Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Sign of a Good Gardener?

Why are these bags of "trash" the sign of a good gardener?  Well, that involves a story. I first planted four peach trees (two Elberta and two Red Haven) about eight years ago.  The first few years, they grew and grew.  The third year they blossomed for the first time and we got a decent crop of organic fruit.  This lulled us into a false sense of security.  The next year the trees set more fruit, and it was too much for them, Oh, we read about thinning, but could not bring ourselves to pull off many little fruits that could be destined to be delicious PEACHES!  So, we got lots of small peaches with little flesh.  And the branches of the trees actually snapped off under the weight of the fruit.  I swear I heard a few branches groan and snap off in the middle of the night.  We learned that, to produce a decent crop of good fruit, you need to pull off NINE of every TEN peaches when they are marble size, so the tree puts energy into making fewer, larger fruits (some sources say to pull off 19 of every 20 peaches!).  And this is what these bags in the photos above represent-  you see three bags of thinnings here, two more are in the trash and two more in the garden...and we are still thinning.
So, what does this have to do with being a good gardener?  A good gardener steels herself to pull off a ton of peaches (or apples, pears, plums...) to get a good crop.  A good gardener removes an under performing plant.  A good gardener takes out a plant that is the wrong size, shape or form for the place.  Gardening is not all about the planting and harvesting, it is about the good sense to "unplant," to thin, to realize your mistakes and correct them.
Happy thinning!
Happy gardening!

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