Mr. Harrow Finds a Home

Saturday, February 15, 2014

BOC Pear Orchard-Bird Back 40
Mr. Harrow is home at last. And I find this to be just DEEE-lightful. Who is Mr. Harrow, you ask? Well -- let me explain. Mr. Harrow isn't really a "who." Mr. Harrow is more of a "what" than anything else. So, what is Mr. Harrow, you ask? Well -- I'm glad you stopped by to ask!
Mr. Harrow is pictured above right. That, children, represents the latest planting endeavor in the Bird Back 40. For you are casting your eyes on the Bird Back 40 Pear Orchard -- planted via Backyard Orchard Culture (BOC) techniques. Didn't think you could cram three fruit trees into a small spot? Think again, because you can, and quite successfully I might add.
BOC Apple Orchard-Bird Back 40
This is our third BOC planting effort. The nectarine trees we stuck in the ground some four years ago delivered a whopper of a harvest last year. And the BOC apple planting effort? Well, you may have heard my praise about the Honeycrisp Apple variety somewhat. It's only the best darn apple on the planet, bar none.
But our latest effort is something very special. Because this effort involves a one Mr. Harrow -- aka -- Mr. Harrow Delight. Mr. Harrow isn't a person, but rather a fruit tree. Not just any fruit tree mind you. The Harrow Delight Pear Tree is simply the best darn pear I've ever tasted. Yes -- it beats the Bartlett Pear in taste and consistency. This includes a home-grown, tree-ripened Bartlett, which for years has been the best in the business.
Harrow Delight Pear-DWN Fruit Tasting-2010
However, you know what they say about mousetraps, right? Someone is always trying to build a better one. And in the world of pears, someone hit the jackpot with the Harrow Delight pear tree. I'm not sure why this variety isn't propagated commercially, because it's been around for long enough. There might be some drawbacks from commercial production that I'm unaware of. But I can tell you that Harrow Delight is simply the best backyard pear tree ever.
Isn't that enough?
I've been hooked on the Harrow Delight since I first attended a fruit tasting event held at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center some years back. If you want to know what grows, and grows well in the Sacramento area, I would suggest a visit to the horticulture center soon. The best time to visit? That would be the annual Harvest Season celebration, because that's usually when the fine folks from Dave Wilson Nursery show up with all sorts of good things to sample.
DWN Fruit Tasting-Fair Oaks-2010
It was there where I got my first extraordinary taste of the Harrow Delight pear. You must keep in mind that I had a plateful of pluots, bowls of blackberries and platters of peaches to munch on to my heart's delight. A Dave Wilson Nursery fruit tasting extravaganza is a fruit lover's ultimate dream. Yet, the one piece of tree-ripened fruit that beat everything to the punch on that particular day was the Harrow Delight pear.
Surely -- I must have received that special piece of pear that was better than the rest, right? That pear couldn't be THAT good, could it? But, as I returned to fill up that fruit pail again and again, each bite of that Harrow Delight got better and better. It was then when the wife that is Venus and I realized that THIS was the pear tree for our backyard.
Lonely Bartlett Pear Tree
But like most weekend warrior projects, the BOC pear planting effort would have to wait. There were some years when the Harrow Delight simply wasn't in stock, or I would wait too long only to find out that most of the trees had been snapped up by fruit lovers who were quicker on the trigger than I was. I would acquire the first part of the BOC pear project, the  Bartlett pear, last year. It would sit in a pot and wait for the addition of the Harrow Delight and one other variety this year.
That other variety -- by the way -- is the Blake's Pride. Why this particular variety? There are a couple of reasons. First -- one builds a BOC pear orchard to experience a pear harvest that lasts six to eight weeks rather than just three. The Harrow Delight, Blake's Pride and Bartlett all ripen at different periods during the summer. Secondly? These varieties all pollinate one another. More pollinators mean more fruit on the branch come harvest -- which is never a bad thing.
Return of the V for Venus Planter Bed
And so -- the Bird Pear Orchard is now installed and complete. One variety will ripen up two weeks before the Bartlett. Still another will ripen up two weeks AFTER the Bartlett. That's a solid month of pears, people. Try as you might, this is not a bad thing.
But the best part about the Harrow Delight pear tree was yet to be discovered. As I gazed at the tag attached to the tree to drink in the details of what will be Bill and Venus Bird's favorite pear tree -- two words jumped out at us. What were those two very special words? HEAVY BEARER.
That means lots of pears, baby. Isn't that just a crime?



I'm very interested to learn how old your pear trees will be when they 1st bloom. Mine is 5 years old and has yet to bloom. My Warren pear is a beautiful tree - the garden diva - but not one blossom yet.

Bill Bird said...

Maybelline, I've got a Fuji apple tree that's doing the same darned thing. It's gorgeous. Totally healthy. Beautiful branch development. It's now four years old. And it hasn't flowered ONCE! Not ONCE! The other two apple trees in my BOC collection have done just fine. But the Fuji? You can get fruit if the darn thing won't flower!

Kate said...

Great job!

Bill Bird said...

Now in Year 2 and the Harrow Delight did not flower. I'm told this is quite normal. The Blake's Pride pear also did not flower. However, the Bartlett did. In fact, I doubled my fruit output this year. If you think that's special, realize this much: Last year my three pear trees produced exactly ONE (1) pear. This year the Bartlett has TWO (1 + 1)! Despite the lack of flowers on both the Blake's Pride and the Harrow Delight -- they are growing very quickly. I will cut back this year's new growth by half and wait for Year 3.