This has been a pretty difficult growing year . We are down 7 inches from our usual rain total and have had 12 days over 90 degrees so far this summer. There is now a mandatory water ban and many plants are suffering from the dry heat.The focus has been on triage watering and cutting back things that can go dormant , which for while made me forget about “The great fruit crisis of 2016.”
Way back when the fruit trees were just budding up , we had two nights that the temps plummeted to 18 degrees. In my yard that meant cherry and peach blossoms were toast and, unusually, it also affected the apple and pear trees. The big apple tree out front is a biennial bearer and had a bumper crop last year so the crop was expected to be on the smaller size, but you have to look way up into it to see the very few apples( less than 10) that are growing there,
The apple tree in the Rock Garden has only a few apples that are small and malformed ( I think from lack of water).
Of the 3 espalliered trees , only one has fruit, and even then it is just three apples. Of those three , one looks entirely perfect and it is killing me watching it ripen.
The chipmunks, voles and rabbits prevent me from ever enjoying the fruits of my labors. Off 6 blueberry bushes I ate maybe 4 blueberries, from the bazillion strawberry plants I got not even one.( Next year they are beng moved to vertical planters). In the only good news , the raspberries which were very late in flowering and are just starting to be pickable now and no critters bother them. Last year at this time all the espalliered fruit trees were hijacked by chipmunks right before I was ready to pick them .
My one perfect apple is on an espalliered tree that is visible to me from my seat on the couch in the living room. Whenever I get a chance to sit and knit or binge watch netflix ( did you see Stranger Things or Marco Polo??? You must!) I have a direct sight line to it
.One perfect apple, so many threats. It might even be better if it was hidden out of sight so I could forget about it. Watching and waiting , worrying and wondering if and how I should protect it is getting to me. It is my apple, my one perfect apple….. I may just pick it and eat it unripe. The stress is giving me a stomach ache already so what do I have to loose?