Feeding fruit trees in summer



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Feeding fruit trees in summer provides plenty of food for both you and the trees. Apple and plum trees require three to five gallons of water each week, while peach trees require even more water. Weeds, especially during the hot months of summer, can choke the tiny roots of the trees, so you need to be sure you have healthy soil. During the winter months, the fruit you have eaten will provide nutrients to the soil and make it hardier for next season. If you do not eat the fruit, you can feed it to a chickens.

Peach trees take longer to fruit than apple and plum trees. Plum trees can grow fruit in as little as two years, while apple and peach trees take more time, six to seven years, respectively. Plum trees grow more quickly than the apple trees, as do peach trees. If you want to grow fruit trees, try to choose types that grow easily in your climate. Always use dwarf varieties, or they will crowd the landscape. Avoid grafted trees that are supposed to grow to a large size but grow smaller because they have been altered in the laboratory.

Soil

Apple trees require a good deal of water in the spring, but less in the summer. This is because most of the apple growth is concentrated in spring. Plums and peaches like a continuous flow of water in the summer. Plums and peaches need more water when the weather is dry and less when it is wet. Apple trees need lots of rainwater because they grow on the ground, unlike peaches and plums, which are grown in a cage to raise them off the ground and can be grown in drier areas than apples. All trees need to be planted in a location with lots of sun and fertile soil. All fruit trees can take sun or shade, but they will perform better in one or the other. Fertilize your trees with seaweed or animal manures, and fertilize your leaves with phosphate of potash.

Because each tree will have a different root system, the best way to feed the trees is to apply the fertilizer to the base of the tree. This will give them a more uniform and deeper root system and will help them do better next season. We feed the tree with a fertilizer that is made up of fish meal and concentrated fish emulsion.

The best time to plant apple trees is in the spring, when the weather is mild. Plums and peaches will do better if planted in the fall, but they can be planted any time of the year, as long as the soil is warm enough to start a root system. Because they grow so quickly, plum trees should be planted one to three weeks after the last frost. You can also plant peach trees any time of the year, but to extend the season, they should be planted after a frost, in early February.

Harvesting and Preservation

Apples, peaches, plums, and pears should be harvested in October or November. Do not allow your apples and pears to get too soft, or they will turn to mush. Apples can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days, but pears and plums should be eaten fresh. Keep peaches in the refrigerator for a few days, and apples and pears in the freezer for up to three months. Never wash fruit because you can lose nutrients and mold can grow in them.

To preserve your fruit, you need to wash and drain it. Peel and cut it into pieces or slices. Arrange it in a water-tight container with a lid. The freezer is your best option, because freezing destroys the aroma and nutrients. Pour boiling water over your fruit and set it aside. Let it sit for one hour or so, drain, and dry it in the oven or a dehydrator. This process will help to preserve the nutrients and remove some of the acids.

Use some apples and pears for drying. An apple or pear that has dried a bit will keep for up to a year. Simply remove the flesh from the apple, and the skin, leaving just the fruit, and lay it out on a drying rack. When it is dry, the fruit can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.

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## The Other Hydrangeas

By Jessica Wilcox

I love hydrangeas. I adore the hauntingly beautiful silvery purple, and I love the way that the colors change when the hydrangeas in my garden grow big. At the end of the day, though, I like them for their food. Hydrangeas grow big and lush, and I can use the food all winter.

Hydrangeas love to be in full sun, so if you have a sunnier spot in your garden, you can grow one that is close to the house, or move it closer. These can grow to three feet tall, and they are fragrant flowers that smell incredible. The blooms attract insects for pollination, and the plants grow big because the blooms will hold on to the moisture and nutrients from the fruit that forms on the plant.

Hydrangeas prefer acidic soil, so if you have problems with acid-loving plants, go for a different variety. The results will be worth the pain. I like to grow Mineola hydrangeas. They are a nice, gentle variety that will grow quickly and look beautiful in any landscape. They grow really big, up to five feet tall, so you have plenty of room to grow. Their blooms are a shimmery purple, and they smell heavenly, because of the small, purple fruits that form on the plant. Mineola hydrangeas are also fairly resistant to powdery mildew and have soft stems that can be worked into outdoor furniture or wreaths.

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## Hydrangeas

#### **Fruit**

**Hydrangea** _Hydrangea macrophylla_

**Scented variety:** _Hydrangea paniculata_

**Powdery mildew:** Yes, mildew

**Hardiness:** Zones 4–8

**Cultivar:** Mineola

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