This season, our 10 year old Blenheim apricot tree has produced hundreds of apricots. It’s the same Blenheim apricot tree I blogged about in prior posts. The layers of netting wrapped around the sides, top and bottom of the tree kept out most of the critters. However, earwigs have gotten into several of them. Last weekend, I put a cardboard strip with tanglefoot around the trunk of the tree to deter the bugs from crawling up the tree at night. It seems to have helped.

I have already picked about half of the crop, and there is still over 100 unripe fruit left on the tree. Our home grown apricots are delicious as fresh fruit. But my favorite way to eat them is in an apricot crisp. Apricot crisp is a baked dessert of apricots and sugar covered with a butter crumble topping. It’s the best fruit pie in my opinion, the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Last year, our apricot tree didn’t produce a single fruit, which I blame on the heavy rains that occurred during its bloom time. Heavy rains can damage apricot blossoms. Last March, forecasters predicted heavy rains again while our tree was in full bloom. So I covered the tree with a plastic sheet to protect the blossoms from damage. I have a picture of it covered in plastic in an earlier post on this blog. It seems to have worked.

After 10 years, this tree is in its prime. It grows very rapidly. It would grow about 4-6 feet or more per year in all directions if it weren’t for the fact that I prune it about 3 times a year. Typically, I prune once in January, once in early June just before netting it, and again in July or August after the fruit comes off. Keeping it a reasonable size makes the tree so much easier to net and to harvest the fruit. Between the pruning, netting, fertilizing, and picking, apricot trees (and fruit trees in general) can be a lot of work. But I enjoy the process, and I certainly enjoy the harvest.

July 07 2012 11:57 pm | Apricots