Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tough Love

Some time back I posted something dithery about my espaliered apples out front. I knew I should do something, but anything seemed like too much effort. However, the master gardeners were out at the farmer's market today, so I went home and snipped some examples from my trees to show them.
"Fireblight," they said, as one.

"Oh, rats," I thought. I'd done this last year and didn't think it would come back. But it has, apparently, and I knew what I had to do, although I'm wondering how many more years I can "treat" the trees in this way.


After Mr. Clipper and Ms. Bowl of Bleachy Water and I got to them:

It has to be done, I know it. I think these apples may be doing the every other year thing, as the Anna apple is out back. Fortunately, that tree is disease-free and loaded with fruit. Even if I clipped every single one of the few ones off of these three, we'll have some apples this year.

In other news out front, the volunteer tomato has leapt past its supports, is starting to menace the lime tree, and waaaay inside, there's this little one hiding:

So it's not a cherry, I'm pretty confident. Still have no other idea what it might be. Perhaps some judicious pruning of suckers would have been wise. Oh well, volunteers get to manage their ownselves.

I thought all of the broccoli was done. After I picked this one and ate it for breakfast, it was. Unless there are side shoots.

The nice master gardeners said that this was just too much water from the last storm, not some horrid potato disease. We shall see about that, I guess.

There Will Be Salsa, unless the tomatillos fall right over or something.

The Talon onions got lifted today. I wish they hadn't gotten a storm last Thursday, but I had time today and they looked pretty finished. I can't believe it's the first of June. This year, I promise, I really do, to start my fall crops sooner.

And look! Isn't the Katy apricot wonderful? Last year there were only about a dozen fruit on it, so this is much more.

But wait. . . remember that storm last Thursday? It seems the tree thought it was a great idea to pump gallons of water up through the trunk to the branches to the twigs to the stems, and to the ripening apricots.

They split, and once split, they rotted.

Bleah. I'm trying to remove those so they don't make anything nasty happen, but it's a toughie. Fortunately, some of the ones up high didn't get affected somehow, and are as large as small peaches. I hope they taste good -- I've never had an apricot from my tree(s) before

So that's how it goes, I guess. Some good, some bad, some my fault, or at least partially my fault, and some not. Thank goodness for the turning of the year to bring new opportunities and challenges, but does it have to go so fast?


Ribbit said...

Very cool on the apricots. I bet those are going to taste fantastic. I can't believe it's June already!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Thankfully, we haven't had to deal with fireblight in our apples yet. I'm crossing my fingers. However, not that this year's erratic rainfall isn't wreaking havoc on the gardens. Hopefully though, things will settle into a more normal weather pattern for a while. Crossing my fingers your remaining apricots are spared. There is nothing like homegrown apricots...well, except maybe homegrown peaches :P

kitsapFG said...

Well that is a bummer that you have fire blight AGAIN and the rain ruined a portion of the apricot harvest. On the bright side though, it looks like your pruning and bleaching efforts gave the apple tree a new lease on life and the upper story apricots look delicious!

We are getting a tremendous amount of rain here too this spring. In fact, tonight we are forecasted to get a regular deluge of rain pumping up from the Hawaiian islands in a pineapple express system. I am starting to worry about blights and fungal diseases getting a serious foothold in the water logged and cool garden.

Esperanza said...

But some of those apricots look gorgeous.

Heiko said...

This wasn't the same problem you said was wrong with my apple tree was it? I'm glad I'm not the only one who has success and failure. I sometimes look at other peoples neat, organised and healthy gardens and get a feeling of inadequacy, wondering if I'll ever get things right!

Kristin said...

My apricots are still small and green--so I was shocked to see yours already ripe. I didn't get too many this year. We must have a different variety. Are onions supposed to rest outdoors for awhile? If so, how long?

Stefaneener said...

Ribbit, neither can I. Where did it go?

CVS, I only knew it back east and thought it was primarily a pest for pears. Guess I was wrong. . . maybe it's rain, maybe it's just my pocket, but it's not much fun. Apricots are my absolute favorite.

kitsapFG, I know. . . bummers all over. I keep hoping the trees will make it, but I'm comfortable saying I could re-espalier some (it would just be a multi-year setback). I can't wait to get to the 'cots. Has your rain made problems in your garden? Usually I'm worried about over-drainage, but not this year -- it's a blessing.

Esperanza, I know. We are going to have FUN.

Heiko, I don't remember, but if it is, take care of it. At any rate, if you're seeing curling leaves, it wouldn't' hurt to prune them off, following extreme hygiene procedures. Dip the clippers in a bleach or some sort of high-level cleaning solution between every cut, and burn or trash the clippings. Don't compost them. Fireblight is a bad problem, so being proactive can't hurt.

Kristin, these may be an early variety. The Blenheims are behind. The onions got so much rain I wanted them to start drying really well before I hung them to finish. I don't know that they are going to cure, but the warm weather forecasted seemed like a help. I'm going to move them out of the sun today.

michelle said...

Bleah, fireblight and it looks like brown rot in the apricots. You really want to pick and throw out those spoiled apricots (don't compost them). The brown rot spores can overwinter in the trees and infect next years crop when the flowers open. It can also kill new shoots on the trees in the spring - bad stuff - I battled it every year when I had apricot trees. But, I miss those old fussy apricot trees, you can't buy an apricot as good as one that is picked fresh and fully ripe straight from the tree.

I'm so happy that we're having a run of nice weather now, I hope it stays for the summer.

Jackie said...

I'm hoping that you get at least a few apricots that didn't split. We can (almost) always count on the tomatoes, though!

Stefaneener said...

Oh, arghh! Michelle, you're right -- it seems that it is Brown Rot. This rainy weather is a mess -- now that I research, I see the spots on the tree that indicate it's been fighting it for over a year. I just didn't have any fruit last year. I'll be extra-diligent about picking them off and discarding them. Do you have any recommendations for treatment, besides hygiene? The sprays sound harsh, such as captan. I may have to be more proactive with fungicides for the sake of the apples.

Jackie, I hope so too. I bit the ripe side of one rotted one and it was very tasty.

chaiselongue said...

I hope some of your apricots are OK. You can never count on anything with gardening, can you? Just when you think you have a good crop of something a storm comes along. We have no apricots (my favourite fruit) at all this year because we had unexpected cold weather just after flowering. Still, the other thing with gardening is that there's always next year!

Jan said...

Wow, those apricots are a fantastic size, ours are only like large cherries! I didn't know that heavy rain can make them split, so will keep an eye open for that... if we get that promised rain.