Archive for the 'Pluots' Category

Early Blooms

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The blue hyacinths we planted last fall are already in bloom. Weeds were nearly obscuring them until I weeded around them a few weeks ago.  Now they are stand outs in our front yard.

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Some of our fruit trees are already in bloom this month. Below is a new arctic blaze nectarine tree I bought last year that is now blooming for the first time. My previous attempts at growing white nectarines ended in failure when the entire crop cracked and rotted, apparently from over watering. Subsequent under watering led to dead trees. This time, I am growing one in a pot to ensure better drainage.

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Below is our new loring peach tree, also in bloom for the first time. I bought it last year after our O’Henry peach died a few years ago.

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This flavor king pluot tree is another new fruit tree that I bought last year. I am also growing it in a pot due to lack of space (too many fruit trees). It bloomed last year, but it did not set any fruit – possibly a pollination issue. Now, I have a super-pollinator (santa rosa plum) growing in a pot to the right of it.

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Our multi-grafted pluot tree is also in bloom (below). One of the grafts is also flavor king. Flavor king is our favorite pluot, perhaps my favorite fruit, which is the reason I bought one tree that only has a flavor king graft on it.

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February 26 2016 | Hyacinths and Peaches/Nectarines and Pluots | No Comments »

Mid-Summer Fruit

We grow over a dozen different kinds of fruit trees and berries in our yard, including apricots, apples, figs, plums, pears, pluots, peaches, cherries, oranges, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Not all of our fruit trees produce fruit every year, and each type of fruit has a limited season. But because we have so many fruits, we typically have fruit to eat from our yard from May through September. Most of the fruit production occurs in our yard in mid-summer, so we have an abundance of fruit in the months of July and August.

This week, I have been harvesting Elephant Heart plums from our multi-grafted plum tree, shown in the photo below. The skin of these plums can be quite sour, at least until the fruit is almost mushy, but the pulp has a nice flavor.

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Our small Bartlett pear tree is loaded with at least 100 pears this year (photos of it below). I have picked over 30 pears from it already, but I’ve not eaten any of them yet. Pears are harvested while still green and unripe. They are ready to harvest if the fruit separates from the branch easily when the fruit is lifted by hand into a horizontal position. The pears from this tree have been exquisite in past years. Although, our tree typically only produces pears every other year.

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I am also harvesting Flavor King and Dapple Dandy pluots from our multi-grafted pluot tree. The first photo below is Flavor King (purple fruit), and the second photo is Dapple Dandy (pink fruit). I’m supporting the thin branches of this small tree with tomato cages, because there is too much fruit even after I thinned them. Also, the fruit is large (larger than last year’s harvest). I also have to protect them and my other fruit with netting.

Our pluot tree is one of my favorite fruit trees. Its fruits are delicious. Flavor King is perhaps one of the tastiest fruits I have eaten, even though plums in general are not my favorite fruit. Each of the 4 pluot varieties on our tree is unique in terms of its color, flavor, ripening time, and keeping quality. The other two varieties are Flavor Queen and Flavor Supreme. Dapple Dandy is a good variety, because it produces a lot of fruit, and the fruit holds well on the tree for several weeks.

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We also have a Caroline red raspberry plant that is growing in a large pot. Its canes are full of luscious looking raspberries right now, as shown in the next photo below. Unfortunately, our raspberries are not edible, because the insides of the berries are full of insect larvae that resemble very small white worms. Nearly all of the berries I have picked in the past week are full of the worms, and it’s not practical to remove them all. Although they may not be harmful if consumed, they are not appetizing.

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July 29 2013 | Pears and Plums and Pluots and Raspberries | No Comments »

Fruity Flavors

Today, I harvested and ate our first flavor queen pluot. It’s the greenish fruit on the left in the above picture. It had a very mild, somewhat sweet, flavor with no tartness. I thought it tasted nothing like a plum. I have read that flavor queen can be extremely sweet, but our weather has been so mild lately (highs in the mid-70s) that it may not have been able to reach its full sweetness potential.

I have now tasted all four of the pluot varieties from our multi-grafted pluot tree, flavor king, flavor queen, flavor supreme, and dapple dandy. I like all 4 varieties. Each one is different in color and taste. The dark purple fruit in the above picture is a flavor king. It has a nice plum-like flavor. It tastes better than most plums, except maybe Laroda plum. The skin is just a bit tart, no where near as tart as Santa Rosa or Beauty plum.

The pink fruit in the above picture is a dapple dandy pluot. The dapple dandy scion of our very small multi-grafted tree has produced at least 3 dozen pluots this year, many more than the other 3 scions. The fruits have been hanging on the tree in a near ripened state for a few weeks. The first dapple dandies I picked last month were tart. But now they are sweet with very little tartness. Like flavor queen, they taste nothing like plums, but they are sweeter than flavor queen (at least ours are). Dapple dandy may be my favorite pluot of our 4 varieties, because of the combination of producing lots of fruits and its nice mild fruity flavor.

The flavor supremes ripened over a month ago, which is why I wasn’t able to put one in this picture. They also have a delicious flavor that is somewhat plum-like.

The fruit in the lower right of the picture is one of our first O’Henry peaches of the season. Our O’Henry peach tree is now 10 years old, and I have eaten a lot of them over the years. The weather has a big effect on the flavor of our peaches too. Our O’Henry peaches so far haven’t been very sweet. They’re not too tart, just kind of bland. Again, I blame it on the mild weather. It takes some heat (80+) for several days to get them sweet. Last year, the first 2/3 of our peaches were plain tasting. But in the last week of August, we had several days of warm weather (mid-80s-about 90) and the peaches that ripened after that warm spell were sweet and very tasty.

The blueberries, raspberries and strawberry in the bowls are also from our garden. There’s not many strawberries or blueberries left to harvest, but our red and yellow everbearing raspberries are just starting to produce a lot of berries.

August 17 2012 | Peaches/Nectarines and Pluots | No Comments »

Multi-grafted Pluot Tree

I planted this pluot tree in our yard three years ago. It has four pluot scions grafted onto one tree. The four pluot scions are Flavor King, Flavor Queen, Flavor Supreme, and Dapple Dandy. This summer, it’s producing its first significant crop of fruit. Pluots are plum/apricot hybrids. I don’t care for many of the common home orchard plum varieties, such as Santa Rosa and Beauty, because they are too tart for me. But so far, I am really impressed with how good home grown pluots taste.

I have already harvested all of the Flavor Supreme Pluots. They were very tasty. The fruits are sweet with a bit of tartness. They ripen early and are mostly greenish in color. However, I have noticed so far that among the four scions on our tree, Flavor Supreme is the least vigorous grower. Also, Flavor Supreme doesn’t set as many fruits as the other three scions (only 4 fruits this year).

Flavor King is the best tasting pluot of these four pluot varieties in my opinion. The fruit is sweet with a very inciting and unique flavor. It is already one of my favorite fruits. The fruits mostly ripen in August in our area and are deep purple when fully ripe (near the bottom of the second picture). My mom has a single-grafted Flavor King pluot tree that is a few years older than mine, and the fruits from her tree are delicious. Flavor King seems to be a moderate grower that sets a moderate amount of fruit compared to the other three pluot varieties. My Flavor King scion set about 20 pluots this year.

Dapple Dandy is another tasty pluot. The few Dapple Dandy fruits I’ve eaten off the tree so far were good, but a bit too tart. I think they need to stay on the tree until August to reach peak flavor. Dapple Dandy is a moderate grower, but it sets a lot of fruit. The small Dapple Dandy scion on my tree set over 50 pluots this year. I had to thin many of them to keep the branches from breaking off under the weight of the fruit. The pink fruits in the above pictures are the Dapple Dandy pluots.

Flavor Queen is the most vigorous grower of the four varieties I have. I’ve had to prune it three times this year to keep it from out growing the other varieties, even though the Flavor Queen scion is facing north. One of the hardest challenges with a multi-graft tree is keeping the scions balanced with each other. You need to keep pruning back the most vigorous scions throughout the growing season to keep them in balance with the less vigorous scions. If one scion outgrows the others, it might take over and overwhelm the other scions.

That’s essentially what has happened with my multi-grafted plum tree. The Beauty scion grew very large, and I didn’t prune it enough early on. Two of the less vigorous scions (Laroda and Nubiana) are small and stunted and don’t produce many plums. I haven’t tasted the fruit of Flavor Queen yet. It set about a dozen fruits this year, but they are still green and hard.

July 28 2012 | Pluots | 3 Comments »