7 ways to use microgreens
When you have a fruit tree that’s a mess, here’s where to begin
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.
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).
Here’s the tree just a few months later, blossoming in October and starting to grow fruit in December.