There’s more to my humble gardening efforts than pushing my various heirloom tomato plants to pump out plump fruit, or sawing off fresh thistles from towering artichoke plants. My real pride and joy is in my front yard; irregular rows of juicy stone fruits now getting wvwr tubbier in the warm late spring sunshine.
I love most stone fruits, but any fruit tree that counters my dream gets an unceremonious fast trip to the wood pile or compost heap.
My first love is freestone peaches like the two Avalon trees along on the right hand side of my front yard. I’ve worried my Avalon trees along for the last nine years. The two twigs I planted when I first moved into this place are now about 20 feet tall by 20 feet wide. I’ve not been let down by the copious peaches my two Avalons produce most years.2012 promises to be banner year for the trees. This morning, I happily noted top and mid-level branches are beginning to bough down under the weight of ripening fruits. I do my best to make sure my trees are verdant producers.
During the ripening phase, I hand water my trees daily and give them a final feeding to boost sugar and fruit production. Hand detailing fruit trees like peaches and apricots forces me to examine the overall health of trees and which of their branches produce the most fruit on a yearly basis.
For the last two years I’ve battled peach leaf cooties (aka “peach leaf curl”). In the 2011 dormant season, I applied Bordeaux Oil three times to prevent peach cooties this year. So imagine my horror early this week when I discovered the reappearance of peach leaf curl on my most verdant peach tree. With about 150 pounds of fruit hanging on my tree right now, Peach cooties be damned, I won’t go peachless this year.
In the quest for the perfect peach, I feel compelled to eliminate peach cooties from my stand of trees. With five weeks left before the 4th of July, I’m already thinking about the fresh peach cobbler I’ll make for my family’s post fireworks show desert. After the last peach goes into my harvest baskets, I’ll begin doctoring and eventually pruning my trees. All in advance of next year’s crop.
Gardening not only produces healthy fruits and vegetables, it’s a rewarding rehab acivity that forces me to work on my left hand’s stroke impaired fine motor coordination—Jim ForbesMay 27,2012