Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Espaliered Fruit Trees Year 2

This is my second year of training five pear and apple trees to a 4 tier cordon. So far everyone is complying and responding well to growing in two dimensions.  Every week I make sure to bend down new growth and tie it down. Some of my branches are already reaching the full length of how long horizontally I'll let them grow to.  Once all 4 tiers are established it's just a matter of pruning any undesirable growth from there on.

Fruit Tree Spraying

In years past I waited until May to spray immunox and triazicide on my apple, nectarine, pear, almond and cherries. Come June I was surprised to see that my trees were ravaged by plum curculio and bacterial leaf spot.
So this year I had enough of pests and diseases and made sure to start spraying at green tip phase in April.  I am now rewarded with healthy looking trees and fruit that are not damaged by plum curculio.  I have much respect for organic pomologists as maintaining an orchard without artifical pesticides and pesticides is very hard. Next step is to hand thin fruit in the next few weeks after June drop starts.

Repotting Figs

I transplanted my figs from 20" planters to new 24" planters.  While repotting I took the opportunity to root prune my figs.  I took my hori hori knife and shaved 3" of soil and roots from the root ball. Then I placed the fig into the new container and back filled with more soil. Since I didn't do this in the fall my figs are off to a late start this spring since the root pruning slows them down a bit. That just means that I'll only have a second crop this year.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Simplest and Most Successful Way to Start Seeds

I found the most successful and easiest way to start seeds is the paper towel in plastic ziploc bag method.  The concept is simple. You take a wet paper towel and place your seeds onto it. You then cover the seeds by folding the rest of the paper towel over them. Then you place the paper towel containing the seeds inside a plastic ziploc bag. Place in a warm dark place and check seeds every 5 days.

I was able to quickly germinate tomato and pepper seeds in 5 days. The main advantage of this method is that you save yourself from re-potting twice. Normally you would start seeds in a seed starting tray. These are 1.5" wide by 3" deep cells in 50 or 72 cell counts. Once your seedlings reach a certain size you'd have to either plant them in soil outside or re-pot them into a larger container if it's still too early to plant outside.  Germinating in a paper towel allows you to take newly germinated seeds and place them directly into a larger pot like a 4" container.  This would remove the need to mess with the seed starting trays altogether.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Time To Start Those Pepper and Tomato Seeds

This year as far as tomatoes and peppers go I am growing 3 tomato and 2 pepper varieties.

Marzanrosso - for sauce and salads
Pera d'Abruzzo - for fresh eating
Steakhouse - for competition growing (Heaviest tomato competition)

Cheyenne - for adding heat
Corno di Capra - for fresh eating and salads