Tuesday, February 3, 2015


While I was on vacation we had a blizzard in Boston. I got back on Sunday and on Monday we had another big storm. I'm not sure how much snow we got here between the two storms, but Boston got about 4 feet. And more is in the forecast for later in the week.

Circle Garden and Compost Piles

Yesterday morning I had a path dug to the compost piles. It is gone now. I'd say there is about three feet of snow out there.

Beds 1-3

The fence separating the driveway and the garden is totally buried now. Much of the driveway snow gets tossed there. I hope it quits snowing because we don't have a lot of space to put more snow and I won't let them put the salty snow on the garden. The clean snow is fine though.

Beds 3-8

The neighbors green fence is 4 feet tall so you get a good idea of the amount of snow. Those poles sticking out are stakes for my kale. I have to stake them in the winter as otherwise the snow will break the stems when the snow melts. Occasionally with the stakes some of the leaves break off, but that is no big loss. The leaves won't be eaten as they are too tough now. I'll eat the new leaves when they start growing in the spring.

So I'm stuck indoors for a while. I do have things to think about though. I still haven't figured out what I want to replace my fig trees with. I have space for about 2-3 dwarf trees there. I keep changing my mind. The two fruits that I buy and use the most are apples and plums. I know I could use another plum, but they are a PITA to espalier. I'm wondering if I can just shape one instead to fit the space. The question is if I need more apples or not. I have two espaliered trees and two dwarfs (which I share with my townhouse mates) in the back. I make a LOT of applesauce for my husband. He eats a half pint most evenings. So I could easily use 100 pounds of apples.

Another thought would be kiwi berries (real kiwis aren't hardy here). The best ones need a male pollinator. I know there is at least one that doesn't, but I've heard the yield isn't that good. Has anyone grown them? If so what has your experience been?

I guess there are more normal things to grow. Like maybe an apricot. I'm not much of a fan of apricots though. Cherries aren't bad, but I hate cooked cherries, so they can't be preserved. I'd have to eat them all fresh. Picking cherries seems like a lot of work for something I'm not all that into.

I am contemplating a persimmon tree. But what I really want to grow is a pawpaw tree. BTW some people call papayas pawpaws, but I'm not talking about those. Pawpaws aren't well known in the US even though they are native here. They don't ship or store well. I've had one once and they taste delicious. They taste like a tropical fruit more than the temperate fruit that they are. I could freeze them and make great smoothies out of them. The problem is that pawpaw trees are about 20' tall. I don't have that kind of space. They aren't grown much and I haven't a clue if they could be kept pruned short and still bear. Another issue is that you need two to cross pollinate. And the one grower in our area that I've talked to says that he hand pollinates the flowers. The natural pollinators are flies and the flowers smell like rotting meat to attract them. The flies don't do a good job and that is why people usually hand pollinate.

But I'll have to make a decision soon and get my order in. I just wish I knew what would grow the best here.


  1. Yup...we may be hundreds of miles apart, but our backyards look exactly the same right now. We had a big snow storm yesterday - it was the first "snow day" of the year for the kids.

    I really need to look into where I will be getting some berry bushes & fruit trees too. I purchased my cherry & plum in the late spring from a nursery, basically choosing the trees based on the info on the tags. This time I want to get specific varieties...hopefully I don't have issues finding a source.

  2. It's difficult to imagine that there was ever a garden growing where all that snow has piled up. I don't envy you that stuff at all! My vote is for more apples, there are so many good varieties that you can't enjoy unless you grow them yourself. Plus it sounds like you can put them to excellent use.

  3. We have a kiwi Issai that doesn't need a pollinator but we have it in a pot and it is only small so I can't really comment in yield really.

    That is some snow - if we have a dusting here it makes headline news and the country grinds to a halt.

  4. We consider ourselves really hard done by if we have four INCHES of snow! I'm afraid I can't offer any advice on fruit trees, with which I have had little experience and even less success!

  5. Last year I found a few pawpaws while hiking in the state forest and found that they are completely delicious. I thought about growing them but don't have the space for two. A black currant bush is in the spring plans. They are supposed to have many health benefits. That is a lot of snow! Glad it's not in these parts.

  6. I don't envy your snow fall, that's for sure. That much snow would bring things to a standstill here. We planted 3 pawpaw trees, but it will be a few years before we get to taste any fruits. I've not heard of people pruning them, but then they're not real popular here either. Those I have seen growing were planted as understory trees. Ours are partially shaded by larger trees. Hopefully they will like that arrangement.

  7. Goodness ..... now that really is a lot of snow!

    All the best Jan

  8. Woah, snow! We've only had a sprinkling in Norwich so far this winter.
    Red currant and gooseberries do well on my plot. I would love more apples though mmm.

  9. I had kiwis when I lived in California. They take years to start fruiting. In fact, just when I said the heck with this and chopped them down, I found way near the bottom one fruit, sigh. Too late.

  10. Wow!!! We are having the weirdest winter ever. I has only snowed once all winter! We are expecting 70 degrees tomorrow which is crazy!!!