The central feature of backyard orchard culture is that you manage the size of your fruit trees through zealous pruning. After our fruit trees have spent the last year becoming acquainted with our garden, I’ve been so pleased with their verdant happiness this spring (with the exception of the dead fig trees). Still, I knew I’d have to lop off a bunch of that greenery, and tree butchering day was today. I definitely feel like a butcher.
Our garden is verdant, and the trees look like lush new things bursting into life. We even have fuzzy baby peaches huddled together on one of the branches in the more vigorous peach tree. Our Montmorency Cherry was profuse with its blossoms, and I feel a tickle of pride whenever people walk by our garden and point or smile in appreciation. I have every reason to be pleased with our backyard orchard culture going into its second year… except our fig trees died. Both of them.
After chaos of construction, I relished working in the garden this weekend. I planted a few overdue seeds while the kiddos complained of child-labor laws for daring to ask for an extra 90 minutes of help around the yard. (Gasp!) My husband added compost to the garden beds and mixed the other barrel. He set the final garden bed into the slight slope of the hill and filled it with wheelbarrow and wheelbarrow full of dirt. After this miscellany of prep work and post-due planting, our garden is officially, officially ready for spring.
The summer pruning for my mini orchard was past due. I have two very good excuses: (1) I became a foster parent this summer, and (2) it’s terrifying to wander out into your backyard orchard and prune back all the lovely leaves that have grown over the summer. Still, the point of backyard orchard culture is to prune, prune, prune to maintain smaller trees, so needs must and all that.