Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sweet and Juicy

Peaches (Prunus persica)

Time is of the essence.  Two weeks ago we've started harvesting peaches only as we can eat them.   Peaches on yogurt, peaches with ice cream, peach crisp, peach pie, peach cobbler and...peaches again?  Now they all need to be harvested to defy the effects of gravity.   If I do not act now, these plump, sweet and juicy fruits will turn dimpled, sour and old.  Indeed, it is not time to rest for the gardener.

Scars from Peach Leaf Curl (Taphrina deformans) remain on the leaves

Marks of the past.  Early in the spring the tree was severely infected with  Taphrina deformans or leaf curl.  Wet and cold weather prolonged the infection that some of the fruits were affected.   Some of the leaves show some reminders of the previous infection.  I marvel at they way this tree persevered through all that stress.  By early spring, the tree was totally defoliated by the fungal leaf curl.  However, as soon as the temperatures got warmer new leaves developed and they photosynthesized like there's not tomorrow - filling up all the fruits that developed.

Every fruit will have to come down one way or the other.

Maintenance.   The fruits no matter how high they are will come down to the ground to join the earthworms.  When you have fruits like these you've got to include one more item in your daily to-do list:  collect and dispose of all fallen fruits.  Otherwise, our four-legged friends are encouraged to visit frequently or even reside in the yard.  I've learned this the hard way when I left grapes unharvested last year.  The raccoons decided that my garden was going to be their nighttime rendezvous.  Rodents (mice) also enjoy sweet fruits and like to build nests for their young near a good source of food.  As a gardener I usually encourage wildlife to find refuge in my garden but I seem to discriminate against racoons and mice.

Home-Grown and Home-Made Peach-Orange Marmalade:  A Family Favorite

Utilization.  The production of the tree is not limited to consumption ability of their owners.  In fact they produce enough to encourage us to be generous and industrious.  A lot of these peaches went to my neighbors and friends who enjoyed eating them even with the skin on.   There's a good feeling that comes from being able to give something from one's hard work.  So we give, then there will still be some fruits left that need to be preserved.   It may be warm to be working in the kitchen during the summer but Peach-Orange Marmalade will be a nice touch on pancakes in the winter time

         Frankly, I prefer pruning, weeding, and fertilizing over canning.


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I don't have patience for peach leaf curl. Our previous peach trees were horribly affected. The rule was to spray them at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Superbowl, to keep PLC at bay. Now we only plant PLC resistant varieties. At the moment we're growing Frost, and hoping to add Indian-Free to the orchard in spring. Despite your PLC problem earlier this year though, your peaches look great!

I'm not a huge fan of canning, especially on days like today in the 90s, but opening a jar, in mid-December or January, of peaches grown the summer before...makes it all worth it! I'm actually making a white peach jam this morning!

Helen Lewis said...

Curbstone Valley Farmm-- Thanks for the info on spraying schedule. Now I can mark my calendar so I won't forget...but who'd like to spray trees on those days? :)

Do you use lemon juice in your white peach jam?

Solitude Rising said...

Beautiful pictures (sans PLC)of your peach trees with ripe fruits.

Ive been trying in vain to train my tastebuds to like fresh peach but somehow it still prefers the taste of the canned one.

Kimberly said...

Hi, Helen! What a "problem" to have! :) I suppose this is the issue for all gardeners...the harvest is huge and yummy, but all at once. Wouldn't it be great if it was stretched out over several months or even twice a year? Oh well. I'm envious of your beautiful fruits...they look wonderful! I'm glad your tree survived the leafroll fungus.

I'm like you when it comes to canning. I'm not a fan of the process, but aren't you so happy months later? Admittedly, I'm spoiled. I leave the canning labor to my mother who works hard and produces fantastic jams and preserves. She enjoys it, which is lucky for me!

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