Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fruit Farming, Thrift Store Shopping, and Greenwashing.

The peach trees we'd planted last fall fruited this Spring and FINALLY, just this week, the fruit ripened enough to eat.

Only one of the two trees fruited. I don't know why. It doesn't look like it takes two trees to make peaches, but if the Eastern tree wants to pretend to be the dad, I'm not gonna argue.

11 peaches showed up one day on the Western tree, not very big by peach standards, but these trees are only 3-4' tall.


Realizing that I'd have competition for peaches from insects, funguses, and critters, I made some little "coats" from some knee-highs on sale at Walgreens for close to nothing.


Trying to close with twist-ties resulted in the loss of two peaches, so I just accepted that I couldn't close the coats at the stem.

As they changed color from green to "peach", we wondered how we'd know when they were ripe. Southern peaches tend to ripen by end of June, early July, I read on the internet, but this week the first peach fell off the branch to the ground. It was undamaged, so I checked the others and picked one that looked just as ripe. We ate both mid-day and they tasted just like peaches ... GOOD! The NEXT day, however, birds found the peaches. I found one on the ground with peck-marks and two on the tree with peck-marks, so picked the two, picked UP the one on the ground, and set out bird-chasers in the form of CDs hung to the tree:


The CDs catch the light of the sun and mirror all kinds of bright lights and reflections at the birds, scaring them away. I noticed yesterday, though, that the neighborhood squirrel was in the yard snooping around. I'd not seen him/her venture off the top of the back fence previously, and I DO NOT want him in my yard messing with my gardening, so I'll be looking for ideas on cheap, sticky stuff to keep him/her away from my treasures.

After I'd hung the CDs, I noticed black insects apparently trying to mate on the bark of the trees. Who knew peaches had peach borers? I checked the trunk and neither tree had been affected by the larva, so these adults had come from other trees in the neighborhood, kindof like the other insects that somehow find my plants in their travels.

My other fruit choices have had problems of a different magnitude. The strawberries had simply dried out too much by the time I planted them, so I'll need to replace them. The raspberries are off to a VERY slow start on the West side of the house, not suffering from any apparent insect damage, but a nitrogen deficiency which I just this week resolved by pouring my pee on them. (I'm really trying to go "organic" in my growing experience.) The blackberries looked to suffer from spider mites, but never recovered through my organic "cure", so I cut them down to the ground and they came back. The blueberries looked to suffer from red spot fungus, calcium deficiency, and maybe spider mites, but they're looking better this week, too after spraying with dish soap, milk, and cornmeal juice. Both the crepe myrtle and rose bush out front suffered from either powdery mildew or black spot funguses from all the rain we had in Spring, so I made a cornmeal juice concoction that seems to be helping.

In other news, some people are taking advantage of people who want to live more environmentally friendly by greenwashing them.

The thrift store had a 30% off sale yesterday, so I asked Em to take me before he went to work and after I had him take me to our local groceries for the weekly shopping/stockpiling. I spent $47.00, but got the most FUN clothing! Two pair of capris (one with all those pockets up the legs), 3 short-sleeved shirts, 2 long-sleeved shirts, a most delightful pair of soft pjs, two hats and another glass pantry container. With 30% off, I headed for the "better clothing" aisle, elitist that I am. No. 1 stopped by yesterday for a boggle and tried to go home with my "pocket" capris.

For those of you (family members) who have participated in forwarding the smear Emails about Barack Obama, there's a new website to address your fears.


Diane said...

I'm subbed to your blog via Bloglines so have been lazy and just reading there, rather than coming over here and posting. I'm still paying attention, though!

Sounds like the bugs have it in for you. Stupid bugs.

The greenwashing does not surprise me in the least. Same as "organic" doesn't mean anything, I figure the same with most similar product claims. The only "green" and "organic" stuff for certain is what we grow ourselves. Other than that, we just have to do the best that we can and improve bit-by-bit as we can.

Oldnovice said...

bit by bit ... It's a theme that resonates with a former computer programmer.

Yesterday ... after pretty much an entire day of rain (which hasn't happened here for too long) ... I was able to carve out a rectangle in the back lawn 10' x 5.5' x6".

Since that, I've done nothing but sleep.

#3 said...

Nice win on the Peaches!

I've heard of people having to cut raspberry bushes almost all the way back, when they were grown in containers. Didn't seem to hurt raspberry growth.

I've been trying to find something tasty to grow at H's, now that she has moved. She has a yard, but there is just not enough sunshine indoors or out (giant shade tree) to get anything going.

@Diane, If you think organic does not mean much, have you heard what is required to label a flavoring Natural? The Book "Fast Food Nation" goes into detail. Almost no difference between artificial flavoring, except that artificial flavors are often safer.

Oldnovice said...

Squirrel must have gotten the last 2 peaches. The twisty-ties were on the ground, the coats were on the ground, and the pits were on the ground. Only peach that survived was the one too tall for a short critter to reach.

Diane said...

(I clicked in here and experienced weirdness. I think I'm back now.)

Agreed on the "natural", #3. I've got Fast Food Nation and Chew on This (a kids' version of FFN) -- part of our normal homeschool stuff.

/so behind on blogs and emails...