I felt rather foolish, but I was getting a little desperate.
Just last year, in mid-summer, I set an apple tree in our back yard. Not the best time for setting trees and such, but I got a great deal on the tree. That’s how that works, you know: the lower the odds of survival, the lower the price. Buy great-looking healthy stock early in the season when it’s virtually guaranteed to thrive, pay top dollar. Later on, in the blistering heat of July when several weeks of drought are likely, you can get a really scraggly, blighted and wilted specimen for one-fourth of original price.
So naturally, that’s what I did with my purchase of the little Honeycrisp apple tree. Surprisingly enough, it sprouted leaves and bloomed this spring. Cool. Even cooler was the predicted low Sunday night: twenty-eight degrees. “Danggitt! Another late Arctic blast and it’s going to kill the blooms and buds!”
Not having any trash cans that are eight feet tall that I could upend over the tree, I searched through the barely wrinkled recesses of my brain for some idea that might protect the little clusters of fruit-promising blooms.
What I came up with was plastic bags. At first, I thought I’d put little Ziploc sandwich bags over each bloom cluster. That was interesting, what with the wind gusting to forty miles-an-hour and what have you. But the neighbor’s high board fence offered a little protection. At least to the lower five feet of the tree. While I was covering each set of pink flowers with the happy little blossom mittens, (actually they were “Glad bags”), it occurred to me that I could use kitchen trash bags and cover the whole load-bearing end of each branch.
So, I did that. Another happy little surprise, which once again made me glad, was that the bags stayed on the branches all Sunday night. In spite of the wind gusting to forty miles-an-hour and what have you. So, I did it again last night. And will do it again tonight. And tomorrow night…
I’m hoping that this will be the last spell of nights below freezing until late next fall. Even better, early next winter.
I don’t know if I’ll end up with edible apples a few months from now or not. But I do know that if I didn’t do something now to protect the blooms and branches, there’ll be no chance of a happy little harvest later on. Kind of like raising kids, surviving a pandemic, and such as that.