Articles in Category: Classes

Bees and fruit trees

on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Edibles, Fruit trees, Classes

fruit trees not fruiting?

Has this happened to you?  Fruit trees with no fruit?!  We had a recent customer with this problem, despite him taking loving care of his fruit trees.  That is not only disappointing, but it's also telling us that something was not in balance.  Here is another example of how we affect the bees and how the bees are essential to our gardens and our existence.  Are YOU going to move the pollen from flower to flower?

asian-pear--closeupbee and echinacea



Our client wanted me to come visit his fruit tree garden because he was concerned he had no flowers or fruit on his fruit trees and he didn't usually see bees around his floriferous garden.  He was on the right track noticing there weren't any bees in his yard.   It was also strange that his fruit trees had the healthiest leaves I've even seen, not a brown or yellow spot, full and green, and lush.



Vegetable & All Purpose Mix 4-6-2 (6 Lb Box)So I started asking him what he fertilizes with and what kind of chemicals he sprays them with.  He showed me 5 different fertilizers that he applies to his trees!  Many of them were the ubiquitous Miracle-gro, which is best left, if at all, to the annuals.  Most of them were formulated for lush leaf growth and very heavy in nitrogen (the first number on the bottle).  This doesn't work for plants you want to make flowers and fruit, but explains his beautiful leaves.  Fruit trees want an application of lower nitrogen, balanced, ideally organic fertilizer.  Something that is formulated for fruiting crops.  So that would be heavier on the phosphorus and potassium (the last two numbers on the box). He also was applying the fertilizer way more often than even the bottle recommended.  Too much fertilizer can't all be taken up by the plant and just gets flushed out into waterways. Without going into too much detail, making the soil healthy will maintain a happier fruit tree, it will be able to uptake the nutrients that are there or that you apply. 

bee friendly farming

Then he showed me the insecticides he used on the trees.  After looking them over and reading all the warning labels about they can harm vertebrates such as frogs, I asked do you want to eat fruit that has this absorbed into it?  He hadn't really thought about it. Second, the insectides were to kill off caterpillars and other bugs that chewed into fruit trees leaves, but it also said right on the bottle, that is was toxic to bees.  So many of the insecticides are not specific and will kill anything feeding on the plant or even collecting its pollen.  So do we really wonder why the bees are collapsing?  If this man thought all these things were okay to apply to his garden, how many times over is it happening all over the world?  Time to think about your little corner or the planet and what you can do for our bee friends.

Deer resistant plants class

on Wednesday, 24 April 2013. Posted in Deer resistant, Drought tolerant, Classes

new ideas to combat the deer from munching your beautiful plants

We had fun taking our class members on a tour of the nursery and showing off some of the new plants that are deer resistant.  Like this Berberis 'Red Jewel' and a dozen other Barberries that come in all colors of the rainbow.  




They were surprised to find out how many options they had!  Our researched and tested deer resistant plant list runs 5 pages long.  We edit our list based on what is working in the Rogue Valley, not a book that comes from the east coast or other parts of the country.  We can even finetune the list depending on where you are in the valley.  We have come to learn what the Applegate deer like versus the Ashland deer.  So come see your many options at the nursery!  And let us know what is working for you.

Daphne Summer-Ice-plant-of-photoCallistemonLinearis250x376feijoa-sellowiana

If you are interested in the handout for our deer resistant plant class, find it here.  Remember, look for plants that have a strong scent (usually from an oil in the leaves), are poisonous, or have a coarse or prickly texture.  This is a starting point, the handout will explain further.  


Don't forget our other great classes in May and June!