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By Donna Westfall – January 25, 2020

When my mother was a little girl, she and her seven brothers and sisters would go into the strawberry fields and pick strawberries to earn a few cents a day.

When I was a little girl about five years old, our landlady would plant veggies in the backyard and I’d follow her around like a puppy dog.  Finally, after nagging her sufficiently, she taught me some basics of growing food and I was hooked.

In the intervening years, I’ve been a member of lots of gardening clubs, on the Board of Farmer’s Markets and got my Master Gardener’s designation.  Growing fruits, vegetables, flowers and succulents has mostly been for pleasure, for eating and sometimes for profit.

On January 22nd, the first meeting of the year of Roots & Shoots Garden Club took place at Beverly Overstreet’s home.  But before we get into the nuts and bolts of the meeting, let’s backtrack and explain how these meetings take place.

President, Mary Anne Buckles sends out notifications through email or snail mail.  This describes who’s in charge, when the meeting takes place, where the meeting takes place and what we are doing.

In this case, Beverly and Mary Anne were in charge.  The meeting starts at 11 am and usually runs until 1 pm.  Directions are given to the address and the theme was Pruning Fruit Trees! By the way, we meet rain, shine, wind, hail…..

Part of this month’s newletter was letting us know that two members passed away.  Norberto Elicker and Holly Gensaw, may they rest in peace.

Also included was a diagram of planting companion crops because, “Did you know that tomatoes hate cucumbers?”

Twenty people showed up and made themselves comfortable in Bev’s family room where Grant Eberly set up a screen and computer to walk us through info on pruning fruit trees along with some helpful advice like spraying sulphur in the winter to combat leaf curl. Usually, we eat before the program, but decided to eat later. While the lecturing and question and answers were taking place along with a lot of laughter and comraderie, Mary Nord mentioned that they have an orchard that is 98 years old. Plus, every year they hold an event to make apple cider.

Some useful info about pruning:

Plum Trees – can be pruned back severly.

Most stone fruits (nectarines, peaches, plums, almonds, apricots and cherries) – like to be pruned in a vase shape.  But cherry trees, which I thought were to be pruned in the winter time, are best pruned in the early spring, April, May, or June.

Apples and Pear trees can be damaged if their spurs are pruned off. What’s a spur?  It’s a thick, thorn-like growth and this is where the fruit develops. 

After the lecture, it was time for lunch. This meeting, it was more like a pot luck. We had our choice of five soups, sandwiches and desserts.  I just passed on the soups/sandwiches and went straight for the desserts:  cheese cake, tapioca pudding with red raspberries, chocolate balls, cookies and more.  Then backtracked and sampled the soups and sandwiches.  All delicious!

After lunch, most everyone accompanied Grant outside where he demonstrated how to prune on 1/2 dozen different fruit trees. 

A calendar of upcoming meetings for February through October was handed out.  They included:

February – Working fort he Del Norte Fair & Fair Projects

March – Growing Palms in Del Norte

April – Seed, Seedling and Plant Exchange

May – Update on Growing Beautiful Iris

June – Attracting Bees to our Gardens & Cultivating Bees at our homes

July – Garden Tour In and Around  Town 

August – Del Norte  Fair & Project Presentations

September – Annual Picnic inviting  Brookings/Harbor and the other garden clubs in Crescent City

October – Invasive Species and  what Gardeners Can Do to Help

Usually there are a few field trips throughout the year.  This year there may be a trip to Bandon, Oregon in May.  A trip to McKinleyville to Millers Garden Center in June and Habitat For Humanity Garden Tour in July.

Interested:  Feel free to join.  All meetings are open to the public and free.



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