An Alameda Garden: Rainier Cherries!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rainier Cherries!

This is the first year that I've had any cherries on my Rainier cherry tree and ever since I noticed the tiny fruits starting to color up, I've been checking them daily. The sum total of my first crop: 5 cherries! I was certain that the birds were going to beat me to them, but today I plucked the reddest cherry to see if they were ripe enough and couldn't believe how perfect and delicious they were! They were unblemished and juicy with just the right balance of sweetness and tartness in the golden flesh.

You have to be patient when you grow cherries. It takes three or four years to get the first crop and another three or four years beyond that for the tree to reach maturity. And for most cultivars, you have to have another compatible variety of cherry tree nearby to pollinate it. I've been meaning to graft another variety onto my tree for cross-pollination, but never seem to get it done. Some neighbors have fortunately planted two Bing cherry trees in their front yard, so it seems the cross-pollination issue has been taken care of.

So yes, it's only 5 cherries this year. But over the next few years, I should get a bigger crop each year. Eventually, I'll have a big enough harvest for a pie, or some jam, maybe some chutney, not to mention eating fresh. But today, life is a very small bowl of cherries and I'm OK with that.

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