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If your fruit trees aren’t bearing fruit, then you may have problems with cross pollination. Some varieties won’t fruit unless they can be cross pollinated with another variety. Cross pollination occurs when bees carry the male gametes (pollen grains) to the female gametes (ovules) from one tree to another. But with some fruit varieties, male and female trees are required so nature can takes its course.

Other creatures also carry pollen, such as wasps, butterflies, hummingbirds and fruit bats. But bees are by far the most efficient. A study by the University of Bristol in 2015 showed that other carriers were not as successful as bees. So if you have male and female trees and still no fruit, it may be that you need bees in your orchard.

The trees that require cross pollination are apples, pears, cherries and plums. If you are planning to put in new trees, check with your neighbors to see what varieties they may be growing. You may not need to plant more than one variety of a fruit if cross pollination can occur from your neighbors’ trees.

Even then, it is not as simple as just planting two different varieties. Depending on the variety that is your first choice, you will need to choose another variety that cross pollinates successfully with yours.

For example, the Jonathan apple will cross pollinate with a Granny Smith, and these are actually two of the best apple varieties to plant, as you will have apples for eating and apples for cooking that are compatible with each other. If you want two varieties of eating apples, Gold Delicious will cross pollinate with Jonathan.

Cherries that are not self-fertile may require more than one variety for pollination. Other varieties, happily, are self-fertile and do not require cross pollination to bear fruit. These include the popular Celeste and Sweetheart. Before you plunge in and buy a young tree, check with your supplier whether your favorite variety is self-fertile or needs one or more different varieties for cross pollination.

The Japanese plum variety Satsuma is an excellent cross pollinator with other varieties such as Santa Rosa, Mariposa and the thrillingly named Ruby Blood. If you want to grow European plums, they won’t cross pollinate with the Japanese, but most European plums will cross pollinate with each other.

Pears require a lot of cross pollination to bear fruit. You will need two different trees at the least, and as they grow to around 40ft, you should choose dwarf varieties for a small garden. Cross pollination is an issue, as most insects are not attracted to pear blossom. So a good supply of bees is a priority if you want good fruit.

Just remember, a thriving orchard needs sunshine, good drainage, fresh air and bees – lots and lots of busy bees.

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Oh Yeah, This Is The Time Of Year To Start Doing Bodyweight Squats!

After prepping for winter is completed and as we head deeper into winter, things begin to slow down for us farm girls as there is (slightly) less activity on the farm. And for me personally, less activity means that all my favorite comfort foods will soon become the only thing on my mind until January 1st. And as it turns out these go straight to my hips, butt and thighs. As usual I’ll panic once I realize that spring and summer is just around the corner. It’s the same yearly routine, I know the drill, so why on Earth do I continue to fixate on all that stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie when I know better?!!

Well that’s the thing, I don’t want know better. I always give in to the comforts of food every winter because it happens to be really good! I might never be able to stop my eating habits (comfort food… yum) and creating a New Year’s resolution is pointless; adding a few key exercises to my schedule right now, however, will do a world of good for the spots I have so much trouble with. 🙂

How To Do Body Weight Squats


 
Start in a standing position with feet slightly wider than hips. Turn feet outwards just a hair.

Slowly inhale as you squat down by bending the knees forward, keeping the back straight and knees pointed in the same direction as your feet. Keep the hips back and abdominal muscles tight. Descend until thighs are parallel to the floor.

After a slight pause, exhale as you extend your knees and hips until legs are straight and you are back in a standing position.

Do 3 sets of 8 – 15 reps. If this is a new exercise for you, don’t do this everyday. 2 days per week max is recommended.

Tips:

When you are in the squat position, you’ll want to sit mid-heel for the comfort.

Rest a minute between sets.

Don’t allow your knees to fall too far forward.

Info:

Did you know that bodyweight squats can help prevent cellulite formation? It stretches in all the right places and increases circulation. Cool!

Engaging the abdominal muscles during this exercise not only tightens your tummy, but the motion of keeping your back straight while squatting strengthens you back as well.

Bodyweight squats help improve posture.


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