Articles written by Darryl McCullough (unless otherwise noted)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Warm Day In September

 It was painfully early in the morning when the MRFC's Josh Starry and Susan Jennifer Griffith of the Manatee County Extension arrived at my house to load up everything for planting day at the East Bradenton Park Grove. Susan’s County van, Josh’s pickup, and my little Civic were just barely enough for all the trees, wheelbarrows, tools, soil amendments, and plenty of cold water.

Once again the County turned out in force, though the fellows in striped shirts must have been somewhere else that day. In fact there was a bit more labor help than we needed, since Josh, Susan, and I wanted to do all of the actual planting ourselves. Next time, whenever that may be, we’ll know better what to request. Most importantly, the County's big water truck made all the difference to the planting, as the nearest water spigot to the grove is a good 200 meters away, and running a hose there would have been next to impossible.

We pulled out all the stops by amending the soil with biochar, crabshell, and azomite, and smearing the roots with Tammy Kovar’s mycorrhizal fungi. And after planting, a top dressing of organic fertilizer and then a little of the County’s bagged Florimulch. Rather short of our concept of adequate mulch, but that's a topic for another day.
Twenty-one trees is a lot, and though it was late September, by the time morning ended the Florida sun was packing quite a punch. Here are Josh and Susan taking a water break in the shade of a young bald cypress by the grove.

We had a pleasant surprise, a visit from Larry Atkins, fruit tree guru and past president of the MRFC as well as of the Sarasota club. Of course Larry planted many a fruit tree in his younger days, and we didn’t begrudge him relaxing in the shade and giving us moral support.

The trees were in excellent condition and looked mighty fine once they were all in the ground. Here is a nice Trompo canistel, and behind it a Tice mulberry, planted in the corner to give it plenty of room.

And they don't come much prettier than this young Kohala longan.

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