Peaches are like wine grapes, and wine grapes are like peaches. I was talking with a vineyard owner last year about growing wine grapes in Pennsylvania. He pointed out just how much viticulture has grown in recent years. Then he very shrewdly said that modern pesticides are the only reason so many people can grow wine grapes successfully. I'm sure there are plenty of organic wine grape growers in this state, but it ain't easy. That's for sure! After 5 years of caring for 6 mature peach trees, I'm ready to conclude that the same is true about growing peaches in this state!
We inherited our peach trees when we moved into this home. We sprayed a regiment of pesticides diligently for the first couple of years. And we had bumper crops. I'm talking hundreds of pounds. Belle couldn't process them fast enough. I sold the extras to passersby.
Last season we decided not to use pesticides. We amended the soil heavily with composted manure. We sprayed oil up to the time of blossom. We used fish emulsion and organic fertilizer. We even used a little copper spray to resist fungus. WE GOT NOTHIN'. Well, we got 12 pounds. From 6 mature trees, that's nothin' in my book.
This year we did all the organic stuff again, but we also sprayed pesticide right at blossom time when the butterflies lay their eggs. We didn't have hardly a single worm, But we still had major problems with fungus (see below). We harvested only 56 pounds. That's not nothin', but it's not much either, especially when you consider the hundreds of pounds of rotten fruit that fell to the ground. We picked and processed at least 200 -250 pounds of fruit. After the work of boiling, cooling, peeling, coring and cutting, cutting, cutting away the rot, we were able to keep just 56 pounds!
Hence my point. If you want to grow stone fruit successfully in this region, you've got to spray.
We don't know what to do. We love peaches. We love our trees. We hate pesticides. Any thoughts and recommendations are quite welcome!
Please stop by Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday to see what other gardeners are gathering from their gardens this time of year.
|One of many buckets of half-rotting fruit.|
|Processing buckets and buckets of half rotting fruit.|
|The stores in process.|