March 8, 2012
Newly pruned apple tree
Photo by Jessica Walliser
I didn’t let “the boot” get in the way of pruning my fruit trees. Pictured here is the largest of our two young apple trees.

Gardening is a bit of a challenge these days. I’ve been instructed to wear an enormous and uncomfortable boot cast on my left leg for the next three weeks. I have a stress fracture that’s refusing to heal, so now I’m subject to the further torture of “the boot.” Ugh!

As a result, all the early season gardening chores I’d really like to get a jump on are currently on hold. What I have been able to do, though, is some fruit-tree pruning. Now is the perfect time for this chore in many parts of the country. All our fruit trees here are just a few years old and none are taller than 6 feet at this point, so pruning with the cast on was no big deal. I removed any crossed shoots, opened up their frames and cut out any damaged branches. The before and after pictures shown here are of the largest of our two young apple trees. I have definitely found over the years that if you prune them correctly at this stage, you won’t get stuck with a major mess a few years down the line.

I also managed to crawl into our asparagus beds to clean them out. The beds were constructed and planted last season, and really, the only tasks to be done here were cut down last year’s ferns and clean out the leaves that blew in throughout the winter. I know I won’t be able to harvest from them this season, but I’m hoping that by next spring, I’ll be able to make a few light cuttings. I’m already looking forward to it!

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