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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Upcoming Tree Fruit Classes in April and May

I have two fruit growing classes coming up in the next in April and May. I am adjusting the dates of these classes so that they match the activities in the orchard. This cool spring has delayed everything a little bit so I had to set a different date for the summer pruning classes.

Getting Larger Fruit by Thinning Apples, Pears, Peaches and Plums
Friday afternoons or Saturday mornings, April 19, 20 and April 26, 27
Ahern Orchard near MLK and Bonanza, Las Vegas

A question I get every year from many people who have fruit trees is why my fruit trees are producing small fruit. They do not understand the importance of thinning fruit trees to get larger fruit. This is particularly important on peach, nectarine, apple, dessert pears, Asian pears and plums which include pluot. I will walk you through how to do it for each of these trees on each of these dates. All of the trees are represented in the orchard and you will be given the opportunity for hands-on experience performing these operations yourself.

Sign up for one of these classes by clicking here with your mouse

Summer Pruning Fruit Trees to Keep Them Smaller and More Productive
Friday afternoons or Saturday mornings, May 3, 4 and 10, 11
Ahern Orchard near MLK and Bonanza, Las Vegas

Summer pruning is not understood by the vast majority of people who own fruit trees and want to keep them smaller. This management technique diverts energy used for new growth into making more and higher quality fruit. It also helps to keep these trees smaller and reduces the amount of winter pruning work. But it must be done right or you can open the canopy too much and create other problems in the Mojave Desert! This class will teach you why it's important and how to do it correctly. You will be given the chance to practice this technique on fruit trees growing in the orchard.

Sign up for one of these classes bike clicking here with your mouse

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Desert Horticulture Podcast: Selecting the Best Almond Tree for the Desert

Growing almonds in the desert makes a lot of sense. Pistachios are another good choice but there's not as many to pick from. Selecting the best almond can be a little daunting but stick with the genetic dwarfs that are available. Join me in desert horticulture and find out which varieties are best and why.

Selecting the Best Almond Tree for the Desert

Read along while you listen to my podcast on Desert Horticulture.

Almonds – Most almonds do extremely well in southern Nevada and make excellent landscape trees.

Recommended rootstock: Nemaguard but others have performed adequately over the long term.

Top Choice
·       All in One – Genetic Dwarf, Self pollinating
·       Garden Prince – Genetic Dwarf, Self pollinating, flowers white with purple

Notable Mention
·       Price
·       Nonpariel

Under Review
·       Carmel
·       Neplus Ultra

The stage in almond growth when green almonds are harvested

Peach twig borer infesting the outer husk on almond
The stage of growth when I like to harvest almonds because the kernel has nearly dried and they are easy to split. This is also the stage when ground squirrels like them.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Apparent Relationship of Tomato and Arthritis

Vegetables in the Nightshade family, the tomato family if you want, have been suspected to contribute to crippling arthritic pain. This article published by Dr. Norman Childers in 1993 goes into this in detail. The nightshade family of vegetables include tomato, peppers, potatoes, eggplant and others.

Relationship of Eating Nightshades and Arthritis

Desert Horticulture Podcast: Selecting the Best Apple and Pear

Apples and pears are best grown a bit out of the hot arid climate zone of the Southwest. But there are some varieties that have performed well. Join me in Desert Horticulture and find out which ones I found to be the best producers, both in levels of production and quality, in our hot desert climate. This episode includes Asian pears as well as desert pears.

Selecting the Best Apples and Pears - Yes, Asian Pears Too!

Read this as you are listening to my podcast, "Selecting the Best Apples and Pears". I will mention updates on this list that was created in 2009.

Apples – Not all apples do well in southern Nevada and range from “best apple ever tasted” to “tasteless” depending on variety

Recommended dwarfing rootstock: M111; avoid extreme dwarfing rootstocks due to fruit sunburn because of too much fruit exposure.

Top Choice
·       Dorsett Golden – Early Season, yellow fruit
·       Pink Lady (Cripps Pink)  – Late Season, red over green fruit

Notable Mention
·       Anna – Early season
·       Einshemer – Early season
·       Fuji – Mid season
·       Gordon – Mid season
·       Mutsu (Crispin) – Mid season
·       White Winter Pearmain – Mid to late season

Under Review
·       Akane
·       Arkansas Black
·       Asmead Kernel
·       Babe (Genetic Dwarf)
·       Gala
·       Granny Smith
·       Red Fuji
·       Scarlet Sentinel Columnar
·       Yellow Newton Pippen

Asian Pear – Performs surprisingly well in our climate and we are currently working on increasing the size of the fruit

Recommended Rootstock: OHxF333 but others have performed well

Under Review
·       Chojuro
·       Hosui
·       Kikusui
·       Shinko
·       Shinseiki
·       Tsu Li
·       Twentieth Century
·       Ya Li

Pear, European – European pears do quite well in taste but may not have the same visual appeal as commercially grown pears. Most are “dessert” pears and grown for fresh eating.

Recommended Rootstock: Many

Top Choice
·    Kieffer – Salad pear, nicknamed “Jicama pear” with flavor resembling an Asian pear, good for canning and baking and virtually pest free

Honorable Mention
·       Bartlett
·       Monterrey
·       Red Bartlett

Under Review
·       Bosc
·       California
·       Comice
·       D’Anjou
·       Hood

Strawberries Available By the Flat- Order Now

Everybody excited about strawberries coming in this year?  I know I am!  This past winter was CRAZY, and I'm ready for some summer in a pint.  :)  As always, please help spread the word about these yummy berries, so we can hopefully get enough orders to cover our expenses.  :)

These farmers are the same as our previous years - for those who are ordering for the first time, both farmers fit our criteria for the small family farmer that does what they can, and truly believes in good, healthy, pesticide-free produce.  They are good, humble people, which is exactly who we love to support, right?
Most of you know the drill - we have conventional and organic flats available.  Conventional flats are $23 an OPEN flat and organic flats are $30 an open flat - open flats are the kind you get at the farmer's markets, NOT the grocery store.  They are roughly 12 pounds a flat, which equates to around 12 pints of jam on average.  The conventional berries come from a farm that supports integrative pest control, which means they utilize pesticides only after other methods have been unsuccessful and they risk losing a whole crop. If this is your first time ordering - PLEASE NOTE - open flats are picked fresh and are NOT sprayed with preservatives, making them more susceptible to mold quicker than berries from your typical grocery store.  Therefore, make sure you make the necessary arrangements to sort through your flats and either process or wash them in a vinegar bath to keep them fresher, longer.
EVERYONE ORDERING - place your order by responding to my email with

Number of flats:
Organic or conventional:
Delivery location:
Contact number on the day of delivery:

You can pay by venmo, paypal, or by sending a check, cash, or money order to Elizabeth Kay,  173 East Fiddlers Canyon Road, Unit 1, Cedar City, Utah 84721, by April 8th.  For Venmo, my id is @Elizabeth-Kay-3.  Please make sure your information is in the notes so I can link it to your order info above.  If you live in Cedar and would like to pay in person, that's fine too - just text me at 702.219.6700 to meetup.  PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL APRIL 10th TO SEND YOUR PAYMENT IN THE MAIL.  Group orders need to pay by April 8th unless otherwise arranged. 
FOR PAYPAL:  You are welcome to pay me through paypal IF you use these instructions - login to your paypal account and click on "pay or send money." Then, MAKE SURE to click on the "Send to friends and family in the US" - do NOT click on "pay for goods and services" unless you want me to track you down and make you pay more for your berries. ;)  Next, type in my phone number - 7022196700 and the amount of your total.  Leave in the notes the name you placed your order under so I can make sure your payment gets applied to the right order, your contact number for that day, and your delivery location.  Then, click on send payment.  :)

Deliveries are scheduled for:

Las Vegas - April 12th, 7pm, Mountain Crest Park off of Lone Mountain and Durango
St George - April 13th, place and time to be determined (please let me know if you are interested in being a delivery location)

Cedar City - April 13th, 645 North 400 West, Cedar (across from the Sunroc lumber yard behind the 2 big red barns and storage containers), 8am
Please mark your location when you order, and I will be sure to keep you updated on any changes.  If the time doesn't work for you, and you cannot arrange for someone else to pickup your order for you, you may text me at 702 219 6700 to see if a different time works for the both of us.  On the scheduled day of delivery, please realize that I have many people checking for delivery updates - if you do not hear me respond right away, you can try calling me or my husband, Josh, at 702.533.4940.  :)
Any questions, please first make sure it has not already been answered in this email.  Then, text is preferable to calling me - 702.219.6700.

I also still have memberships to Frontsight Firearms Training Institute, just outside of Las Vegas.   Check out their offerings at www.frontsight.com.  The memberships I offer are diamond.  We got free memberships through a family member, and so we are offering them to you at the cost of the transfer fee only, which is $100.  Let us know if you or a family member may be interested.
Whew!!  I think that's it!  If I missed something, I'm sorry, just let me know!  Also, let me know if you'd like to be taken off of this list. 
Can't wait to see all of my friends once again! :)

Elizabeth Kay

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Desert Horticulture Podcast: Selecting the Best Apricot and Plum

Want to make sure the apricot or plum you selected was a good one? Join me on this Desert Horticulture podcast to learn what I know about the varieties that do the best in a desert climate. And this includes aprium and pluot! Join me in Desert Horticulture and my many years of growing fruit in the Mojave Desert. 

Selecting the Best Apricot and Plum for the Desert

Listen to my podcast, "Selecting the Best Apricot and Plum while you read through this list. 

Apricot – Most apricots do well in southern Nevada and have wonderful flavor

Recommended rootstock: Nemaguard preferred but others have performed adequately over the long term.

Top Choice
·       Blenheim (Royal) - early
·       Flavor Delight (Aprium; actually a plum apricot hybrid but fruit marketed as an apricot) very early
·       Gold Kist – very early
·       Moorpark - early
·       Royal Rosa – excellent landscape tree, very early

Notable Mention
·       Canadian Blenheim White - early
·       Chinese - early
·       Early Golden - early
·       Flora Gold – very early
·       Katy – excellent landscape tree, very early

Under Review (Early results are good on all)
·       Autumn Glo
·       Early Autumn
·       Goldcot
·       Harcot
·       Tomcot

Aprium – Plum apricot hybrid that does extremely well in our climate

Recommended Rootstock: Nemaguard but others have performed adequately over the long term.

Top Choice
·       Flavor Delight – See apricot since the fruit is marketed as an apricot, very early

Plum – Plums do well in our climate. The most common fresh plums are Japanese plums.

Recommended Rootstock: Citation but other rootstocks have performed adequately over the long term.

Top Choice
·       Santa Rosa
·       Santa Rosa, Weeping – landscape tree form of Santa Rosa
·       Emerald Beauty

Honorable Mention
·       Beauty
·       Burbank
·       Burgundy
·       Elephant Heart
·       French Improved – Prune
·       Italian Prune – Prune

Under Review
·       Catalina
·       Green Gage – European plum

Plumcot – Apricot plum hybrid
Under Review
Plum Parfait

Pluot – A very complex hybrid of apricot and plum that has developed a very high sugar level and complex flavors when tree ripened

Recommended Rootstock: Citation but other rootstocks have performed adequately over the long term.

Top Choice
·       Flavor King
·       Flavor Queen

Honorable Mention
·       Flavor Supreme

Under Review

·       Dapple Dandy
·       Flavorosa
·       Flavor Delight
·       Flavor Finale
·       Flavor Grenade
·       Geopride

Desert Horticulture Podcast: Picking the Best Nectarine and Peach for the Desert

Selecting the best nectarine and peach tree is confusing - there are so many different varieties to pick from! This podcast helps you sort through some of the varieties that grow best in our desert climate. Learn some tips about selecting varieties by an expert who has grown dozens of varieties and conducted blind taste tests on each to determine which are the best. Learn why nectarines take an extra commitment when growing this fabulous fruit in a desert climate.

Pick the Best Nectarine and Peach for the Desert

Read this extract from my list of recommended fruit trees while you listen to my podcast titled, "Pick the Best Nectarine and Peach". Connect to it through my blog.

Nectarine – Nectarines do well in our climate but vary in fruit quality and some taste pretty bad.

Recommended Rootstock: Citation but others have performed adequately over the long term.

Top Choice
·       Arctic Star

Honorable Mention
·       Arctic Glo
·       Arctic Rose
·       Desert Dawn
·       Desert Delight
·       Double Delight

Under Review
·       Arctic Gold
·       Garden Delight – Miniature
·       Goldmine
·       Independence
·       Liz’s Late
·       Necta Zee – Miniature
·       Panamint

Peach – Peaches do extremely well in our climate and have received praise from internationally recognized chefs.

Recommended Rootstock: Citaton but others have performed adequately over the long term.

Top Choice
·       Babcock – White, mid season
·       Eva’s Pride – Early season
·       May Pride – Early season
·       Mid Pride – Mid season
·       Starks Saturn – Donut peach, white flesh, mid season

Honorable Mention
·       Arctic Supreme - white flesh, mid season
·       Desert Gold -
·       Earlitreat – Earliest producer
·       Early Amber – Early season
·       Early Elberta -
·       Elberta – Mid season
·       FlordaPrince – Early season
·       Red Baron – Showy flowers, good landscape tree, mid season
·       Red Haven – Mid season

Under Review

·       Arctic Jay – White
·       Carnival
·       Double Jewel
·       Elegant Lady - White
·       Fairtime
·       Gold Dust
·       Harken
·       Indian Free
·       July Elberta (Kim)
·       Nectar White - White
·       O’Henry – Late season
·       Rio Oso Gem
·       Snow Beauty - White
·       Snow Giant - White
·       Snow King - White
·       Strawberry Free - White
·       Sugar Lady - White
·       Summerset
·       Sweet Bagel – Donut peach, yellow
·       Tra Zee – Late season
·       Tropic Snow -White
·       White Heath Cling - White
·       White Lady – White

Peach, Miniature – These are typically peaches which are genetic dwarf and fruit quality is often not as comparable to standard peach trees.
Top Choice
·       Bonanza – Mid season

Honorable Mention
·       El Dorado – Mid season
·       Pix Zee – Mid season

Under Review
·       Honey Babe
·       Garden Gold
·       Garden Sun