1) I planted a few things in containers because my soil isn't great yet or I want to keep them out of the ground and I'm also not sure where to put some things. At any rate, I'm having an issue where squirrels come by and dig almost everything up. At first I thought it was mother nature's way of getting rid of weak plants, because that's what they seemed to target, but recently they went nuts and dug up some semi established plants. I'm trying to put some wire around the pots to keep them out, but it doesn't work well and I don't know that it's sustainable in the long term.
Any suggestions on how to stop them from digging everything up? I have some rose canes to lay around pots but I have the feeling those won't be a 100% deterrent.
2) (First pictures) My 2 yr old peach tree is a garnet beauty, which is said to be a relative of red haven.
The University of California Agriculture and Natural resources site says that: "Redhaven peach and most cultivars derived from it are tolerant to peach leaf curl." Does this mean I should not worry?
3) (Last picture) A blueberry plant my mom has had for untold years has not done much this year. It looks like a lot died over the winter, however it was a very mild winter in South Western Ontario, Canada so I'm not sure why this happened. I repotted it last year and it seemed to thrive after that if I remember correctly. Should I test the soil? (Perhaps this is usually the answer?)
Sorry to mish-mash 3 unrelated things together, but I thought this was better than spamming with 3 threads.
If it's below 6, they'll do fine unless there is something else really wrong.
I killed a lot of blueberry plants until I bought a pH meter. They are fairly inexpensive on ebay.
They take a moderate amount of skill to run, like using calibration solutions, but it's not rocket science and they come with instructions.
Mine is similar to this:
I have found the metal probe type to be wildly inaccurate:
I suspect they are measuring conductivity, which is very loosely related to pH--don't get one like that...
It takes a lot of peach leaf curl to kill a tree.
I use an omri/organic approved copper spray and my peach trees are much happier now. this is the one:
If you use too much, you can harm the earthworms, so...follow the not too complex instructions.
If you live in a humid environment (like SW michigan--me) this is more of a problem than some other places that grow peaches.
Good luck on the squirrels. I tried quite a few less-than-lethal methods with not much luck. Now I harvest and eat a fair number of squirrels and I get peaches too.
They can be very destructive buggers. The thing that pissed me off the most is that they would take a couple bites out of a green peach, and knock it off the tree. Then they would try the next one, hoping for a riper peach. But they were all green...so they just ruined a bunch of peaches with one or two bites out of each one. Grr....
So here is something for the squirrels
Buttermilk Fried Squirrel with Southern Gravy
Dale Hodgins wrote:Several of my pruning customers are successfully growing peaches espaliered against a south-facing wall.
Most are also under an overhang, so that the rain falling directly on them is reduced.
One of them places old windows, leaned up against the house, so that any rain falling toward the soil by the tree, will be deflected.
Early blossoming can be an issue. Sometimes the peaches will bloom and they will not be adequately pollinated. Spring rains can also damage the blossoms.
John Saltveit wrote:Peaches are known as one of the most difficult of the common fruit trees to grow on the wet side of the PNW, along with apricots and nectarines. My trees look way worse than yours. Many experienced gardeners just refuse to grow those kind of trees. Others use toxic pesticides and end up eating a few peaches along with their toxic pesticides. Some cover their trees with a tarp from December 1 to March 1 to prevent them from getting peach leaf curl. Growing the tree in a plane, like an espalier is usually required for that. I use compost tea, which has so far been effective in combating the many diseases that peach trees get. I wasn't foolhardy enough to buy a peach tree, but I'm learning through growing a peach tree that grew out of our compost into the yard. So far, lots of work, but good enough.
Also, at http://www.livingforestfarm.com/treating-plants-natural-organic-remedies/#.V00xb0ih1A9, they have a recipe for treating leaf curl with horsetail tea:
Peach tree leaf curl: This is a common disease of peach trees. Sprays of horsetail tea, garlic (look further down the page for recipes) and seaweed can help to prevent this problem. Growing chives underneath them also helps. For best results use a mix of fermented horsetail, nettle, and comfrey tea as prevention.
Horsetail Tea (Equisetum arvense): The common horsetail plant, which is very invasive, is rich in silicon and helps plants to resist fungal diseases via increasing their light absorbing capabilities. Use on peach trees to control peach leaf curl. Use on most plants to combat powdery fungi, and on vegetables and roses to control mildew. You can use this on seedlings and plants in closed environments too! Great in greenhouses! Prevents damping off.
INSTRUCTIONS: In a glass or stainless steel pot, mix 1/8 cup of dried leaves in 1 gallon (3.8 Litres) of non-chlorinated water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for at least 1/2 hr. Cool and strain. Store extra concentrate in a glass container. Will keep for a month. Dilute this mix, adding 5-10 parts of non-chlorinated water to one part concentrate. Spray plants that show any symptoms of fungal type disease once every 4 days. Spray your seed starting mixtures to prevent damping off.
I hope that helps!
Alex, Troy and Robert - I'm too much of a city kid to mess with hunting, skinning and cooking squirrels!
maybe you could find someone who would be eager to help you with the squirrels
show them this
I live in southwestern Ontario too, and I got leaf curl on my supposedly resistant peaches, too. I think it's because of how unusually damp and cold April was. What I noticed was that one variety I have is supposed to be pretty tolerant, while the other is supposed to have a strong tolerance. The former got hit hardest, the latter has about ten funny looking leaves at most, and as soon as we started getting hotter, drier weather the infection halted. Now they're dropping the infected leaves and everything is going on hunky dory. I'll definitely be spraying with something come fall - and I'm destroying all the infected leaves - but I'm not going to lose sleep over curl in the future.
As for squirrels, I love all the recipes you've been getting, haha. I had good luck sprinkling cayenne powder around. It took a few weeks, but they slowed down with their damned digging up everything.
To keep them from eating fruits, the best trick I've found is to grow some habaneros as a border plant around the garden. The squirrels take a few bites of those little suckers and never come back. I started them super early so they'd flower and fruit before I got much of anything else.
The property I'm at now doesn't have so much of a squirrel problem, but those damn cute bunnies around here will eat anything...
I think that's good news about the peaches. My leaves haven't started getting better yet but perhaps as time goes on, and the dryer weather stays, the ratio of bad to good will change.
For bunnies I made enclosures with chicken wire because they ate all of the branches off of my newly planted persimmon tree over the winter. I thought it was gone but it came back with a vengeance. I put these barriers up around all of my trees to protect them.
Speaking of peaches, did you notice much die-back on your peaches after last winter? I have about two to five centimetres of what I think is winter die-back on most of last year's growth. I'm new to peaches, so I'm not sure if this is normal...(or if perhaps it's related to the leaf curl...)
Thanks for the tip regarding rabbits. I've used a small chickenwire fence to keep the rabbits out of our strawberries and milkweed. I might put something up around my fruit trees, too. Last winter I used regular plastic trunk guards for my prunus trees, and tree shelters for my pawpaws. They worked great, but I'm not keen on using plastic unless I have to.
My newest leaves seem to be curl free. And I'm already down to just a half dozen developing peaches. I'm not sure it was a great idea to let it fruit this year.
I hope you have some luck with the squirrels! I read a thread on permies where someone's father had told them to always plant enough for the birds, squirels and for themselves. So I've decided to not try and fight the inevitable.. but we can still try as best we can to protect what we like eh!?
I just planted some paw paws this spring. Do yours grow with the top of the trees a bit leaned over (like a much more gentle candy-cane shape)?
My peaches didn't even blossom this year, which I attribute to their being young and transplanted bare root last year. But I let my equally young cherry tree fruit this year, and I'm second guessing that now, too. I hope your peaches continue to bounce back. From what I've read, except in the worst infections leaf curl just slows growth and reduces fruiting - doesn't do any long term damage.
I'm glad to hear your pawpaws are doing that too! My grafted ones (NC-1 and Susquehanna) have a slight curl. I was wondering if I should stake them, but if it's their habit I'm less inclined to do so. My Ontario seedling pawpaws don't curl nearly as much, but they also hold their leaves more horizontally and have more of a spear shaped leaf. P.S. I had my first pawpaw flowers this year! The NC-1 formed two flowers out of four flower buds. They were quite striking. Between those and the lush, big, droopy leaves, I can see why NC-1 would be popular as an ornamental, too.
How much are your pawpaws growing in a year?
(side note: I live in London and I was advised that my summers wouldn't be long enough for Susquehanna's fruit to mature and ripen. Where in SW Ontario are you)?
I got them from Grimo nut and they gave me tree shelters to place around the trees. I didn't know I was supposed to put those on before they leafed out, so now that they have leaves, there's no way to put the shelters on without damaging the trees. I asked through email and they told me that their trees are out in the open and need the shelters... mine are in semi-protected spots so I will leave them without shelters and they seem to be growing well so far. One of mine tried to throw out a few flowers, but I did the "smart" thing and pinched them off to let the plant focus on establishing roots.
I'm really glad to hear that about the peach leaf curl too though! Thanks for that info. I didn't want to resort to sprays and chemicals.. I'll think about some of the preventative permie techniques toward the fall.
Edit: Jay - I just read your thread about your cherry tree. I hope you have it figured out! I had some real issues with mine this year. It is the second year in the ground and I left flowers on the tree. I think I had planted it too deep though and it dropped all but 6 leaves. I had planted it too deep so I put logs in the base of the hold and planted it on a soil mound now. The poor thing is trying to hang on to life. Yours looks miles ahead of mine though! And your fruit looks really great. Almost everything I'm trying to grow doesn't grow as vigorously as what I've seen on other locations / properties. I wonder if it comes down to my soil?
But please keep me updated about how your PA Golden does. If it's super happy I may jump ship.
I included (week-old) pictures of my NC-1, Susquehanna, and one of the seedlings (which got squished by a fence two winters ago - you can see the break in the picture; last year the new growth was slooow, this year it's been rocketing up, along with the other seedling). I think the leaves have doubled in size in the last week. The lean is most obvious on the NC-1, less so on the Susquehanna, and even less so on the seedling.
I used the tree shelters when I first planted them last year, even though they're all shaded around noon by a big black walnut. I took them off in August as it seemed silly - they shaded themselves and most of the foliage was out of the shelters anyway. They seemed quite happy. This year I haven't used the shelters at all and they're growing fine. They're certainly less cranky than my peach or cherry trees... I think preventing them from flowering or fruiting, like you did, is a good idea. They are so cantankerous when they're transplanted (ask me about why I gave up on buying them bare root...) that I think they need to focus on their roots for the first few years after being transplanted.
(Can I tell you how stoked I am to find someone else growing pawpaws in Ontario)
What kind of soil do you have? And how old are your trees? Because it's my experience that newly-planted fruit trees look kinda sad for the first year.
I have to say though that in my experience the fruit trees in the first year look the best so far.... maybe that's because of my poor soil? I hope everything isn't just wallowing in our ground!
I planted a peach tree and cherry tree last year. They looked OK over the past summer, but this year they both have issues. I'm not even sure if the cherry will live. It has cobwebs growing on it, and the 5 or 6 leaves it had left are yellowing and dropping. The branch still has a green ring around the inside though.. I think that's a positive sign? The tree suffered a massive shock at any rate so it will be unlikely that it lives.
I have pictures of my pawpaws here. One lost a cluster of leaves when I put on and took off the tree guards about a week ago.
My soil is pretty heavy clay, however, my mom brought in some good soil in the years previous and that's what I plant annuals in. For the trees I just add some compost to the soil before I back fill. I tried to pick up as much organic matter and leaves from neighbours as I could and composted it over winter, it wasn't completely broken down but I spread that around my annual beds. I got some buckets of coffee grounds from a local restaurant and had added that to the compost. I think that because I used the compost before it was completely finished I suppressed the germination of almost all of the seeds I tried to plant this spring! And boy do the (slugs) like to take out my tomatillo seedlings.. I'm not having a blockbuster year in the garden, but things are moving along so far.
The best soil for pawpaw is a deep, rich, humusy loam with good drainage and a steady moisture supply. Fortunately, pawpaws are adaptable and will tolerate many different soils including heavy clay or sand. They do not tolerate water logged soils, however. Avoid sites where water stands for periods of time. Sandy soils possess good drainage but present problems of low fertility and low moisture holding capacity. The soil acidity should be in the range of pH 5.5 to 7.0.
I don't know how peaches or cherries will do, but I've read that cherries don't like heavy soil. If the inner bark of your cherry is green, that means that the tree's still transporting water and sugars, which is a good sign I think. Sounds like your Persimmon is doing okay, though?
Have you tried beer traps for your slugs? I had problems with them when I started gardening, as a teenager, and beer traps managed to bring the slugs down to a tolerable number. Do you have raised beds?
I hope the pawpaws will show their tolerance for many soil types moving forward and will continue to grow strongly in the coming years.
The topmost part of the cherry is now brown and no longer green (as visible from the outside). I'll have to be more careful about choosing a site / type of tree in the future.
And I do hope that once the peach gets established it will have some productive, happy years. In the mean-time I will enjoy the unaided success of the black currants, raspberries and my first year with figs. My mom had let a bunch of strawberry plants go feral, and despite having a far amount of them around the garden, I've only seen one berry so far. (Does that mean a lack of a certain nutrient)?
I had a lovely family of toads hanging around the garden at the start of the season so I thought I'd leave slug control up to them! I'm pretty new, so this may be a naive question: how long does it take a slug to eat a seedling? Because the ones that have disappeared have gone all in one night. Its not like the sprout leaves have been nibbled upon day after day.
I do have a raised bed for the persimmon and the annuals. My mom had filled them with some soil and I tried to add the leaf compost to help the soil. When I have some money I may look at getting wood chips to cover the soil as another long-term strategy to build the soil. For now I'll try to get as much of the neighbour's fall leaves as possible to aid in soil creation.
What kinds of edibles are you growing? Do you have any haskap, gooseberries, nanking cherries, grapes, sea buckthorne or, kiwi vines? Those are some of the things on my list to get. Know anyone growing pomegranate successfully around here?
What figs do you grow? I've gone a bit bonkers with them. I've got two Natalinas, a Hardy Chicago, and a Ficazzana all in big pots. They started producing last year, and man are they ever better than the store bought ones, right? This year I sprung for a Violette de Bordeaux and a Stella. Aside from those six, I have eight clones of them from cuttings growing in smaller pots. I'm going to try planting one in-ground at some point, but for now I keep them all in cold storage for the winter.
It sounds like your cherry may be done for, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Mine is a Lapins dwarf from Whiffletree. I've had good luck with their product, though their customer service is a bit slow in spring (I get it - it must be a super busy time for them). What peach cultivar(s) do you have? Cause it seems like you're having luck there, leaf curl aside. (The more I read about it, the more leaf curl seems like something you just have to expect from time to time in our climate - though I'll still be doing whatever I can to prevent it.)
I'm growing cape gooseberries this year, and they've been doing well so far, if a bit slowly. They're still smallish, but it seems they're starting to shoot up. They didn't take that long to germinate, but then they seemed to have this slow period after transplanting. Perhaps they were setting their roots? I dunno.
This year I planted a Reliance grape, too. I'm starting to get my head around how to train and prune them, though it appears it'll be minimal pruning in the first year. It's a vigorous grower, that's for sure. I have green patty pans, too, speaking of vigorous growers. I was harvesting from them hand over fist last year. I got fourteen kilos of them from a handful of plants. And twenty-one kilos of buttercup squash from three mounds. I was eating them into February.
There's nothing else I've got from your list. I have lots of raspberries, black raspberries, and blackberries. One of the blackberries is doing extremely well, covered in gorgeous blooms these days. I was thinking of growing haskaps, but like I said, running out of room.
I don't know of anyone growing pomegranates. I was thinking of getting a Salavatski if I could, trying my luck, but I've got a lot on the go already! What have you read/heard about pomegranates around these parts?
"pine nut infused buttermilk fried squirrel..."
We have to deal with both the bushy tailed and the more common smooth (or slick) tailed squirrels here, and I hope never to become desperate enough to eat the smooth tailed ones. After a few consecutive years of heavy acorn production, coinciding with the demise of my small flock of hens, our yard became infested with the nocturnal devils, so much so that they could be seen sauntering about the yard in broad daylight, all fat and sassy, looking as though they owned the place. Two bait-stations and a few weeks took care of them. Alas, I fear some of the bushy tailed variety may have also succumbed to the allure of the bait.
A saw marigolds mentioned as a repellent. My wife just planted some marigolds in pots and something has taken a liking to them, munching off the blossoms and foliage. Perhaps I need to replenish the bait stations again?
You have quite the collection of figs there! I had a few 'learning experiences' with this Chicago hardy fig tree. It's my third year with it, and the first time it has produced any fruit. I don't have any ideal storage locations for it over winter, so I made this above ground box with a lid, which I stuffed with leaves last winter. It worked well, but the tree is too big to fit this year. I haven't really figured out how I'll over winter the tree this year. With your escarpment proximity I think you might be OK with keeping a fig in the ground. I've heard so many different ways of storing them over winter. If I remember correctly, some even die back all the way to the ground through winter, and can come back and produce in one season.
I just have the one peach, a garnet beauty. I didn't do any research into specific cultivars before I bought any of my trees. Another lesson learned. I hadn't even heard of peach leaf curl until after I saw it on the tree and looked it up. Those can be expensive mistakes with the trees.
I hope I get something from my annuals this year. They are all pretty stunted so far. It sounds like you had quite the success with those patty pans and the other squash! When I get a bit more settled and rebuild this falling over shed, I would like to get grapes and kiwis to range over and around some features. Maybe even some of the established trees if they can tolerate the deep shade.
We used to use cape gooseberries all the time in our hotel as an exotic garnish in the pastry section, it kind of blows my mind that they grow here. I always thought of them as coming from some tropical place, especially because of their particular, tangy flavour.
As a fellow Ontarian, have you heard of the Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus?
I heard about pomegranates in our area from The Freedom Farm video (It didn't let my link to the specific time work... pomegranates starts at approximately 16m 32seconds):
Andrew - I didn't even know there was a nocturnal kind of squirrel. I don't mind them so much, it just got a bit frustrating along with the other set backs I've had this year. You can't ask a squirrel not to squirrel...can you? heh
Can anyone please explain what the man in the video means by, "They can take minus 20 like a fig," at the 18:00 minute mark in the video? I didn't know that figs could take minus 20. I was told not to let them get much lower than freezing while dormant.
It is often difficult to live with nature without competing with it -- probably impossible. I try to not be greedy. That's the best I can do, I suppose.
Smooth tailed squirrel is a euphemism for rat. Exterminators will often use it when a customer complains of squirrels in their attic keeping them up at night. Only flying squirrels are nocturnal (we do have those in the area, but I have not seen them in my yard. In the yard, field and woodland, rats will fill a niche very similar to squirrels.
My son is visiting for Father's Day. He works with plants in his studies. He said that caterpillars were the likely culprits eating my marigolds. He found strands of silk between the plants (I never would have thought to look). We bought some spray. The plants are too expensive to leave to chance. He thinks they should recover, as it is still early in the season. I suppose propagating my own plants would allow me greater flexibility in dealing with pests, as the cost of loss would be far less.
I would love to grow pomegranates, and I hear some fig growers overwinter them like figs. But it sounds like potted pomegranates just don't produce much, and I want plants that will pay off, you know? I watched a bit of that video, and I'll give it more of a look when I can. I wonder how their pomegranate experiment went.
That's cool that you know cape gooseberries - and that you worked in food service. Theyre delicious aren't they? Mine are currently fighting off a cucumber beetle infestation. I'll let you know how it goes. Despite it all, the plants are starting to shoot up.
I'd like to know more about kiwi vines. Are they like the real thing? I'm also hoping to get my grape vine ranging up our shed. We need to do some cosmetic repairs to it ,but structurally it's sound.
So, you're worried about growing persimmons in Zone 6? I thought 6 was okay for them. Though I hear you, the winters of 2014 and 2015 were horrific. I figure that if my pawpaws survived those two in a row, they'll be fine here!
Are you in a windy spot, or more protected? I ask because I moved from a windy location where everything suffered to a more protected one where all my perennial food plants are way happier. (Didnt move for that reason, but I definitely did want to live in a nicer microclimate ...)
P.S. My NC-1 and Susquehanna are already forming tiny flower buds for next year in the joints where the leaves meet the stems!!! I'm stoked! They're well ahead of where they were this time last year, probably because they're over the transplant shock.
Figs to minus 20 - that sounds bonkers to me. Figs can take subzero (Celcius - I can't make head nor tail of Fahrenheit) temperatures ~if~ they're dormant. If not, it kills all the green matter on the fig. My dormant figs have taken -8 and windy with no die-back. I have been very reticent to let them go lower than -10 because, though they'll grow back, that affects the amount of fruit they'll produce.
I can see where, in a protected spot under a thick cover of snow, a fig could survive -20. Only it wouldn't feel -20 in those conditions. Some people in the US near us will wrap their figs in insulation to overwinter them. I want to try that sometime. See if I can keep one in ground that way.
The kiwi vines seem to be really vigorous growers and can tolerate up to -25C. They are susceptible to early frost damage but regrow with a loss in fruit production. They like sun and can be a handful to manage. I've never grown them, or eaten one, but they are supposed to be hairless and grape sized with no seeds to worry about. They also do that male female plant division, with one male fertilizing several (5-7 depending on where info is from) females. It's another layer in the food forest to be productive!
I haven't grown the cactus either, I wasn't sure that it was real. I'm going to focus on keeping things alive and improving soil right now. I also don't have any money for new plants... so I'll take it easy. Let me know if you get the cactus please. I'd like to know how that goes.
You're right about the persimmon. They should be ok in our climate... it was exactly those winters that had me worried. At least everything is rabbit proof now.. just have to watch those blast-freezer-cold nights.
Congrats on the pawpaws. I went out and immediately checked mine, but maybe this is the year of transplant shock still. They do seem quite happy though.
The very top of my peach tree, and some of those branches that had fruit on them died back. I also lost all the fruit. I'm not sure if it's heat/water related. We've had a really hot, rainless few weeks here. As long as the tree doesn't die I can always hope that next year is a better one!
It seems like we're either beset by screeching cold or baking heat these days. I hope your peach tree rejuvenates itself next year.
Actually, regarding your pawpaws - last year two of mine were in the same situation as yours. They'd just been transplanted in the spring, they were potted from Grimo, and I remember anxiously waiting for them to set leaf buds. It wasn't until the fall that they did so - the NC-1 set good, fat, fuzzy ones; the Susquehanna set teeny tiny little ones - both in the middle of October. (My two seedling pawpaws, meanwhile, had long since set their buds.) This year they all started producing buds in June. I'm guessing that has to do with maturity. I bet you yours will flourish.
I'll let you know if I get the cactus. I have a spot picked out, but I'm already up to my eyeballs in gardening
John - what variety of prickly pear do you have?
My goldenberries are a huge success. They're producing fruit, and have been for a few weeks. They seem to ripen a few here, and a few there, which is fine by me. Four plants have easily taken over a 1.25m x 1.25m plot. Interestingly, basil has grown very happily underneath them. They were susceptible to cucumber beetles when they were little, but they quickly outgrew the ability of the beetles to do significant damage. The squirrels have found them, though...
The Madison peach, which had the worse time with leaf curl out of my two, has (so far) ended up outgrowing the other. Who knew?
All four of my pawpaws are getting ready for fall, with new growth hardening off, and leaf and flower buds set for next year. The Ontario ones were far and away the most vigorous growers, having handily caught up to the NC-1 and Susquehanna. The Ontario pawpaws have lots of big, fat, furry leaf buds, no flower buds. The Susquehanna has smaller leaf buds, mostly hidden by the leaf stems, a few flower buds, and well-developed terminal buds. The NC-1 is packed with flower buds, and each branch has a nice big terminal bud.