The Tilling Tidings (04/02/21)

I believe I spent more time coming up with this silly title than I did actually planting the apple trees that now dot the landscape, their skinny little branches barely blooming with leaves. I feel bad for always teasing them, but baby plants are much like baby birds. (Ugly.)

On this land of mine, the current count of plants is small:

  • 2 native Pecan trees, so tiny they’re but mere sticks in the ground
  • 3 Apple trees (Winesap, Fuji, and Gala)
  • 1 Juniper Bush
  • 3 Blueberry bushes (one pink lemonade, 2 little lads from Costco whose species I remember not)
  • A wild patch of blackberries my grandmother planted. It will outlive me. It will outlive this planet. Pretty sure the blackberries will outlive God.

This does not include the joint garden me and some other family members tend on the land next to mine. None of those are technically mine and mine alone except the habanero, as I’m the only one who can consume the thing. (Goes great in jelly!)

As of the first week of April, we had a sudden cold snap that unfortunately left the blueberries… upset. The silly things did not know that our frost date is later on April 15th, and has already bloomed out with leaves and even a couple berries started on the big one. I did manage to get them covered up in time, but I don’t think it helped as much as I would’ve hoped.

Our biggest blueberry bush, who was quite angry at the snap

I’m just glad I’d already given the blueberries pine mulch to protect the roots in the case of sudden snaps like this. It was the much smaller blueberry plants I was worried about, as a reduced harvest is preferable to death. As you can see from these two images, however, it seems they have survived. Blueberry 2 has lost many of its leaves, but it’s already sprouting new ones so I think it’ll be just fine.

I’m just glad you both are alive
You beautiful, ugly little blueberries.

The Juniper bush fared much better. Juniper doesn’t mind a little chill, so it’s happily plodding along and doing its best. I’m very excited to harvest it later in the year for use in cleansing. In my culture, we use it instead of sage, especially since White Sage and Palo Santo are both endangered by (white peoples’) overuse. Rosemary is also a good alternative, but I haven’t been able to keep one alive (yet).

Please keep the ghosts off my yard, Juniper. We know this whole country’s a burial ground.

The apple trees also seem pretty content to exist where they are. According to my research, because they hadn’t blossomed yet, the apple trees would be alright down to about 18 degrees. As a result, I did not cover them. They enjoyed the sunshine, and appeared to have gained several new leaves despite the chill. In my first week of planting them, we had a tornado and a hail storm, and then the next weekend we had a cold snap. I hope next week holds good weather for them, I think they deserve it after that being their first impression of this place. We generally have good weather, y’all, I swear!

The Winesap, with tiny budded leaves
The Fuji, standing tall with a few budded leaves
Gala, who is Thriving

I doubt they’ll be blossoming any this year, but as of right now, I’m happy to see them thriving there on the hills, complete with their little iron backbones to keep them from wiggling around. The previous farm on this land was called The Breezy for a reason!

Baby pecan, just barely branching.
This Pecan is just a stick with dreams of grandeur.

Our final check up was with these two lovely little Pecan trees. I acquired them as part of the Tennessee Tree Day, an effort to put native plants back where they belong. They were planted back in March, and I assume they’re doing alright though for me it’s hard to tell. They’ve both gained a few more branches since I placed them in the ground, so I will continue on assumption that that’s a good thing. I can’t wait until they’re big and strong and giving me nuts, but until then I can nurture them. Or, well, at least I think I can keep them alive.

So far, so good. My plants weathered the cold snap, and with the last frost day fast approaching, I hope I won’t have to worry about them for much longer. Just keep growing, little ones. Get out of your ugly stage.

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