Thinning Pomegranates

Pomegranates — After Thinning!

Last week, I removed at least twenty pomegranates from the shrub that grows near the southwest corner of my house.   This was very difficult for me to do.  Three years ago, my entire harvest from that same shrub was about seven pomegranates.  Most of them set late enough in the season that they didn’t ripen.  Even those that did ripen only sort of did.  Turns out that while an unripe apple is edible if tart, an unripe pomegranate is pretty much inedible.

Then, summer of 2017, the shrub not only set fruit but early enough that the fruit ripened.  We had a delirious month or so when we had almost too many pomegranates.  I say “almost” because, by shelling them and keeping the edible portions carefully stored, we managed to eat every single fruit.  If I had been Persephone in Hades, I would have not only been doomed to spend all year in Hades realm, I would have had to travel backwards in time several millennia to make up for time owed.

So, this year when the shrub flowered heavily, I was delighted, but flowers do not mean fruit, especially in New Mexico where springtime features high winds that strip flowers from the boughs.  When lots of fruit set, I was delighted, but I didn’t do much in the way of thinning because last year quite a number dropped off on their own when temperatures mounted.

But this year, the shrub seemed determined to keep every single fruit it could.  Reluctantly, I thinned where clusters of three fruit had set and were all competing for nutrients not only on the same branch, but on the same node.  Then, last week I took a deep breath and removed one fruit from any doubles.  There are still a lot of pomegranates on that shrub.  It may be that I’ll need to thin again, but, right now, I’m making sure the plant gets enough water and hoping that I won’t need to thin further to achieve an excellent final harvest.

Thinning fruit isn’t a metaphor for one of the stages of writing, but it could be.  I’m sure those of you who write know exactly what I’m talking about…


4 Responses to “Thinning Pomegranates”

  1. James M. Six Says:

    Using that metaphor, I’m at the other end of the writing garden. I’m trying to grow my story-writing skills. I don’t know when, exactly, I lost my skills to write novels and screenplays and short stories, but I did.

    Today, I planted the first seeds of new (reborn) skills. I practiced writing sentences: one-sentence descriptions of characters, one-sentence descriptions of action, 5 one-sentence descriptions of the same effect with different causes. No pressure to turn any of them into stories. Just some sentences to see what it’s like to write them. It’s still tentative, like a new bit of greenery peeking up from the earth, but after a few more days of sentences, when I feel like I have a handle on them again, I’ll move on to paragraphs … maybe even scenes.

    Some of those will have to be pruned, of course. Just because you CAN grow dandelions, doesn’t mean you SHOULD, and just because you CAN write a sentence a certain way, it doesn’t mean a reader will want to read it. But before you can prune a garden, you have to actually let it/help it grow.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Very nicely put… Just to expand on the metaphor — that shrub took several years to even get to bearing fruit. And it was the second pomegranate shrub we put in. The first was killed just as it was thriving by a late frost.

      My guinea pigs would disagree with one point. They love dandelions, and we actually cultivate some in one part of our yard for them. Even dandelions may be someone’s treasure.

  2. harriedharry Says:

    Learning to thin fruit is always a challenge. I always think to myself “I might kill the tree” or “what if I overdo it”. It has taken me years to understand if I want decent or great fruit, I must thin or nature will thin the tree/bush/plant for me. I have one pear tree, which is full of fruit. Pears are usually best if picked while still somewhat green. Now I have too much fruit, so it will not get eaten by me, but the birds & junebugs will sure enjoy it.

    I guess it’s like writing, to have a good story or article, a person must learn to prune the words and even to thin them to see how they shake out.

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