Growing Cherries on the Monterey Bay

Cherries on the Monterey Bay? Is that possible? Do we have the chill? Depending on who you’re listening to, and what you are choosing as your planting site, the answer can run the gamut.

Cherryvale and other parts of Soquel were known for their extensive acreage devoted to commercial cherry orchards up into the 1960s. It is also common knowledge we are in an observable trend toward warmer average winter temperatures, so is successful cherry-growing a thing of the past?

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How to Plant an Avocado: Ensuring a Good Start

'Hass' avocado

It’s Springtime in the Monterey Bay, swallows are plying the sky and peaches are in full pink. That means frost danger is passing, and it’s nearing time to plant avocados. If you can find trees, they need to go in now to start their race against the seasons. First freezes can hit in November, and the bigger you can grow your young trees, the better chance they have of surviving the cold. From our vast experience with killing trees, we would like to offer help in avoiding the blunders we’ve committed in trying to get our trees to grow.

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Notes on a Few New California Apples

A number of the apples sampled at our 77 variety apple tasting in 2018  would be unfamiliar even to knowledgeable apple growers.  These are local discoveries and novel varieties from nearby breeding projects, many of which exist only as a single tree each.  All of these apples have distinguished themselves in one way or another over their years of existence, enough so to earn a place at our tasting tables, where several of them have performed quite well among the stiff competition.  Freddy Menge, grower of a preponderance of the apples at our tasting, has offered some comments on these novel apples which I thought were worthy of pulling aside and illustrating on their own.  —Andy Moskowitz

Freddy Menge, with a mouthful of redflesh, in his Santa Cruz County orchard of high flavor heirloom and novel apples.

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The Growing of Persimmons

This article is a companion piece to the Eating of Persimmons, published on the Birdsong Orchards farm blog here.

Four years ago, in the winter of 2014/2015, we planted around forty persimmon trees in our orchard. Most have thrived, a few have died, a few more have been planted, and I have learned a few things along the way.  I cannot claim to be a master of persimmon horticulture, for my trees are still young and have many years of growing to do, but I’d like to share what I know.


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