Time and Temp

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Blooming-May

• African daisies
• California Poppy
• Calendula
• Calla Lily
• Narcissus
• Lavander
• Ivy geranium
• Mexican Sage
• Pride of Madera
• Lantana
• Society garlic
• Wild geranium

Harvesting-May

• Baby arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb
• Parsley
• Strawberries

           

Thinning Low Chill Apples

June is a good time along the coast to thin apples on your apple trees. Cutting off the 1″ apples growing in clusters (after the “June drop” when trees shed some apples naturally) is essential if you want to have average sized apples in the fall. This “Beverly Hills” apple tree produces many apples and we spent an afternoon taking off most of them so that others could mature. We left one or two apples in each cluster. You should space apples them so that when they mature in size they are not touching. This is easier said than done.

When we built out house on this property, there were already three old apple trees. One had to be removed. Sadly neglected, we estimated that the two remaining trees were planted in the 1950’s. They are nearing the end of their life cycle but we refused to give up on them. They still produce all the apples we can eat,  and with leftovers I make applesauce, apple butter, apple pies and dehydrate for year-round snacks.

An apple tree needs a number of hours of “chill” each winter to force it into dormancy. This number of hours depends on the variety of apple. “Chill” is consider 45°F or below. Most apple trees need 400-1,000 hours of chill time each year. Along the coast, where chilling time is less than this number , we’ve learned to plant varieties that are considered “low chill” and need less than 400 hours of chill time. For the number of chill hours in SLO county  regions consult the SLO Cooperative Extension. They list varieties of fruit and nuts and their winter chill requirements. Very helpful!

Our coastal area receives less than 300 hours of the required chill temperature so trees classified as “low chill” are desirable. You will find the ‘Beverly Hills’ cultivar planted in older gardens throughout Cambria and the fruit is excellent when eaten fresh. They are considered self-pollinators so if you have room for only one apple tree, this variety will fit the bill. Other self-pollinators that are considered low chill are the ‘Dorset Golden’, ‘Einshemer’, ‘Gordon’, ‘Tropical Beauty’, ‘Fuji’ and ‘Granny Smith’. Our little ‘Anna’ apple tree (two years old) has adjusted well to our cool climate and produced three beautiful apples last fall. For local information on “low chill” varieties of apples visit the website of  Bay Laurel Nursery.

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