Orchard Visit with Alan


I have plenty of deer and spray deer repellent to partially protect nursery trees,but they are acting strangely this season and not even eating my drops, although they sometimes are chewing a bit of foliage- just not enough to require another spray. I haven't sprayed my home made mixture for about 6 weeks.


This post will cover the peaches I saw. It's pretty nice to be able to talk about multiple peaches being ready in October.

There weren't any Indian Free ready when I came by, but there are a few left on the tree. One interesting thing I noted is that the IF leaves were looking pretty worse for wear, while the O'Henry planted very close to it looked pristine. I thought that was interesting, as OH is reputed to be BS susceptible, so IF must be very vulnerable. But, it doesn't seem to have affected the fruit, so it may not be too bad. Something to monitor though.

Alan was pretty excited about the Victoria peach. The best one I had was 13.5 brix and pretty good. Not strange or unusual in any way, but a nice normal peach with good flavor at an unusual season. One I brought home had only 11 brix (probably from one of the nursery trees with more shade), yet my daughter still like it best of the 3 kinds she tried.

Here's another late peach, Laurel. They are large and were a bit soft- maybe this is a bit late for them. Their brix wasn't as high. I found one on the ground which was badly damaged on one side, with 7-7.5 brix on the ok side. The sound fruit in this pic was quite soft and 10-10.5 brix.

The Heath Cling was my favorite of the 3 peaches. It has a thick, meaty texture, which appeals to me. It is a cling, but since it is so firm, I didn't have a problem cutting it off the pit without much mess or waste (at least the firmer one- the softer one was a bit messy, but not too bad). The brix was ~13.5, so it was in the same ballpark as the better Victoria. I thought that the uniform coloring was quite pretty.

Here's one of Alan's peach grafts from this spring. It put on a ton of growth- much more than my peach grafts have done.


So cool that you were able to visit his orchard. Looks like Alan was the perfect tour guide! Thanks for taking us along with you with your amazing photos!

Lovely shot of the two of you..

And of course I noticed the blooming roses alongside the figs.. :wink:


Bob, such great pictures! Alan, so good to see what you look like and all those lovely, lovely trees. LOVE the espaliered apricot. How fun!!


For the record, the Heath is the only established tree really set up to produce quality fruit. The Laurol with lower brix was from low in a nursery tree crowded against other nursery trees and the Victoria was from low in an orchard tree that gets much more sun than the shaded Laurol.

None of my peach varieties from mid season on (when I started measuring) got higher than 13 brix- I think a price of my relatively high vigor trees is a certain loss in sugar. It is a delicate dance between vigor and highest brix- I haven't been feeding established peaches any N for a while but I think you need good vigor with peaches to keep them long lived.

Nectarines, for me, are naturally lower in vigor and averaged over 2-3% higher brix than my peaches which amounted to noticeably more zing. Now Honey Royale was absolutely over the top in sugar, but that's another story.


Glad you liked the Heath Rob. Thats one of my favorite peaches because its a unique texture and taste. While the flesh is white it doesn't taste like other white peaches. Its a real OFM magnet for me though, my tree looks a lot worse than that, few pristine fruits.


Nice. A lot like BYOC spacing. :wink:


Hi Alan,
Really nice pictures. I love the selfies. I like to see the face behind the great advice too. I am a Georgia girl and I sure wish I lived close to someone with an orchard of fruit! I did meet a very nice member though. We exchanged scions and I got a nice fig plant and a couple of muscadine plants. If there is anyone out there in fruit land who lives close to Atlanta Ga or Douglasville GA and wants to show me their orchard (especially pecans) I will not hesitate to take you up on your offer! I just have a garden with 22 raised beds and 25 fruit trees but you are welcome to visit me too! LOL


Haha. My wife is sick of it too! She's a good sport and plays along, but sometimes I can tell she's tired of all the gardening talk.


You've got a very patient wife. The most my wife is willing to discuss is to give me "these are good" type feedback.


Although I tasted Heath last year this is the first year where they are well established and I got good sized peaches. I just measured the brix of one that was split open ripe and it hit 15 which is amazing for an Oct peach- but guess what- I measured a small Indian Free and it was just a hair under 15- like 14.9.

To me, both types taste amazing straight off the tree and what a contrast in colors. Oct is full on peach season this year!


Yes! I'm going to request some heath scion! And Indian blood too, I need some cooking and freezing stock! Now only if I can get a take!

My wife is not as bad as I make out. Today for dinner we had Italian sausage in red sauce over rice. The sauce was made from my tomatoes, I have a food mill. First time using my sauce this year. It was great!! Also the garlic, onions, and peppers were also from the garden! Even my wife commented on it being really good! This kind of thing is persuading her to come around to it all. Monday I made a 2nd batch of Green Chili Stew, and that dish is simply amazing. My wife said a shame we have to wait until next year to have it again. (you cannot buy New Mexican hatch peppers anywhere around here). I still have one meal left of the stuff. So she is appreciating the fact that the dishes are not only delicious, and only possible if you grow your own! My sauce this year is top rate! Both batches taste phenomenal (I used the half jars from both batches today)
I processed about 50 pounds of tomatoes yesterday. I save them up by freezing. It works well as I can remove most of the skin before using the food mill. Also the water comes out so a lot less cooking time to get it nice and thick, and it is very thick this year.


Funny you should mention peppers Drew. When we went through a garden area, I remarked to Alan that Drew would like these:

When I mentioned that I don't like vegetables (unless you count potatoes, corn or wheat) Alan told me I'd almost surely like these peppers. My wife has never managed to get me to try a pepper, but at Alan's urging, and with considerable trepidation, I took a good sized bite. As he watched my face, he simply comment "Well, maybe not."

Here's the pepper, complete with bite-mark, which I brought home (my daughter immediately grabbed it and scarfed it down).

Here's a closeup of the figs. They were OK, but nothing stellar. The brix was pretty low (~12, I think) after several days of rain and cold (50-52 degrees F, when I was there). I tried a few figs from his fridge and while very soft, they were definitely sweeter. I guess that is the risk in growing figs in a shorter season area without consistent sunshine.

Here's a pic of his Empress tree, under bird netting. These were nice and large and were right up there with Valors. I think the best Valor was a bit better, but Empress is nothing to scoff at.

On the way home, GPS sent me on the scenic route. I was really struck by the amount of water. It seemed that there was always water by at least one side of the road and sometimes on both. There were at least two long stretches like the following pic. I have a co-worker who lives 20 min North of Alan. When I showed her the picture on Monday, she said that it, and a lot of the water in this area is part of the New York city reservoir system, which supplies most of the city's drinking water.

That's a good pic to end it on. I want to thank Alan for his generosity and time. And to repeat my offer of a tour in my (somewhat more compact) orchard.


Hey Alan. Maybe you've posted it elsewhere but would you care to provide some info on your homemade deer repellent. I planted a couple of the grafted apples I potted this spring on tuesday evening and the next morning all the leaves were gone! I'm so pissed. Thought surely they would survive one night until I could get some wire cages around them. Nope.....


The figs got even worse the following two days- sour and disgusting. Now they are back to being edible after several sunny days, but still not adequately sweet.

Next year they go against a south wall where another fig has already long since finished its crop. This is the first year that this variety had so many late figs on it. We've already been harvesting them since Aug from that tree. There will be brebas next year if I pull it into my well house before hard frost.

Another better place for a fig tree is probably bordering an asphalt driveway. I notice my tomato plants last much longer from getting the heat from the asphalt when planted there. One plant in particular of the Countrytaste variety is still loaded with ripening tomatoes and thick healthy foliage. It will bring me tomatoes for several more weeks if the weather holds.

It is much more vigorous than the same variety growing without the benefit of this warming location. However, even this less vigorous plant has plenty of developing fruit. This is the most productive variety of tomato I've ever grown. Not as tasty as some of my relatively anemic heirlooms but as good as something like Burpee Beefsteak.


Wow! Very impressive! Nice looking peppers and plants! Alan, save some seed for me!
Funny story about taking a bite! You were a good sport, that story made me chuckle. I have one too from this year. I live on a court and only 2 original owners are left. My family and the Butlers, directly across from me. We both had these houses built, well my dad did. I'm in my dad's house.
I leave for my cottage every weekend. So I told Dianne she could come over anytime for tomatoes and whatever. So she has taken me up on it, and one day saw this cute yellow odd shaped pepper. She decided to take one. She is 80 something, she took the pepper home and cut it up and took a piece. It was a Jamaican Scotch Bonnet! Yikes! She took a bite, and at first they taste good, then a tremendous heat comes, she started choking and was almost in trouble. She drank water, that made it worse. It's was funny because she was OK, but a close call, these things can put you in the hospital! I myself test heat by licking my finger after touching the inside, I would never eat one! I told her next time have sour cream nearby! it is the only thing that will kill the heat! I'm glad I failed to germinate the Carolina Reapers this year! That would have put her in the hospital!

Alan's place looks fantastic, and serene too. NY state is a very nice place too. Everybody needs to see NY and NYC. The skyline makes Detroit's skyline look like hickville. I never seen anything remotely like it. Seeing 20 miles of skyscrapers is an image that will never leave my brain. The view from NJ is really something! I guess I was looking at Manhattan? Wow! I have an old photo from 1993 of myself with the World Trade Center in the background. I had to go to Connecticut, and stopped in NYC, first time I was there. The Trade Center was just attacked for the first time. I'm glad i saw that extremely impressive building, and i will never forget or forgive what happened.


With Alan's trees and his knowledge, he would have some pretty good YouTube videos on how to do things!


Since you mention it, I suppose I've got one more picture :smile: This is the tall one near the driveway, which matches your description above.

Normally, my tomatoes are just as big as this, but sprawling- I detest the smell of the plants, so I'm not anxious to tie them up all the time. This year, they stayed in their cages and I got much less production. I suspect that the weather had a big impact, as I didn't baby them with much supplemental water. This is one thing my wife wants me to grow, so I heard some "feedback" that I need to stop planting so many potatoes at tomatoes expense. It may also be the wet weather caused more disease early on, before the dryness came. But back I first started, I used to plant them in a wetter part of the yard (and a bit less sun), I once measured a single plant at 10'x10'.


@Drew51, around here Costco sells NM roasted chilis, chopped and frozen. Not as good as ones you grow and roast yourself but not bad either. For us, a good fill in when the home/local supply is out. You might see if they have them locally.


Thanks for the tip! I will look! They don't grow that well here, so I need a lot of plants to get a decent amount. I like Tex-Mex food a lot, and make many dishes, I have some mail order products book marked. And in Detroit we have Mexican Village. I could probably find them there, although I hate going into Detroit if I don't have to.