Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pawpaw Patch

Amish plow horses, I think they are Percherons.

I haven't tilled my garden in 4 years because the Amish neighbor comes up with the horses and turns the soil with his old plow. No carbon footprint here!

Pawpaw Patch.
The pawpaw trees, or should I say, sprigs arrived Thursday afternoon while it was sleeting. Just my luck. The mulberry and quince were 3' tall and bareroot just as I expected. I knew the pawpaw trees were going to be small because anything larger than 12" doesn't transplant well, but still the shock of seeing them was, well, shocking. Of course, just as I blogged a month ago, David was pessimistic. "How will they survive?" "They're sticks!"
Today I will drive down to the farm and plant them. He and I do agree that we will intersperse them at the woods' edge. The directions advised that for the next year and a half partial shade during the hottest parts of the day were crucial. If we had planted them orchard-style, we could have blocked the sun with pine boughs or netting, but with 126 acres of pasture, we feared that the wind would destroy any structures and probably the pawpaws too.
If you remember, I have never seen an actual pawpaw tree, but have read about them. They used to grow in the woods, and a nickname is Kentucky Banana. The fruit is gaining recognition with heritage growers. Organizations such as Heritage Foods (, and RAFT are seeking pawpaws when in season, and are charging premium prices for a box of pawpaws.
I went down to Sonora Florist on Friday to pay for an arrangement and to chitchat with Violette. We got to talking about my little pawpaw trees, and she just busted out laughing, "There's a pawpaw tree behind the church", waving her hand in the direction of the church across the street. "And, I've heard, there's another a couple miles away". She went on to say, just as I had read, that she heard pawpaws needed two trees in order to pollinate, but the one behind the church bears fruit often. She confirmed they have a banana taste, and are very seedy. I just rolled my eyes. Just my luck, I spend a small fortune buying pawpaws, and they are in my backyard. I went on and told her about the mulberry, elderberries, and the quince. She had tasted them too.
Now, I have tasted the elderberries, and the quince, but have never stopped to taste the mulberries even though they grow wild along the roads. First off, I'm nervouse about them being tainted by pollution from cars, and farm machinery. Secondly, they are juicy, purple-staining berry. When the trees drop their fat little berries, people get fed up with them because the juice can stain a sidewalk, and I'm not kidding, they drop a lot of berries. I can't imagine having one near a driveway.
I bought the mulberry tree because I had read that the birds would go for the mulberries and leave the other fruit alone in the orchard. I guess I'll find out if that is true. Violette thought it sounded plausible. Maybe what I need to do when I have these ideas about native fruits and such, is go down to Sonora Florist and run them by Violette. I could probably save myself some money. Just like last year, when I searched high and low for pie cherries. I went down there, of course a week after the season ended, and lamented to Violette. "Mama has a tree in her backyard that was just loaded". Just my luck. I'll be the first in line this year, though, tell Mama, Violette.


  1. Janine, thanks for following my blog. I'm giving away a gift basket so leave a post by Thursday.

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