Central Virginia Organic Gardener

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

Monday, June 25, 2012

Partial Success

The phrase "partial success" in gardening is about as exciting as the sports chant "We're Number 2,"  but partial success is what I have and partial success is what I will accept.  Last summer I had just come off a more than full-time, academic-year job and had sadly neglected my garden, including my peaches.  We got very few peaches and a lot of brown rot.  This year, I vowed to do better or to chop them down. We extensively pruned in winter and I sprayed dormant oil.  In spring, I sprayed organic caterpillar sprays and organic anti-fungals.  I sprayed Surround (tm) several times during the growing season and had my husband (a great guy) thin the young peaches severely.  This year, we have better yield, still too much brown rot to be happy with, but more good, whole fruit and, some damaged fruit that we can salvage. The photo above is an example of the best of the peaches- the white spots are the Surround (a kaolin clay spray that deters bugs).  So, no chopping down this year.  I intend to do the same routine, plus have better orchard clean up this year to reduce overwintering fungal spores and bugs. Here's to an ever better 2013 harvest!

Happy gardening!  Remember to click on the podbean link and listen to my podcast, or find it through itunes:  VirginiaOrganicGardener.


Jenn said...

We have two peach trees.... and only one produces fruit... we've had them for several years now... even with spraying and more spraying we have yet to see a fruit that is edible...

Judy Thomas said...

Hi Jenn,
Here are some considerations for you (there are more things that can go wrong with tree fruit than I can count, the VA ag extension says growing organic peaches in VA is near impossible-I disagree, though it is work):
Gardens Alive has a peach tree spray schedule you might want to look at, plus Mike McGrath's garden solutions archive on their site had peach advice. He grows organic peaches in PA.
Granular rock phosphate and a one inch layer of compost might stimulate your non-productive tree.
Peaches need: extensive pruning and thinning; good air circulation; a dog to keep squirrels away; good orchard hygiene; dormant oil, anti caterpillar, anti fungal and Surround sprays, to be grown organically.
Lastly, maybe my standards are lower? I am willing to accept fruit that is not cosmetically pretty, that is damaged but salvageable...these still taste good.
Let me know if you have more questions at jmthomas@clearwire.net

Anita said...

I was about to ask how the peaches taste until I read your response to Jenn.

Now I'll ask: How did the settlers (assuming they had peach trees), and even more recent generations, produce good fruit without all the sprays we now have?

Judy Thomas said...

Hi Anita,
Many fruit pests are exotics, that is, they were accidentally imported from other places around the world. Same with some diseases. Also, gardeners and farmers are often trying to grow plants in places in which they did not evolve and are not suited for. And, lastly, I suspect that fruits were pretty hard to grow then too.