7 ways to use mi­cro­greens

When you have a fruit tree that’s a mess, here’s where to be­gin

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Plants With A Purpose - BEN GAIA

1. Use mixed mi­cro­greens to add flavour and tex­ture to sal­ads or make a mi­crogreen salad.

Here is my un­kempt Sturmer Pip­pin tree (right) one dry day in late Au­gust 2014, still dor­mant be­fore flow­er­ing. You can see lots of messy, crossed branches, some dead ones, and too many very tall shoots head­ing sky­ward. It prob­a­bly hasn’t been pruned for more than five years. Ok, pos­si­bly 10.

I waited for a sunny day in Au­gust, just be­fore the tree blos­somed.

Hard­woods are tough on steel blades so for this job, I used: • a jack­saw • lop­pers • sharp se­ca­teurs

START BY RE­MOV­ING WHAT YOU DON’T WANT

Al­ways re­move branches that are too big or in the way, cross­ing other branches, and all rot­ten wood. Here, I cut three main stems short: one was too tall and mostly non­fruit­ing buds, one was too near the chook house and blocked the way to the feeder, and one was a dead branch com­ing from the base of the tree.

One of my aims in prun­ing this tree was to re­duce its height, from 3m to 2m over­all, so it would be eas­ier to harvest and more light could reach the fruit trees be­hind it.

BEN’S TIP

Oil and sharpen your tools be­fore you prune each tree.

PRUNE FOR GOOD LOOKS

You want to trim all the limbs down to the best-look­ing fruit blos­som spurs.

These fruit buds (right) are think­ing of burst­ing into flower any warm spring day now. They are fat and feath­ery, on wrin­kled, gnarly two-year-old (or older) wood. Blos­som buds only form on wood more than two years old - younger wood is smooth in com­par­i­son.

A good place to prune small branches is at the ‘col­lar’ where the younger wood emerges from the older wood. You’ll see a change in colour, the older wood hav­ing de­vel­oped a harder bark, the younger wood still look­ing brown and ten­der (see pic­ture at the top of page 69).

THE RE­SULTS

Here’s the tree just a few months later, blos­som­ing in Oc­to­ber and start­ing to grow fruit in De­cem­ber.

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