Sunday, March 15

Brought indoors

As you will be aware from my last post at the beginning of last winter we moved our peach, apricot and nectarine trees inside the garden greenhouse.
The three trees are planted in large pots and originally lived just outside of the greenhouse.

The main reason for the move indoors is that we haven't found a way of controlling the peach leaf curl that has badly affected the peach and nectarine.
Using a preventative spray didn't work. I tried picking off affected leaves but that didn't stop the spread and left the trees almost denuded. The last option was to cover the trees but it seemed to us a better option to move the trees under cover.

Another factor is that the apricot - Flavourcot - flowers really early. In early March the flowers are already going over.
Last year a lack of insect pollinators meant that I had to try hand pollinating and this did result in some fruit setting.

We eagerly watched the fruit swell but in the end we were disappointed as the tree dropped the fruit. This followed a period of very windy weather but I can't be certain that this was the cause.
The peach tree - Avalon Pride -was off to a good start and promised much. In it's very first year it produced a few fruits and they were delicious.
Since then peach leaf curl has put paid to any thought of fruit. As you can tell from the photos the height of both these trees and the width of the apricot had to be reduce so they would fit inside the greenhouse.

Last year the nectarine  - Fantasia -did produce a couple of fruits in spite of the peach leaf curl attack. Unfortunately something ate the fruit before it had chance to swell. It looked as though it was already quite juicy.
The fruit was quite near the greenhouse glass and I suspect an opportunistic snail took advantage of this.

The nectarine has beautiful autumn colour.
I've already done my best hand pollinating the apricot and am now busy with the nectarine. Flower buds are swelling on the peach so its turn will be next.

Just to give myself he best chance of success I am pollinating every day - I bet someone says this is too often.
I'm just hoping that the law of averages works in my favour and that my pollination techniques don't fail completely. Just a couple of fruits from each tree as a taster and we will be happy but if we manage more well that would be just great.

30 comments:

  1. Are you going to keep the trees in the greenhouse over summer? My peach tree is in the greenhouse and I think I'm going to try leaving it there and seeing what happens. It's only tiny though, much smaller than yours.

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    1. Yes they will stay inside, Jo . The pots are a bit large to lug around and also I'm not sure when the risk of peach leaf curl ceases to be a problem.

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  2. Good luck with your trees. Tree ripened peaches are just so delicious.

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    1. I do agree, Daphne the few we had on the first year were delicious

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  3. If only I had more space in the greenhouse I'd be very tempted to do the same. Good luck Sue.

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    1. Thanks, Jessica I'll take any luck offered

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  4. I just purchased a nectarine tree yesterday - I will be picking it up in mid-March. Fantasia was a variety I was toying with but it is borderline hardy in my area and I'm already planting one apple tree that is also borderline hardy, so I thought I would stick to a nectarine that would definitely make it in my zone.

    I'm wondering why you grow your peach trees in pots - your climate is much milder than ours, so overwintering outdoors wouldn't be an issue - is because of the pests?

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    1. Oops...that should read I'll be picking it up in mid-April - can't even stick a shovel into the frozen ground yet!

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    2. It's because of the problem with peach leaf curl, Margaret. Not a climate issue.

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  5. We all complain about the widespread use of pesticides in commercial fruit-production, but just imagine the problems that growers would face without their help! We would never get to eat any peaches, would we?

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    1. I wonder whether peach leaf curl is as prevalent in countries that grow peaches commercially, Mark? Maybe their climate is drier?

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    2. Sue, it's the moist spring weather here that's the problem because leaf curl is a fungus. I vaguely remember reading that if you cover them, it only needs to be for a limited time while the fungal spores are about (? March/April) and that's why they are often grown against a wall so that the covers can be attached to the wall and unrolled over them when needed (especially when it rains, washing down spores on to the leaves). That scalloped edge to your eaten fruit looks suspiciously like wasp damage, but then there are so many pests to choose from !

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    3. The problem is that the time that the tree needs covering corresponds to flowering time so I would need to hand pollinate anyway and the flowers may be damaged either when I uncovered them to do that or by the wind blowing the cover SandD which is why we decided to move them inside.
      There are certainly too many pests and diseases about.

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    4. Not easy is it - I now see some suggest a self-supporting frame tightly covered in plastic sheets to protect plants and which can be opened on one end to allow access by pollinators. Sounds like a do-it-yourself greenhouse to me - what a palaver, shame as it must be fantastic to grow such exotic fruit . No wonder the Victorians had special glasshouses just for these.

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  6. I had a few leaves with peach leaf curl last year. I'm just hoping it isn't worse this year. The first bud broke yesterday. I'll have to get the paintbrush out as well soon.

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    1. I saw a bumble bee in the garden yesterday, CJ and I was tempted to kidnap it and take it into the greenhouse

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  7. Oh I will keep my fingers crossed for you Sue. The blossoms are beautiful in themselves but when all is said and done edible fruit is what you want. Those peaches look decidedly mouth watering!

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    1. The peaches were chin dripping juicy, Anna and we want some more.

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  8. The blossoms look absolutely lovely .... good luck.

    All the best Jan

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  9. Addicting isn't it? Most of my orchard is still under snow, but everything that is melted off seems to have survived. My pears made it. Surprising for a zone 3. I bought apricots this year from our county extension agent. I can't help myself. I looked and my 2 Japenese maples seemed to have survived the winter in the garage. 1 more month and they will be free. Good luck with your fruit trees this year. It sounds like you are getting them figured out. Can't wait to see the harvest.

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    1. I'll be watching out for the tell tale swellings Bonnie, Good luck with you fruit too, I hope that your snow is gone soon.

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  10. Leaf curl attack sometime happens on my fruit trees too. It makes the plant growth will not optimal, and the plant fail on fruiting. By the way I like those flowers, so beautiful!

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    1. I didn't think it would affect fruit in your part id the world Endah, is it in the rainy season?

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  11. Oh, fingers crossed for your fruit trees Sue, there are so many pest and diseases we have to combat and it’s not easy to keep ahead with everything! Hope it works out for you :-)

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    1. Fingers and ties, Helene, It's a battlefield out there.

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  12. Hope you have a handful of fruits soon! Hand pollinating must be a good option in greenhouse! ;)

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    1. Here's hoping that I am doing it correctly, Malar

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  13. It's so frustrating isn't it? I had leaf curl on my peach tree last year, it produced fruit but it was hideously deformed....Chloris thinks it's caused by an air borne fungus that settles with spring rain and advised covering the trees in spring, too late for mine I'm afraid.xxx

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    1. It is a fungus, Dina but covering the trees was going to be a pain so we preferred bringing them into the greenhouse. Also who wants to look out onto the garden at trees covered with plastic sheets?

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