The Fruits of My Labor

developing plums

Developing Plums

Gardens, like children, need nurturing to grow. Genetics certainly plays a role. Environment is significant too. A little TLC, however, goes a long way to ensure a happy, healthy garden. Today, I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor, literally and metaphorically.

This is the break-out year for our four-in-one fruit tree. We bought the grafted, stone-fruit tree as a gift for my son’s 10th birthday. I researched the guidelines for pruning the tree, and received additional tips from my nurseryman friend, Doug. Following that advice, I pruned the branches by 40-50% every year for the first three years. It seemed drastic to my young son who was pretty upset with me even though I was able to show him the research. One of the four grafts died, and I’ve never heard the end of it.

Where was I…oh yes, the fruits of my labor. Well guess what? This is year four and the tree is now covered in fruit. There is more fruit than we’ve had in the first three years combined.

future plums

Blushing fruit in the dappled sun

four in one fruit tree

Branches laden with fruit

Last year’s small bounty disappeared overnight. This year we have so much fruit that the rats and squirrels have only made a small foraging dent. We might actually be eating peaches, plums and nectarines this summer. Oh happy days!

Do you have a favorite fruit?

26 thoughts on “The Fruits of My Labor

  1. What a delight! There is nothing – nothing!! – like fruit picked from your own tree! My children were raised in sunny Hawkes Bay which has a Mediterranean climate, and we grew plums, feijoas, lemons, grapefruit, apples and pears on our half acre section. Fruit was bountiful all around us as was vegetables – from our own garden and from the market gardens around. I was in the full flush of my back-to-nature, hippy earth mother incarnation and made everything my children ate and everything they wore. I happily nurtured animals and children in an unending stream of warm summer days – or so my memory now tells me 🙂

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  2. I forgot to say the point of my story [duh] My husband pruned the soft fruit trees every year quite severely [he had read the books] I would be horrified at his massacre of them – especially the huge and ancient plum. I blamed him entirely for the lack of plum fruit the first time he pruned – but learned as the years went by that this particular specimen fruited bountifully every two years only. His vigorous pruning exercise allowed us to enjoy gluts of fruit that required preserving, freezing and giving away. My girls still tell stories of lying on their backs in the late summer sun gorging on the last of the soft fruits and the first of the feijoas – with me wondering why they wouldn’t eat their evening meals 🙂

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  3. I have never heard of such a tree – sounds too good to be true! I love all fruits and am especially looking forward to the strawberry season. 😀

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    • Cathy, we only learned about them four years ago, and apparently they’ve only been around for a decade. You get buy four in one and five in one of stone fruit, apples and I think one other family of fruit. Pretty amazing, eh?

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  4. I also never heard of this type of tree before. It sounds like a lot of fun. I’ll have to look for one–though I may live too far north for the type of tree.

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  5. Your Four In One tree is just a wonder to me. Since we’re not in an area to grow such a thing, I first heard about it right here in Nirvana 😀 Do you know what the base is that they grafted to? I guess they’d have to choose something very sturdy with an eye to the future fruit ladened branches being of some weight.

    I enjoyed your chat with Pauline. She’s really an Earth mom, I’m so impressed. Making all the clothes and growing food. That’s what you call zero impact living. Imagine the packaging you save from landfills when you are able to live like that?

    You may end up with the fattest rats in the land but what a great summer of fresh fruit you have to look forward too. Will you just enjoy it off the tree or like Pauline, preserve some?

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  6. I so know what pruning trees can do to people. My last husband almost had a stroke when he saw what was being done. But he was right there stuffing apricots so fast you couldn’t count when the tree made THE most delicious fruit he’d ever tasted. Made a believer out of him. I was notorious about pulling too small early fruit to give the rest a better chance. He finally (not really) stopped arguing about the pruning. I remember telling you that I all but butchered an avocado tree. The avocados were flavorless rocks prior. After, there were so many and they were so good. It’s just sending some love to the roots for awhile. It’s fun to read all the comments. We are all so invested in the success of your fruit salad tree. 🙂 Happy Harvesting. Hugs. m

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    • I love this story, Marlene. I didn’t know about removing some of the fruit. This is the first year with an impressive production. Next year I’ll follow that tip.

      It all makes sense, really.

      Hugs

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