Happy Blueberries, Happy Me
With all those years of mulching, levels of decomposed and decomposing soil organic matter have greatly increased the soil’s buffering capacity for acidity. That means that I no longer have to pay such close attention to acidity, so I rarely add sulfur anymore.
Besides all these other benefit, the mulch has created a soft root run that retains moisture, just what blueberries’ thin roots really like. Fruit is borne on shoots that grew the previous season, so each year’s vigorous new growth translates into a good crop in the offing for the next year.
New York Bananas
Two trees would be adequate for most households; I have about 20, just so I can learn more about them and their individual differences. That makes for a lot of pawpaws! (I test market most of them.)
Pawpaw fruits are very variable in both size and flavor even among the branches of a single tree. One year, I tried thinning the fruits to see if that would increase size of remaining fruits, as it does with apples and peaches. Pawpaw has a multiple ovary so each blossom can give rise to as many as 9 fruits. The small fruits are hard to see because they match so closely the green color of the leaves, so I didn’t thin as many as I had hoped. That said, at season’s end, fruits on thinned clusters seemed no larger than fruits on unthinned clusters.
Beginning around the middle of September, I began harvesting the first fruits. I picked some up from the ground and picked some softening ones from the trees, all of which continued through October. By putting them immediately in a cooler at 40°F, I still had good fruit into the middle of November.
Despite the “bean” in the name, I’ve grown this vining bean, as do most people, primarily as an ornamental, for its scarlet blossoms. I occasionally eat the fat, hairy, yet delectable green beans.
Every year I collect some of the matured black and pale purple, calico seeds for replanting the following year. One year, I decided to cook up some of these seeds and taste them. Scarlet runner bean seeds are quite tasty (and, I learned prior to eating, nonpoisonous).