Post #3224: Planting season

Spring continues to unfold around here. Daffodils, crocus, and the arrival of our bare-root fruit trees!

Last summer, Brian and I cleared a fairly large spot on one side of our property. It started when I recognized that the ocean spray (a beautiful native plant, also known as ironwood) had got out of hand to the degree that it was pushing the fence in front of our place over. Fences here are necessary to keeping the deer from destroying everything, so I began clipping and sawing and pulling. Pretty soon, Brian came to help me and he got really zealous about it. Turns out, he didn’t like the look of the overgrowth at the front of our place – and he really wanted some space for fruit trees. Within a week he had cleared it right to the ground. After that we got our machine guy to come and pull up the stumps and then we filled the whole thing with ten yards of garden soil which we supplemented by burying a bunch of guts and heads from the fish I processed at the end of summer.

We had hoped to plant trees in the fall, but I was a bit late to the party and got an order in for the spring. In the meantime I did plant some raspberries along the fence which are showing some signs of having rooted. There is already a single self-pollinating cherry tree on the boundary of this space, and by this weekend it will be joined by a couple of dwarf apples (gala and fuji), a multi-grafted plum and another cherry tree of a variety I can’t recall. We also took a gamble and ordered a fruit salad and a fruit cocktail tree to plant along the sunny wall of our house. These are multi-grafts with apricots, nectarines, peaches, and plums on them. I’m skeptical about these trees because I don’t think we have a warm enough climate for them (we are planting them in the most sheltered, warmest spot to compensate) but also because I haven’t been able to find any pictures of these trees in a mature state on the Internet, which makes me think they are a bit of a gimmick. I’m just approaching it as an experiment for $150. Will let you all know how it goes. The final tree I purchased is an espaliered multi-grafted apple which I want to plan on the outside of our fence where we have a big boulevard and lots of sun. The trick there will be putting some wire fencing up to keep the deer away, but if it works, I would love to put a couple more espaliered fruits in there next year.

Ready for planting! The wall of the house to the left is where the fruit cocktail/salad trees will go.

It will be a few years before we get any harvest, but long-term commitments like fruit trees are a sign that we are fully settled into living on this island and in this home. Though we occasionally toy with communal living projects involving friends, so far nothing has really made a lot of sense to us, and we aren’t the kind of people to move simply for the “upgrade” in house or yard (especially after installing a sauna, and a songwriting studio!) So we’re definitively here, coming up on six years and not planning to leave anytime soon (this week is not only the covid-aversary but also the anniversary of closing the paperwork on the purchase of this house).

The last few days have gone by in a bit of a blur of work and I don’t even know what else. I got some workouts in, ran a couple of times, made some dinners. My workouts have been pretty intense lately so I’ve been sore a lot. I hope that means I’m growing more muscle (I’m pretty sure it does since my muscle definition continues to increase). Brian and I continue to talk about small add-ons for the home gym, and even though we are talking about going back to the local fitness center once we are vaccinated, we both prefer working out in the garage most of the time (I love going barefoot, cranking the tunes, and having the equipment all to myself).

In my union life this week I took a bit step back from my 20-year role as a union shop steward and let folks know that I’m not taking on any new cases. There were a lot of factors in that decision. The main one of course is succession planning, as I’m not going to be around forever and I need to get folks trained up to take over in the next few years. Truth be told though, I’ve also been feeling a bit exhausted with it all lately – underappreciated (by members and managers who I troubleshoot a lot of problems for), overworked, and a bit cynical about the process. Rather than get bitter I realized that it was time for a change, a turn towards mentorship and the bigger picture which I will continue to fulfill through my role as local president over the next two years. I have a few cases left on my docket, but once those are finished (or transferred to someone else) I will have a lot of my attention freed up for other things.

And that’s the week plus some sewing and violin-playing time! I look forward to outdoor gatherings around a fire in the very near future now that the health orders have changed, and am crossing my fingers that whole-community vaccination comes to us sooner rather than later. If you are subscribed to Comfort for the Apocalypse you’ll hear more from me later this weekend.

2 Comments on “Post #3224: Planting season

  1. Hi Megan,
    Plum trees have to be in the sun. David’s mom and dad had great luck with a peach tree in Qualicum Beach. It was up against the house to catch the heat. Better if the backdrop for it is a light colour. Peach trees need lots of light too. We can’t grow them here in Cumberland…although somebody might straighten me out on that one. Good luck. I love peaches and pears and plums. We have a very successful pear tree and a less successful Italian plum tree (not enough sun).

    • Yes – to sun for all! We are planting on the South side of our house which gets the most sun – and the spot in the photograph on this post gets all-day sun for much of the spring/summer/fall. That’s where the plum and apple trees will go. Plums do well on this island, as do apples, pears and sour cherries. Other fruits, not so much. The spot by the house where we plan to put the peach/apricot/etc trees gets quite a bit of sun and is light coloured – so maybe we will have success? But I’m not holding my breath.

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