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The ManyTracks Orchard
Four decades of Growing
in the Northwoods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula
The very first planting on our new
homestead was some apple trees and a Bartlett pear, maybe something else.
Purchased from a nursery downstate it was what they recommended. We brought them north and planted them in the newly fenced (we
did know about deer) cold and wind-swept (except from the west)
garden-orchard area in 1978. We had no amendments to add to the old worn-out sod
soil, no mulch to help the new trees get established, little water to help them
thrive, no time to devote to the new orchard, and no knowledge of pruning. And
most of the varieties weren't the best choices for the cold north. Yet many of
the apple trees lived to set fruit. The Bartlett didn't make it past the first few winters. It
wasn't its fault; it was a poor choice, especially with so little initial care.
Pear Faith - September 11, 2017
Most of the 30 grafts we did in May grew which is nice. A few I figure the scions were not good to begin with (lesson learned to really look at the scion before grafting, not after, to make sure it’s alive!). A few we thought were pretty iffy and it would be a miracle if they grew -- a very small diameter scion grafted with a simple splice graft (there wasn’t enough wood for a whip-and-tongue graft) onto a similarly very small rootstock or shoot. But to my surprise these took and are growing. Then there are a few that I don’t know why they didn’t grow any leaves from their buds as the scion is still alive (small scratch with a knife shows green cambium). We’ll see; there have been reports from others about scions popping the next spring. Hope so! There is a lot of variety in the growth between them all, of course, so many different variables, but the rest show anywhere from just a few small leaves to more than a foot of growth. I love walking around cheering them all on. But one in particular is exciting to me -- the L’Anse pear.
Last September we were at a polka dance in L’Anse and a young couple brought
in a wonderful basket of beautiful medium-small pears for the snack table.
My experience with pears was pretty much limited to occasional canned ones
and a few of our first small Stacey & Summercrisp pears. Not expecting much,
but very happy to have something other than sugar snacks, both Steve and I
took one. Then I took a bite. Wow! I had no idea pears could be that good.
Nicely sweet, smooth, great texture. Immediately I went back to the table for
Stacey Pear Surprise - September 15, 2017
have a beautiful healthy moderate sized 14 year old Stacey pear that has given
me a few small fruit since age six. The last two years a bumper harvest of 22 to
36 pears! That’s individuals, not pounds. The fruit have all been small, more or
less “pear” shaped. This year had just a handful of blossoms and at some point I
noticed 2 “usual shaped” small pears. I picked them too early the end of August
but appreciated the little fruits nonetheless. Then a few weeks later I happened
to see one more. But this one was larger, and to my surprise, round. I picked it
Sept. 9 -- a very nice 2” x 2 1/4" fruit. I looked online at the few photos I
could fine of Stacey pears. Some showed the pear shape I’d gotten before, but a
few showed round fruit like my latest (including Fedco which is where I’d
purchased the tree).
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Have you read "Frost Dancing - Tips from a Northern Gardener" ? A fun short read.
or "Homesteading Adventures" Creating our backwoods homestead--the first 20 years.
and "Growing Berries for Food and Fun" A journey you can use in your own garden.