Stillwater News Press

Garden

March 3, 2012

In the Garden 03-04-12

I have enjoyed two springs the past few years; the first comes when I travel to southern Texas on business, the second when temperatures warm here in Stillwater.

Last week in San Antonio and Houston, it was all I could do to not go on a buying spree; the color, butterflies and temperatures were ideal. I reminded myself, “It’s still freezing back home, it’s still freezing…” That is one way God keeps my check book in balance.

I was tickled to come home to equally pleasant weather and hellebores and miniature daffodils blooming.

As I walked my garden, I noticed the fruit trees opening buds. Not all of them were beginning to blossom, but the early bloomers — apricot, pluots and plums — were beginning their color show. These are the fruit many discourage home fruit aficionados from planting; early blooms are their primary downfall in vacillating Oklahoma weather.

Because of my time away from home, I lean toward survivors — Oklahoma Proven, tried and true varieties, low to no maintenance selections. Yet when it comes to edibles — fruit, veggies and herbs — I love to push the zone limitations in a quest for home-grown food.

A few years ago in New Mexico I came across a product Frost N Fruit. Though I do not as a rule endorse products in my columns, the opening blooms on my fruit trees reminded me that other fruit growers are in the same situation, anxiously tuning to the weather awaiting the inevitable late freeze. This is where Frost N Fruit comes in.

A basic potassium carbonate with a stabilized seaweed extract, Frost N Fruit protects open blossoms from freeze. I had, prior to discovering this product, attempted to cover blooming trees only to have the wind shred the spun polyester.

In 2009, I had the opportunity to try Frost N Fruit on open apricot blooms. I sprayed the day before the storm, hibernated through two days of snow, watched the snow melt and the following day went to check the results. Much to my pleasure, bees were busy working the apricot blooms as if nothing had happened.

Spring 2010 was slow in coming; fruit trees bloomed in early April and I did not use the potassium product. Last year, well, we all know last year was hopeless for fruit blossoms; they never survived the minus 25 degree Fahrenheit temperature. This may be a year when I dust off my bottle and rinse out the sprayer.

LeeAnn Barton, Stillwater, can be emailed at leeannbarton@sbcglobal.net.

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