Sure isn’t that what life is all about – learning from your mistakes? I’m a graduate from that school of philosophy, for sure. One thing about doing the Master Gardeners program is that as I sit in lectures, learning how to garden correctly, I realize how many things I’ve done wrong!
Take planting fruit trees for example. I planted five cherry trees too low in the ground and added organic matter to the hole before putting in the tree. Wrong, wrong, wrong – on three counts!
1) Make the hole wide, not deep. Plant the tree so that the “delicate crown” (where the roots meet the trunk) is slightly above the grade. Build a small trench at the drip line for irrigation. Here’s a rough (very rough) sketch of what you should do.
The crown is too low compared to the level of the original soil. That red lava rock has to go, but even with it removed, the tree will still be too low.
So, my cherries are safe to 23oF, the plums, with their first bloom, safe to 27oF, and although almonds are not mentioned on this website, they are related to plums and thus technically a stone-fruit, so I guessed that 27oF is the magic number there too. Having learned not to make assumptions, I checked this out with The Almond Doctor, (yes – there is such a guy!) and found that in fact 28oF is the lower limit for those. I have one really young almond tree, so I will protect it tonight by draping a sheet over it supported by two unused tomato cages – I’m sure the squirrels will appreciate that!
It seems that the rain we are getting today will help too. I read somewhere that if you water the soil well it helps, BUT then when I researched my temperatures for citrus, the UC Davis pdf said that humidity could make matters worst! This is something I have no control over now that it has rained all morning anyway.
However, 29oF will damage my ripe oranges, so I’m going to have to do a big emergency harvest, juice ’em and freeze the juice, or I may loose the lot.
On a more uplifting note, I’ll direct you to the photo at the beginning of this post. That is the arbor that my Mum bought and helped erect, together with my Godmother and husband,before the visitors departed for home this week. I’m dreaming of all the beautiful vines I will grow over it. When I’m in the garden, I’m never far from my Mum.