[NAFEX] Fruit footies results for peaches- final report

Mark & Helen Angermayer hangermayer at isp.com
Wed Aug 8 00:16:38 EDT 2007


Hi Nate,

Supposedly Reliance is a soft peach by nature.  I have one that was supposed to fruit this year, but the frost nixed it.  You mentioned the quality is very good.  So many times, I've read the quality is supposed to be only fair.  Yet, like you, there are other Nafexers who say it's delicious.  It does make one wonder if there is more than one Reliance out there.  Someone on the list propagated a Reliance a couple of years ago from wood obtained from Prof. Meader's son.  Interesting to see what kind of peach it produces, if he reports.

Bird pecks cause the fruit to ripen sooner.  I think it's safe to say any significant damage to fruit, especially late in the game, will cause premature or uneven ripening.  That's why it's a joke to try to grow fruit organically here without bagging.  Even if you don't mind cutting out damage from insects, the fruit doesn't store.

Mark
Kansas
-Just picked our first watermelon of the season, but haven't cut it yet.  Tried to grow it twice before and failed both times (probably my brown thumb at work).  This year I planted them at the edge of a huge compost pile and directed the vines to grow inward.  I've watered the thunder out of them and have several nice looking melons coming on, although I wonder what this blistering heat will do to them. 

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Nathan Torgerson
  To: North American Fruit Explorers 
  Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 1:17 PM
  Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Fruit footies results for peaches- final report


  So now that all 50+ Reliance peaches have been picked and eaten, I ran into a couple other possible issues with tying the fruit to the branch with nylon footies.  
  The first few peaches that fell off the tree by themselves had great sugar content and texture. However, not all of the peaches were releasing, and some actually, even though fully ripe, had to be pulled fairly firmly to get off of the tree (twisting is easier but some were so tight to the branch that twisting the fruit would have damaged it. Some that I waited to fall on their own had a degraded texture, and even though they were very sweet, I'd prefer the fruit to have a little more firmness to it.
  I have very little experience with peaches, so maybe these are issues without bagging the fruits:
      1) Can peaches spoil or degrade while still attached to the tree? 
          I thought that they would not degrade, but that may have been a bad assumption.  If they do, then supporting a peach with nylon material, even though it is very stretchy, might prevent the peach from dropping as it would without support, and you should wait for the fruit to drop.  I initially thought that the peach would drop a few inches in the sock after it released, showing that the sock wasn't supporting the fruit too much. However in most cases it didn't fall at all, or very little, and stayed next to the branch.  The peach fuzz sort of worked into the nylon, so the peach didn't move much after detachment.  As a results the last couple dozen peaches I ended up picking them off the tree instead of waiting for them to fall, and some appeared to be past their prime--still very eatable, but wasn't as high a quality as the ones picked earlier.
     2) How does bird damage (several holes pecked into a small area of the fruit) impact the ripening? Since over half of my peaches had bird damage, that may have caused a need to pick the fruit before it fell as well.  It seemed like after about two weeks the area that was damged by the birds would start to spoil and begin to impact the rest of the peach, so that it needed to be picked to salvage the rest.

  During the last week I hung several CDs on the tree, which seemed to keep the birds from feasting on the peaches...probably wouldn't work for extended periods, but it didn't see any new damage after I hung them up.

  Next year I'm going to try some different methods, as these results were not as good as I had hoped for against bugs or birds. 

  Nate
  Andover, MN
  Zone 4
        
  Nathan Torgerson <> wrote:
    The nylon footie experiment on my Reliance peach tree had mixed results.  Of the 50 or so peaches on my tree, all of the fruit developed and matured the same with or without the footies on them. Since the stems of peaches (at least for Reliance) are so short, I put the peach in the footie and then tied the footie onto the branch by stretching the nylons so that they could be tied.  
    This method is working really well for fruit picking, as the fruit that is ripe enough to fall off on its own is caught by the footie and is undamaged. I just need to check the tree every day.
       However, I did have a couple peaches that had larvae eating at the place where the stem and fuit meet, so the barrier might not have been tight enough around the base because of my attachement method. Also, over half of my peaches have been damaged by birds, which can easily peck through the nylon.

    The peaches are very good quality and completely freestone.  Othertasters commented that they were as good as the peaches at the produce markets that are shipped here from Colorado.  (I am not sure what Colorado peaches taste like right off the tree at their peak, I am assuming even better)

    Overall, I like the fact that the nylon material catches the fruit when it drops, allowing me to wait longer to pick to get better fruit. So far it has also deterred theft from squirrels, as they haven't yet been able to get them off of the tree.   But with my past experiences with squirrels, they will eventually figure out how to get them.
        I will need to come up with a way to keep the birds away...any suggestions? (The tree is about 15 feet tall...due to my reluctance living in zone 4 to prune anything that remains living on the tree after a harsh winter...which makes the tree difficult to wrap in netting).

    Nate Torgerson
    Andover, MN 55304

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