[NAFEX] Organic vs Standard Spray Programs

Scott Smith scott at cs.jhu.edu
Tue Apr 15 09:48:08 EDT 2008

The Washington state fruit growers have made organics a big success  
story: acreage increases every year, and they are getting around  
double the price for their fruit.  I don't think that is going to work  
for commercial growers in my area (mid-atlantic) for some time  
however, due to the much greater pest and disease pressure.  This also  
goes with why most of the fruit is now grown in the west: for any  
growing method you will get more flawless fruit in that climate.   
Fortunately more and more people in my area are realizing its better  
to buy the locally grown fruit than to get that 100% organic apple  
shipped all the way from Washington.

Re: University research, they were doing nothing but poo-pooing the  
organic movement up until about ten years ago, so its not hard to see  
why the organic-committed farmers don't trust them.  Now the tables  
have turned and organics are "hot" for both researchers and mainstream  
growers out west now.

I think the backyard grower nearly anywhere can grow fruit mostly  
organically without much extra work, as long as they don't mind a few  
more flaws in their  fruit.  Recently Don Yellman posted his spray  
program and I noticed that he was primarily relying on bagging and  
copper and oil, all organic  methods.  He was using only Imidan for  
curculio and Ferbam for CAR. I have found Surround to work well enough  
on curculio, and my chain saw has been able to relieve the CAR  
pressure so I am almost completely organic and am not doing things too  
differently than Don is.  My one exception now is I need malathion for  
the persimmon psylla, nothing else seems to work (this year I am going  
to try more regular oil sprays, hopefully getting them before the  
leaves start to curl and it is too late).


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