A Class You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Friday, January 1, 2010

Two blog postings in one day? Egads. There must be something wrong with me. Those who know me well would say "I wholeheartedly agree." But -- I digress. We'll discuss mental matters on another day.

There used to be a time when "bare root" season started in February. Not anymore kids. Visit any big box store like Home Depot or Lowes -- and you'll be greeted with bin after bin of bare root fruit trees, grapevines, roses, you name it.

I should know since I ran out and bought the wife a Weigela just the other day. Sorry -- but I just couldn't resist.

I'll keep this short and sweet. There's an upcoming class for us Home Orchardist types called "Planning, planting and managing your Home Orchard" that will take place in Folsom. The first will be this upcoming Wednesday -- January 6th -- from 6:00 to 8:30 PM at the Folsom Community Room Activity Center in Folsom. A repeat of that class will take place on Saturday, January 9th -- from 9:00 to 11:30 AM at the same location.

Your course instructor is a Mr. Ken Menzer, who serves as the Arborist for the City of Folsom. But Ken's true love -- so it seems -- is all things fruit and citrus trees. He's only got 76 of them. And that doesn't include the grapes, blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, etc.

Yeah -- Ken is into fruit. But I'm guessing that Ken knows his fruit trees and how to trim them -- which is kind of an important subject to a young orchardist like myself. And I use the word "young," in jest.

But -- should you have an interest in growing one or fifty varieties of fruit in your own backyard -- I highly suggest that you make your way out to Folsom next week. The wife that is Venus and I will be attending the Saturday course as a matter of fact -- because I know I need to prune this June Pride peach tree located to your immediate left. I just don't know what to prune -- and with my luck? I'll probably wind up cutting the wrong branch(es).

Ken's class comes just in time for the start of bare root season -- which is already underway and continues through February.

What is bare root season? Well -- it's that special time of year that comes only once a year -- and it's really the best time to plant fruit trees, rosebushes or most other plants in the backyard. First and foremost -- it's an easy hit on the wallet -- the easiest you'll find all season. Secondly, bare root trees and bushes are in their "dormant season," which means they're easier to ship and even easier to carry from the trunk of your Ford Exploder to the backyard.

Finally? If your backyard is anything like mine -- it's a swamp. This means holes are easier to dig. Digging trenches for irrigation is much easier. And some plants -- especially some fruit trees -- adapt to their new homes much more quickly if planted during bare root season. If you're lucky? You might even get fruit production in the very first year!

According to the class flyer: The course will "cover orchard layout, species & cultivars, solar orientation, chilling requirements, pollination, pruning, planting, flowering & fall color, fertilization, thinning, minimizing and/or maximizing fruit production, irrigation & IPM (integrated pest management). It will also cover: troubleshooting, soil testing and drainage..."

Be advised that there is a cost for this event. It will set you back some $15 -- but you will also earn fruit tree coupons to help recoup that small fee.

Early signup is a MUST. Don't just show up on the night or day of -- because there might not be room. You can contact Ken Menzer directly at kmenzer@folsom.ca.us or (916) 220-3016.

While we're on the subject of fruit trees -- check out this guy in Davis. 575 varieties of fruit grafted onto just 40 trees? I can see now that I'm just getting started.

See you on Saturday in Folsom!

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