Category Archives: Plants

Off With Its Head!

March 3, 2017

The bold Honeycrisp is too tall! “Bring down the height and the apples are within reach, plus the ladder can stay in the shed.” We all nod with approval. Ingela is convincing.c-wp_hc-before-20170218_006c-hc-after-wp_20170218_007

Eight of us gathered in February to enjoy Ingela’s annual pruning class. She walked around each tree, backed up, pondered, then attacked. Swiftly and gracefully, she snipped, sawed, and talked us through the process.

 

 

 

Ingela will train the new Harrow Delight pear to a central leader so we have different training styles in the orchard. She carefully ties down the new scaffold branches, denying their desired upright position.sm-pear-before-wp_20170218_001sm-pear-after-wp_20170218_004

 

 

 

 

Tips from Ingela for your bypass pruners:

  • * For an effective tool – Always keep a sharpening tool for your   pruners on your belt.
  • * For sanitation – Have a bottle of 50% water 50% alcohol in your tool belt.
  • * For clean cuts – Adjust your pruners so there is minimal play between the blades.
  • * Annual cleaning – Note the bolt that locks the pruning blades. When you take the tool apart for an annual cleaning, add a little lithium grease.

What a pleasure to watch an excellent tradesperson. Ingela’s ease with trees comes from years of pruning plus a complete knowledge of how fruit trees grow.

Join us some time in April when we graft a Rescue scion onto the new Harrow Delight pear tree. We should get better pollination from this strategy, but it’s just as much an excuse to provide a fun educational experience.

Ruth Callard

Please Welcome Chris Waldref to the Orchard

February 14, 2017

Thanks to the efforts of City Fruit, we have a paid intern to review our stewardship of our fruit and sm-chris-wp_20170209_13_57_09_pronut plants. Chris Waldref (see photo) will critique our orchard management plan and ensure that we follow it (see plan documents in the Library Page).

Chris was born and raised in Seattle. After studying Environmental Science at the University of San Francisco and then living for a short period in Spokane, he is glad to be back in his home town. He worked with City Fruit last year as a Pest Prevention Steward and Harvester and is very excited about his new role as Freeway Estates Community Orchard Advisor. He is eager to help with orchard plan development and assessment. Chris is interested in urban ecology and enjoys spending time in our city parks and green spaces.

Sat, Feb 18, 1-3, Pruning Class
Sun, Feb 19, 2-4, Work Party
Sun, Mar 19, 2-4, Work Party

Chris will visit at various times throughout the year, making observations and gathering valuable data. I know our volunteers are looking forward to having an outsider take a fresh look at our methods.

Ruth

Planning for 2017

sues-jan-lettuce-wp_20170115_001January 31, 2017

Eleven thoughtful volunteers met this month to sketch out a vision for the coming year. The Cider Fest will be our key event, we will add a few more fruit trees and bushes and the food bank bed is expanding. (Note Sue’s gorgeous December lettuce, photo taken just after three periods of below freezing temperatures!)

There is plenty of work just to maintain what we already have in place so we curbed some dreams to be respectful of our existing resources. In addition to our regular workers, If we can entice everyone who volunteered within the last couple of years to come to just one work party in 2017, we should be able to keep the orchard looking lovely. Several volunteers are committed to volunteer recruitment, including a summer work party posting to Seattle Works.

nora-and-liz-on-ivy-wp_20170115_003You will see more elderberry and fig trees this year and you will see less English Ivy. Nora, Liz and Ellen are driven to ivy removal and, by the end of this year, the native plant area should be appropriately named!

Also, we are hiring. Please see our Library page for three documents that relate to this position.

We are looking for a fruit tree specialist to review our orchard management plan, make plan recommendations, visit the site monthly to make plant and soil observations and ensure the management plan is being followed by volunteers. City Fruit has graciously offered to help us with the interview process and this position is posted on their website.

We are estimating that the job will take 20 hours minimum, spread out over the course of 2017, and we are willing to pay $15-$30 per hour, depending on the candidates qualifications.

We need more than one volunteer who is committed to learning all that he or she can about the care of fruit trees. In order to continue high standards for tree care and to continue to offer educational events related to urban agriculture, we hope to find someone who wants to practice their management skills with fruit and nut trees. This internship offer is our part to increase the pool of qualified orchard stewards in the Puget Sound area.

Sat, Feb 18, 1-3, Pruning Class
Sun, Feb 19, 2-4, Work Party
Sun, Mar 19, 2-4, Work Party

Kudos to all for 2016 improvements above and beyond maintenance:

•    Revised orchard walking tour flyer
•    Productive Food Bank bed, plus
•    Four new successful gardens
•    Native plant area development: 4 new plants plus non-native plant purge
•    New rolling drawer under table in shed
•    Bountiful harvest from all beds and fruit and nut trees and berries
•    New outdoor bench
•    Newly planted persimmon, pear and mulberry trees
•    Milkweed installation as part of the Endangered Species Coalition effort to provide food for Monarch butterflies
•    Events! Successful pruning class, Night Out and Cider Fest
•    Productive work with Hazel Wolf students and Kids Co students
•    Hosted CityFruit bike tour
•    Beautiful new artistic paver pathway to herb spiral
•    New volunteers and new gardeners, Ryan and, soon Michael, Stuart and Mitch
•    Regular City lawn mowing
•    Grape trellis installation and wiring added
•    Regular monthly blogs
•    Development of orchard management plan
Ruth