[NAFEX] Novice grower report

Deb S debs913 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 5 15:42:14 EDT 2008

I've been planting fruit for about 7 years now and this is the first year
we've gotten some real production!  I decided this year not to do any
spraying...wanted to see what sorts of problems cropped up.  It was
educational :)


Stella and Kristen both produced very well for the first time this year.  We
netted the Kristen tree, the Stella was too large to net.  Had trouble with
cherry fruit fly in the Stella, but less trouble in the Kristen which
produced about a week later (timing?)  Some bird damage to the Stella
fruit.  Besides fruit fly we did have some brown rot on both trees, but not
too bad.  Fruit was very good from both.

3 in 1 variety sweet cherry lost all but one branch (I think the sheep got
at it).  The one branch produced one blossom.  Hopefully, this poor tree
will recover.

Nova and Montmercy sour cherries both were planted last year.  Nova is doing
well, but I think we will move the Montmercy in the fall as I don't think it
likes the location it is at.


Had 3 fruit set which later disappeared (wind?  critters?)  I think this
tree bloomed just at a bit of a spring cold snap, so that could be the
problem.  It's a 3 in one tree with three varieties (will have to look them


We love pears, pears hate us.  We have five pear trees (Comice, Atlanta
Queen, Stark, Ure, Warren).  The Comice has grown well, but did not bloom
this year.  Atlanta Queen is holding it's own.  The Stark is leaning at a 45
degree angle to the ground and will need to be dug up and reset.  The other
two never grew.  They get a few leaves and just sit there at about 2 1/2
feet in height.  It's been five years so I think they need to go.  A
neighbor has three great pear trees that produced really well last year.  I
need to find out what varieties and rootstock he has (if he knows!)


One apple...Queen Cox bloomed for the first time this year.  We bagged about
100 apples and thinned.  Lost about 1/4 of the bagged fruit in June drop.
Other apples seem to be maturing well.  Anyone know about when to harvest
Queen Cox?

Also discovered an apple tree along our driveway!  Apples are about the size
of golf balls.  Don't know if it is a crab or small apple, but am waiting to
see how the fruit turns out!


Big Blue Plum is growing well it's first year.


Got a great gooseberry harvest (Poormans, Pixwell, Invicta, Hinnomaki Red)
all produced a bumper crop this year.  Plants are doing well, even with the
summer heat now that harvest is over.  Anyone ever try the Black Velvet
variety of gooseberry?  I might add that one next.


Got great black currant harvests this year Minaj Smyriou, Ben Sarek, Titania
all grew very well and set lots of berries.  Made GREAT jellies.

Red currants were annoying.  Berries seemed to ripen one at a time and
didn't get a great harvest.  Will have to look up the variety and replace
with something that ripens all together.

White currant (primus) produced really well and ripened berries in about a
week's period.  Berries are frozen for future jelly making.


Last year we had ONE bunch (well not really a bunch, about 9 grapes) of our
Canadice grapes.  This year there are at least 7 large bunches.  We will put
electric mesh fence around the vines when the grapes start to ripen (coons!)


Peaches started strong, and then PFFFT.  Have a four in one tree with 3
peaches and a nectarine variety (Frost, hardired, Mary Jane and one other
variety).  .  Thinned the fruit and all were growing well.  Then brown rot
struck in a big way on two of the varieties Had ONE peach survive but it
hadn't ripened well when I picked it (oh well).  The nectarines did not show
signs of rot, but disappeared the night that we forgot to electrify the
fence (darn coons).

Planted a Redhaven last fall and it bloomed and set tons of fruit which we
took off to give the tree a better chance to grow.


I cannot get rhubarb to grow well for me.  I've tried it in several
locations.  It just remains puny despite dressing with composted manure and
keeping it weeded.  Sigh.


I had about decided to yank all the raspberries as they died to the ground
last year in the freeze.  The plants coming back were in inconvenient
locations.  Decided to leave several and got a decent harvest of Gold
berries (which actually tasted really good this year, previous years they
were insipid).  Also got a nice crop of Meeker and Tulameen red
raspberries.  So the raspberries get a reprieve.


Once again I attempt melons.  This year they are planted in two beds...one
raised bed with regular soil that was deeply amended last year with
straw/manure from the goat stalls and one bed we call the "sand box" that is
a combo of sand, compost, soil and peat.  Both groups seem to like these
beds and have set fruit after transplanting from the  indoors where they
were started on heat mats.  I have high hopes for Cream of Saskatchewan and
Pride of Wisconsin is doing well.  (cream is a watermelon, pride a musk).
And I have all my fingers crossed for the wonderfully named "Collective Farm
Woman" melon from SSE.

So that's it for fruit.  Next year I will be spraying for brown rot and
cherry fruit fly and plum curculio and bagging apples again if the weather
cooperates like this year :)  Also plan to do some propagating on the
various berries and add a gooseberry variety or two.

SE Ohio
Zone 5/6 depending on the map :_
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