an aprium a day keeps the lawyers away


I will do everything in my power to keep this from being boring. This is going to be a blog entry about how I spent today in upstate New York planting fruit trees on our little farm. Some would call this “horticulture”. Others would look at a blog entry about horticulture and say “like hell I’m reading that!”

To which I would say “What?!? And miss the fun???” And then I’d promise to pepper it with low-class profanity.

So it’s spring, right? And we all know what spring is about: FUCKING. Or at the very least, plants fucking each other long-distance. You see, a lot of plants need the pollen from another plant to make more plants. And some fruit trees need pollen from another close-but-not-the-same fruit tree to make fruit.


19th Street, Cedar Rapids, IA

The above picture is the house I lived in when I was 3-9 years old, taken by my dad in the early 70s. The maple trees to the right were the major draw, but if you look a bit to the left, you see an apple tree closer to the house.

This was a “crabapple” tree, which was the source of no end of frustration for me. I can understand purely ornamental apple and cherry trees for their beauty, and the lack of any mess. This motherfucker, however, grew full-grown green apples that littered the lawn and tasted like shit. Ever since then I swore I’d have trees that grew things we could actually eat.

No doubt, faithful reader, you remember my successful Song of September apple escapade, and the logical extension of that is a dwarf orchard of many different fruit trees. Yes, I know “Dwarf Orchard” sounds like a terrible metal band, but it’s actually a real term: the dwarf trees are grown on roots that stay about 7-8 feet tall.

Using Google Maps, Lucy and I printed out a picture of the “orchard area” at our farm, and set it on a cookie sheet. Then we made little diamond-shaped “trees”, and stuck them to the picture/cookie sheet with magnets. This way we could move them around like chess pieces so that the tall trees were in the back, and the pollinators were next to each other:


Then I ordered 27 little 4-foot trees, following about a year of research. Peaches, plums, pluots, pears, apricots, cherries, even a nectarine, an aprium, almond, and two mulberry trees. Fast-forward a few months, and here I was at the farm, facing a gaggle of baby treelets. I marked them with numbers according to Lucy’s sheet, so I could plant them in the right place:


Oh wait, is this getting bogged down?




Now where were we? Ah yes, I decided that this dwarf orchard was not only going to be totally organic, but also biological. I read every word of The Holistic Orchard by the awesome Michael Phillips, and planned a way to grow the trees, beat disease and subdue varmints using only biological and natural methods.



the slurry, sexy, Mycorrhizal root dip for a cherry tree

F’rinstincts, one excellent idea is the use of beneficial fungi called Mycorrhizae that attaches to the root and supercharges your tree. Also: pure liquid fish, neem oil, kaolin clay, compost tea, and ramial wood chips.




By the end of the day, I was bone tired, but 27 fruit trees are in the ground. It’s not much to look at right now, but this is the long game. Some will bear fruit this year, but most of them will be rocking by next. Come have some, won’t you?

And thus I leave you, addled reader, with a few porno pics of some glaringly obvious sexual organs. Of a pluot and an apple tree.



9 thoughts on “an aprium a day keeps the lawyers away

  1. monheric

    It also thrills those of us who only have room for three trees (pistil envy?) and are organic-farmer-hipster wannabees. :-)

  2. killian

    oooh, baby, show me your pluot!!! Seriously, had no idea that ‘organic’ and ‘biological’ were different. You are indeed a font of knowledge, not unlike the tree of knowledge you show in your pics. Great job!! and the potted plants on my tiny patio are jealous!

  3. John

    Ian – I know Rte 22 well!! Beautiful area for sure!! I live in Patterson (Putnam lake) for many years. – Be well!


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