Welcome to this week’s update.
I don’t have all that much to report this week. My wife has kept me busy with decorating for Christmas. She is also taking a floral design course, so that means I’m taking the kids to all their afternoon activities.
I did bottle my oatmeal stout today. I used the same technique that I used last time. I sanitized everything and used a storage container to trap any beer drips. It certainly makes clean up easy. I ended up bottling 51 bottles of beer. The ingredients cost $44.09, so my stout costs about $0.86 per bottle.
I ordered a couple more trees to plant in the orchard. I’ve been asked about planting in the Fall instead of planting in the Spring. I listen to You Bet Your Garden and the host often recommends planting in the Fall. The important thing to remember is to plant dormant trees. The idea is to get the trees in the ground in time for the nice Spring weather.
I thought about what I wanted out of my orchard and decided that this time around I’d order some protein as well as fruit. I ordered 2 almond trees. One is a Hal’s Hardy almond, the other is an All-In-One almond. Both are supposed to be hardy down to zone 5, so I should be good. They are also both self fertile, but even with self-fertile trees, they are supposed to produce better with 2 different varieties. I haven’t eaten either of these almonds, but the reviews that I’ve read about them say they are very tasty. The Hal’s Hardy isn’t a true almond, it is actually a cross between a peach and an almond. The All-In-One is a true almond and is self fertile.
Along with the almond trees, I also ordered 2 apple trees. I ordered a Honeycrisp apple tree. This is my favorite fresh eating apple. It is very sweet. I meant to order one of these last year, but they sold out before I got around to ordering. The other apple is a Red Rome variety. This is a baking apple. I decided on this one because it is a good pollinator for the Honeycrisp. It also has a lot of good reviews online about holding its shape when baked.
Since I’m building the orchard, I have been thinking about how to identify the trees. They all ship with a plastic tag and the variety written on it. But I find that the sun will cause the ink to fade to the point where I can’t read the tag. I looked around and some people engrave the name on a metal plate. That sounded like a good idea. Then it occurred to me that a military dog tag would work great. Most places only sell them in pairs. But I found a company that sells them as key chains. So I ordered 8 of them printed with the information about my trees. They are stainless steel and come with a 4″ stainless steel chain. I put the year planted, size tree, type of fruit, variety and where I bought it from. I haven’t received them yet, but I’ll post a picture of them when they come in.
That’s it for this week. Hopefully things will settle down a bit so I have time to do more than 1 post a week.