.  2 cherries, 2 goji berries, and 6 blueberries.  Yes I’m trying blueberries again.  I’ve built a new bed, added lots of compost, and checked the pH.  We’ll see.  In the last 2 weeks we’ve had over 12 inches of rain.  The blueberry bed has standing water.  Much of it run off from my industrial neighbors.  I need to work on diverting the runoff.  I hate to think what may be in it.

Brown Turkey Fig

Brown Turkey Fig

A summer with no rain, a fall with rain in surplus.  What will the winter be like?

Last IMG_0679winter was highly unusual.  One storm dumped 18 inches of snow on top of us. Most people  would expect this in Buffalo, NY.  This is not what you expect in the piedmont of North Carolina.  Are these examples of climate change.  There’s no way to know.  Climate defines long term trends not one or two odd weather events.

But the climate is changing. And it impacts the variety of plants we can grow and what pests we’ll encounter.  We’re used to thinking about frost dates (first and last) but how about chill hours?  Will it get cold and stay cold long enough for our apples and plums to flower and set fruit.  What if we have a warm spell  and the blossoms start to open, will we lose them if the temperature decides to go below freezing again?  I don’t like to hear people arguing about whether or not the climate’s changing.  It is; the farmers know it, my mother knows it, and I know it.  And why argue about whether or not it’s man made.  Can’t it be both.

In an ever changing climate I have just one question.  What varieties of fruit should I grow?

Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossoms

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2 thoughts on “Fruit and Climate

  1. These are such important observations and questions, Maria. Two years ago, we had five feet of snow and four months of a bitter winter with -20 to -40 degree temperatures every day. This year, December was rarely below freezing and a sheltered lilac had green buds ready to open before a couple of freezing days. Every year I wonder what will survive.

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