What's Happening Today - 2019 Edition


That is the coolest thing ever, and they look GREAT. I bet they are wonderful. Did your aunt grow them herself or were they from someone elses home? Seems like a lot of varieties for one person- they must be fruit lovers too! And yea, nothing like finding a box of fruit on your porch. As thrilling as that is, the other side of the coin can be the heartbreak of opening it and finding it spoiled. I once had a very sweet and wonderful lady surprise me with some fresh fruit in the mail, only to find out that it didn’t make the trip ! :frowning: Heart breaking. Ever hear of anything like that, @mamuang? :wink:


Our dogs names:




Must go with fruit growing…


Yes, she grew these herself. My uncle planted them before he passed and now she has all these trees that have been there for about 15 years. Some of her fruit trees are taller than her house. I saw maybe 8 mango trees there when I visited and probably just as many Longan trees along with many other tropical fruits. She dries what she can’t eat, sells some, sends to family, and gives them away to the community at her congregation. Her property is very productive. I made a post a few months back of when I visited her house with lots of pictures.

The fruit my family sends me normally never gets any damage. Sometimes the fruit has a protective shell like lychee and longan so no problem. Other fruit like mango, custard apple, and sapote my relatives pick before soft and ready to eat, so they usually arrive in good shape. Sometimes they ripen en route so I can eat them straight out of the box. These mangoes will need a few days before they become delicious. I need to find a way to ship them fresh figs I grow. They are so soft and I can’t exactly pick them unripe and expect them to do anything further. The starter plants I send down to them don’t do well because of soil nematodes.


I solve that by sending dried figs. Mine dried are as good or better than fresh.


Who the heck sent you rotten fruit ? :smile:


My nursery bed of apples and pears hasn’t shown much vigorous growth this year. I’ve been blaming it on my decision not to fertilize this year. I had a lot of winter damage for a relatively mild winter and think it was due to growth late in the season last year that didn’t have time to harden off, as well as an early sub zero night of -17.5F before Thanksgiving. Well, today I finally investigated further, checking out new growth and curling leaves. Come to find out I had a pretty good aphid infestation that’s been hammering my new growth. I sprayed with light oil and a sticker and will see how the trees respond. I’m kind of irritated with myself for not checking the trees much sooner. One interesting note in this nursery bed, the pears over wintered much better than the apples overall, and the pears were also far less affected by the aphids. Not what I expected in my Zone 4a.


Today I’ve loaded up the car with my fruit gift boxes for friends and family- here is the first few boxes of peaches. However, it just isn’t as fun this year at all, because I just don’t have the pride in my peaches that I usually do. You see, due to the late frost killing most of my peach and other stone fruits this year, I decided to try and maximize my yield on those trees that did set fruit by not thinning them nearly as much as usual. The experts reading this already know what happened, and I learned the hard way something I should have already known…YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE GOT TO THIN PEACHES AGGRESSIVELY if you want high quality, large fruits! AS you can see in the photos, my peaches this year are much smaller than usual, and I must confess that they also are notably less sweet than usual. The whole reason I usually love giving away my peaches is because of the extreme reactions people get when they see them (they are usually twice the size of a grocery store peach, which is about the size these are), and more importantly when they taste them. Its usually so fun hearing those messages on my voice mail from people who have just tasted my peaches I gave them and called to say they are the best they’ve had in their whole life, how huge they are, and so on. Don’t think I’m bragging, because this year I won’t be getting any of those calls I bet. My peaches are supermarket size or even smaller, and not a lot sweeter. On top of all that, once I realized my mistake I sort of lost my enthusiasm this year and didn’t spray as much as usual toward the end, meaning my peaches are smaller, less sweet, and have more bug bites and even a little brown rot around the bad spots.

Anyway, I’m blathering on in my usual way, but I really do want to take this opportunity to remind the experts and inform the new folks: Peaches have just GOT to be thinned and thinned a lot if you want those huge, super-sweet, beautiful and delicious peaches we all try to get. Leaving more on the tree with the idea of getting a larger crop is a terrible, terrible mistake. I may have gotten a larger yield (if measured in individual peach count or in weight or in bushels) but I would have MUCH MUCH MUCH preferred having a lot less peaches of a much higher quality, sweetness, and size than a larger yield of mediocre size and taste. I’ve learned my lesson big time!

The only good thing I can say is that these peaches are still better than store bought- but that is a pretty low threshold to exceed in my opinion! Moral of this story- THIN YOUR PEACHES NEXT YEAR!!! :slight_smile:


BTW, these are all contender peaches, and since almost all my other stone fruit was killed this year, this is just one more case of evidence that Contender is the best peach for frost prone areas. This isn’t the first year I’ve had contender peaches when almost all my other peaches were lost to late frost. And if properly thinned, Contender peaches are as good as any peach for fresh eating…

Oh, just for fun I wanted to show my Toka Plum tree this year. It set a ton of fruit and as you can see, I also didn’t thin it nearly enough. After seeing the error of my ways, I also lost heart and stopped spraying these a few weeks earlier than usual, thereby opening the door for bugs and brown rot. Still, there are a lot of good plums here. Problem is, I’ve decided I just don’t much like Toka plums at all!!! Seven years ago, in my wildest dreams I never could have imagined cutting down a productive fruit tree just because I didn’t enjoy the taste, but this one may become the first healthy and productive tree I’ve ever cut down purely for taste reasons…But I’m not sure. It is 7 years old but I may give it another year or 2 to see if taste improves. I know a lot of you really enjoy Toka…but it just isn’t my cup of tea.


Thank you for the reminder. It will still be hard to thin enough next yr. It always is. Your peaches are still nice and you’ll get plenty of positive feedback.


Thanks so much for saying that, Steven. Coming from you it really means a lot- you are certainly one of the people I refer to when I say “experts” on here. And while I appreciate the compliment on appearance, the thing you can’t do from a photo is taste…and these are just sub par fruit in that regard. I also wonder if the taste suffered in part because of all the rain we have had here this year. You have long been one of the strongest proponents of the idea that extraordinary fruit comes from less water, not more, during the development of the fruit. I might have never noticed that had you not talked about it a good bit over the years, but I am 1000% certain that you are right- my best years (taste wise) have been my dryer ones. This year has been one of the rainiest years I’ve ever had. Interestingly, that excess of rain seems to have resulted in all my young trees putting on more new growth than they usually do in the growing season, so it that respect the extra rain is a good thing (I have a lot of very young trees I’m still trying to size up) but as for the fruit, I think that rain may be part of the reason my peaches aren’t as good this year. Thanks again.

To everyone else who took time to read my long post above and/or look at the photos and give me a “like”, I appreciate it more than usual. I’m feeling pretty down about my peaches this year so your encouragement is appreciated! Its also a good reminder that even after 7-8 years of growing fruit, I still have soooo much to learn. Certainly I knew thinning was an important part of good fruit growing, but I’m not sure I knew HOW important until this year. And while taste and then size are the most important, Its also distorted my limbs quite a bit. Fortunately none have broken, but they’ve been bent so far down for so many weeks that I suspect they may not go back to the normal shape???


As usual, Italian plums are starting to drop, and I’m seeing a lot of new curc scars, despite having kept to my spray program all year.


Your fruit do look good. I can sympathize about the water-down taste. With last year months of rain in the summer to early fall, my peaches esp, summer peaches like Gold Dust tasted so bad, I could not finish eating one Gold Dust. I threw it away. Never imagine I would do that to my fruit but it tasted awful. My fall peaches did not taste as good as previous years, either.

As for bent branches. My peaches and plums that were bent by heavy fruit load for months do not get back to their old form, unfortunately.


Hot day today and only getting hotter this weekend. Don’t forget to keep your frogs watered.


I really want you to know how much I appreciate that post and that I thought it was a courageous one. It isn’t easy to admit that some of your (our) very hard-earned, home grown fruit can be of such low quality that you literally ended up throwing one away without finishing it! But I will go ahead and confess that mine have been just like that, and I have honestly done the same thing this year…just taken a few bites and then just tossed the rest of the peach in my compost pile! This is so hard for me to admit here in this forum, but like you, I feel we all have to be as honest about our short comings as we are about our successes. As I’ve said, my reason for telling my true story is to remind or inform people that thinning is important, and too much water may be a problem as well. I think perhaps it was a combination of both factors that resulted in my lackluster peaches this year.

I also appreciated the information about the bent limbs- even if it was bad news. Honestly I figured they wouldn’t recover from being bent over for a month or more due to being over-weighted down by the improperly thinned fruit-load. After all, when I tie down limbs to encourage early flowering, those limbs often stay in a position similar to what they are tied down to. Your confirmation of this is appreciated.

BTW…I just now saw a photo of some of your cherries you posted earlier. I remember that you had one sweet cherry- and I do not remember which one- that you have which produced pretty well but didn’t have a lot of taste. You were even considering removing it I think. I just wondered how it did this year? Did flavor improve? What are your plans for that tree? Just curious. Thanks.


You are lucky that your peach branches did not break like mine (two years in a row. A slow learner I am).

The cherry is Black Gold. This year we had (mostly) rain-free and sunny hot days for about 3 weeks. Perfect weather for ripening apricots and cherries. Cherries tasted sweeter than other years. All the people I gave them to, love them.

Black Gold produces profusely every year even in the wet spring year like this year.

We will have the first heat wave this coming weekend (over 90 F three days in a row is called a heat wave here in New England).


when we lived in CT when i was a kid, we had a big ol’ sweet cherry tree in front of the house. Dad worked for the DOT so he borrowed the bucket truck they used to cut limbs, to pick that tree. we got washtubs full of cherries from it and it produced reliably every year. i remember family coming to get buckets full! maybe why i love cherries so much still to this day. what i would give to find out what cultivar it was.


WOWIE ZOWIE! I am envious. Those are beautiful. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes:


I don’t do stone fruit, so my experience may not be applicable. I’ve noticed on dwarf apples that the vigor of some scions is insufficient to support fruit load even after aggressive thinning. They have a weepy growth habit, the limbs bend down, and they stay that way. I’ve tried to tie them up, but sometimes the limbs break where the twine supports them. In the past, I’ve worried about allowing the ideal conformation of the tree to be wrecked in this way, but, as my trees have grown older (along with me), I’ve become a lot less concerned. Partly this is due to having a lot more wood to choose from during winter pruning. Partly it’s due to not knowing what to do with the amount of fruit the trees produce with poor conformation, anyway. Idealism is a great thing … for the young.

… so I’ve drifted toward the notion that you CAN FIX a lot of the problems of bent limbs just by pruning out the bent wood. Let’s be clear: The bent wood is never going to flower and set fruit as heavily as the limbs growing at the correct angle (60° from vertical). You DO WANT to fix it, but it’s easier (for me), rather than try to support it, just to remove it along with all downward growing twigs during the January thaw.

During winter pruning, I try to envision what the tree is likely to do during the coming season. I’m getting better at this, I think. … so I don’t whack out all the water sprouts in those trees that tend to weep under load. The water sprouts are the young shoots that grow straight up from the limbs that, like the bent limbs, are not very productive. They block sunlight and air and need to be taken out, too, but I save one toward the end of each branch that is likely to bend. When the limbs bend, they’ll pull the water sprouts into that perfect 60° angle. Next year, I’ll prune off the bent part of the limb, leaving this year’s water sprout. I usually cut the tip off the water sprout, leaving an outward, upward facing bud. Now, that erstwhile water sprout is not going to set a lot of fruit next year because it was not at the correct angle early enough, but it will the year after that, which is soon enough for me (I’ll have more than enough fruit, anyway.), and the tree will be stronger.


On my grafted plum are these small ones. The ones that fell off at this stage tasted good, but small. This is first fruits.
Out of 50 blossoms, one persimmon remains growing on first year tree UPDATE JULY 27: There remains this solitary persimmon! It needs an updated photo, but it is very thick now and as big as a US fifty cent piece around I’d guess. Not anywhere near full size, and still unlikely to stay on, but a very interesting first year.

likely turban or butternut squash from seeds in compost

My grapes so far. Best hands ever

Two new varieties of blueberries. One has neon pink on fruit before turning almost black while the other is near white.


I happened to see some suckers growing from the base of a Kentucky Champion Pawpaw seedling.bb


Great! a bonus clone.