By Gary Kline
You’ve all heard the story of Johnny Apple Seed. This is the story of ‘Petey Plum Pit’. Although “Petey” is not his real name, it is indeed a true a story about a customer of Black Lake Organic and how one of his plum trees went crazy making plums this year (see photo below)
As he told it to me, ‘Petey’ planted a plum sapling in 2011 in very poor, sandy and extremely deficient soil, especially in the trace minerals copper, zinc, boron and manganese (according to soil tests he had done at BLO). Petey did not keep records of the fertilizing treatment given this particular plum tree so we are going mostly by his memory and the picture is complicated because some family members also did some of the fertilizing, but just based on what he can recall and what he has observed, there is a rather remarkable story to be told here.
In 2011 after the tree was planted and fertilized with BLOOM fertilizers, he put down an alder sawdust mulch and made an inexpensive attempt at the Fertile Mulching System (alder chips would have been better for aeration). The tree was given a spraying with a product called ‘Spray-N-Grow’, but no difference was noticed. There were no plums produced that year. Little was done in 2012. The tree produced 4 plums. The following year (2013), the tree bloomed a lot of flowers. After the time when fruit sets he put down Bloom No. 7 beneath the drip line. About 18 inches from the trunk, he jammed a crowbar into the ground and created a hole in which he put ‘charged’ biochar. (see GIL No. 12 - Biochar in Gardening). The tree was foliar sprayed one or two times with diluted Sea Crop ocean mineral supplement and a couple times with a 50/50 mix of Pacific-Gro fish and crab liquid fertilizers. That year he got 5 plums.
This year is a dramatically different story. Like the previous year, the plum tree showed lots of blooms. At the flowering stage Petey sprayed it with Sea Crop and again gave the plum tree a fish and crab spraying a couple weeks later as well and a soil drench of fish/crab was applied.
We can’t say what other factors may have been involved (maturation stage, weather, pollination timing, etc.) but this year the tree is looking quite healthy and has over 200 plums on it. Fertilizing surely had a major role in this production. Look again at the photo. For a likely explanation of this impressive response, I invite you to read my article on “Why Fertile Mulching Works So Well” by going to http://www.blacklakeorganic.com/Fertile-Mulching-Why-It-Works-So-Well
© 2014 Gary L. Kline
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