Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Jul28

Spotted Wing Drosophila

SWDA New Pest in Town

We’ve made reference to it previously, but more and more we’re getting reports of the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) being in WA state — both out east in the orchards and here in the city. It’s kind of a big deal as it’s a new pest and so there are still a lot of experiments with how to deal with it. And it’s attacking soft fruit (peaches, berries, etc.), which have previously escaped things like the Apple Maggot Fly and Coddling Moth. More and more we’re finding it necessary to undertake pest prevention methods for all kinds of fruit.

About Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD)

The pest is originally from Asia, but has made its way up to Washington from California — it’s rapidly spreading from state-to-state. They are closely resemble the common vinegar fly but the difference is instead of attacking rotting fruit, the SWD attacks perfectly healthy fruit. It was really first seen around Japan and other parts of Asia in the 1930s. The way it works is that females search for soft fruit, land on the fruit, and then lay their eggs — laying as many as 300 eggs in their lifespan and up to 13 generations per season. The larvae then grow inside of the fruit.

University of California has this helpful resource to see photos of the life cycle of the SWD and its impact on fruit.

The economic impact could be somewhat significant for soft fruit and would vary by region. But not enough research has been done to provide an accurate estimate.

Treatment

We only recommend non-chemical ways at managing existing SWD infestations. If only some fruit is infested, the best approach is to harvest & sort the crop immediately — separating the good from the bad. And to help reduce the number of SWD in the future, we suggest placing infested fruit in a sturdy, sealed plastic bag and dispose of it in the trash. Also, be sure to remove any fruit that has fallen on the ground and any infested fruit remaining on the plants. But do not compost! This will not kill the insects.

Prevention

As this is somewhat of a new pest to the U.S., there are a lot of tests going on as to the best method to prevent SWD infestations and protect vulnerable fruit. Oregon State University has a great resource for backyard growers. The best known approaches so far….

  • Traps: There are a number of different types of traps people are trying, but below is a video for one in particular. These will not only help you capture SWDs, but also monitor how many are in your area.

  • Netting: A few places have suggested setting up netting over your soft fruit plans and trees prior to the fruit developing.
  • Habitat & Varieties: One way to prevent the SWD is by selecting thick-skinned fruit varieties that are more resistant to the pests. Also, to modify any other plants you have in your yard that might attract the SWD — thus making it less likely that they’ll find your habitat attractive.

So keep an eye out for this pest. We’ve already heard from folks about it attacking their raspberries and currants. If you find it in your backyard, definitely drop us a line (info@cityfruit.org) — we’d love to better understand how and where this infestation is happening so we can help work to manage it better.

Jul19

Fruit Q&A: Currants, Pests, & Ladders

Don & John are back, answering more questions from readers. This time the focus is on berries, the pests that love them, and where to find a good deal on orchard ladders.

Dear Don & John,
My neighbor and myself grow both Red Currants and Gooseberries.  This year we both have a bumper crop of fruit setting on our healthy, leafy bushes.  We were very excited, until we noticed that something (an insect?!) has carefully laid eggs in every single berry. You can visually see the damage on the outside of the not-yet ripe fruit and inside there is a small, white grub growing.
 
What pest would do this to Ribes family fruit and what can we do to discourage this is future years?
Rachel
 
 
 
Hi Rachel,

Thanks for writing in. We don’t get many currant or gooseberry questions!

You’re instinct about the problem being an insect is probably correct. Currants and gooseberries are usually a pain to grow here because of the Currant Fruit Fly which actually is a small fly which hits the fruit, and the Currant Sawfly which is not a fly but a type of wasp whose larvae look like currant-leaf-colored caterpillars. There’s also a small chance it could be the Spotted Wing Drosophila (which they recently found in WA), but we suspect the larva is more likely the Currant Fruit Fly.

The good news is that there is a non-chemical way to address this issue. You should immediately pick all fruit and remove it from the area – I wouldn’t recommend eating any of them, although if you only juice the fruit, you can still pick clean now and process.

The reason for removing them from the area is that the larvae drop to the ground and overwinter under the bushes, much as apple maggots burrow into ground under apple trees. Removing all the infected fruit may cut the life cycle enough such that you get a clean crop next year. 

And while you can share this information with your neighbor, there’s no telling what the rest of your neighborhood might be doing and there may be infested currants in your area which are not managed and these can re-infest your fruit next year. One way to help against that is to net the shrubs with a fine mesh just after pollination but before fruit begins to form. 

If you want to determine exactly which insect it is, save a handful of fruit, place in large Ziploc bag, store on kitchen counter, keep beady eye on it and see who emerges.  If a small vinegar fly emerges in a couple weeks or so, you have the Spotted Wing Drosophilia.  If no one emerges or rice-sized pupae are seen, you have the fruit worm which won’t emerge until next year.

Hope that helps and good luck with the berries!

Don & John

fruitqa@cityfruit.org


Dear Don & John,

I actually have two questions built in to one request.

1.  My inherited apple tree (variety yet unknown) has some kind of disease causing the leaves on many branches to curl and look nasty.  How do I treat it without chemicals?  Is it too late? 

2.  Do you know where the best place is to get a reasonably priced orchard ladder (tri-pod style)?  Those things are crazy expensive.

Thanks,

Mark

Hi Mark,

Thanks for writing in and it looks like you get a 2-for-1 special today!

Your apple tree probably has apple scab, causing some leaf curl and color distortion and you can read all about how to manage that organically at our website. We’ve got some suggested sprays and techniques listed there.

However, if your leaves are tightly curled upward that could be a sign of a new insect, the Apple Leaf Curl Midge, that’s been coming down from British Columbia, Canada. The damage is caused by the new larva feeding on the leaves – which can lead to distorted limb growth, pre-mature leaf dropping, etc. Luckily there is no evidence of reduced quality of fruit.

For a mature tree, you should be safe to ignore it.  For a 1 or 2 year old tree, remove affected leaves to try to save others from curl since it is thought to have 2 generations per year here. We would anticipate that parasitoids will slowly catch up with it and keep it in check.

With regards to the orchard ladders, yeah, they can definitely be pricey but worth it. You should probably be able to get by with a 6-8’ ladder unless your tree is really tall. We’ve found Tallman to be an excellent brand generally, which you can sometimes find used. For new, we purchased ladders for City Fruit at Horizon in Bellevue, WA, but Wilson Irrigation in Yakima is also a good bet.

Hope that helps and good luck with the apple tree!

Don & John

fruitqa@cityfruit.org

Jul15

Get a Free Fruit Tree

I’ve seen a few different things going around the web recently about how you can get your hands on a free fruit tree so I thought I’d help share them here with some additional info about caring for trees. Keep in mind that there are strings attached to getting one of these free fruit trees — but in both cases below, it’s that the trees are used for the good of the community. Can hardly argue with that.

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

One of my favorite organizations out there is The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. I’ve written about them previously but as a reminder they are, in their own words:

“… a nonprofit charity dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees and plants to benefit the environment and all its inhabitants. Our primary mission is to plant and help others plant a collective total of 18 billion fruit trees across the world (approximately 3 for every person alive) and encourage their growth under organic standards.”

In order to help them achieve their 3 fruit trees per person, they’re giving away a ton of fruit trees. They have a couple different ways in which you can get them:

  • Fill out this application (Word Doc) for creating an orchard in your community.
  • Submit a project idea to their Communities Take Root contest(in partnership with Dreyer’s Fruit Bars). Then the community gets to vote on which projects receive free fruit trees.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Sorry non-Seattle folks, this one is strictly for the Seattle residents — but it’s worth checking to see if your city offers a similar program.

The Tree Fund provides trees to neighborhoods to “enhance Seattle’s urban forest”. If you & your neighbors get together you can receive 10-40 trees for your community, as well as one fruit tree for yourself (one per household). Your project must be able to demonstrate the capacity to build a stronger, healthier community.

It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors better and improve your community at the same time. Plus think of all the great fruit you’ll get! Check out all the places that received free trees last year. Seattle is serious about improving our city’s urban tree canopy.

When, Where, and How to Plant?

Seattle’s Tree Fund doesn’t do the planting of trees until the fall, which is the perfect time to plant new trees — the temperature is cooler, they’ll get plenty of water. I’m not sure when you’d get the trees from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, but I’d recommend waiting until the summer has passed.

It’s not always easy to know where a fruit tree will do well in a yard — that’s why we’ve put some very useful info up on our website. And don’t forget caring for the fruit tree. It’s not hard, but it does require some know-how and effort. But City Fruit is here to help.

And because I’m a visual learner, I really get the most out of watching someone do something rather than reading about it. For those of you like that out there, here’s a handy video on how to plant a fruit tree.


Now go get yourself & your community some fruit trees and start helping build your city’s urban orchard with a great local food source.

Jul08

Fruit Q&A: Apple & Plum Questions Answered

We got a couple of good questions in this week for Don & John. They answer both below.  And remember, if you have a question for these guys, drop them an e-mail: fruitqa@cityfruit.org.

 Dear Don & John,

An apple tree on my block is 20-25 years old, pretty much neglected, but has a good crop of apples. I haven’t looked at it closely this spring until today, and was dismayed to see that the apples are all junk – see the photo.

What is the cause of this distortion? The leaves generally look OK, though there are a few curled and gray.

What can I do to help this tree?

Barb

 

Hi Barb….

The photo is great and always helps us provide a more accurate diagnosis. We think there are a couple things going on with your apples.

First, the spots on your apples are probably due to “scab” – a varying collection of fungus. The fact that the apple tree is older and has been neglected doesn’t help, but the wet weather probably had something to do with this as well, giving the fungus more time to establish itself on the fruit.

While problematic, there are organic solutions. The first step is to remove all old leaves from beneath the tree in the fall and put them in the yard waste container, or bury them. Prune out affected twigs, which bear small, blister-like pustules, and put them in the yard waste. Do both of these things in late winter or early spring, before growth begins in the tree.

There are also several organic spray options including sulfur, lime-sulfur, or Bordeaux mixture (copper sulfate plus lime) applied early in the growing season. These are readily available at most nurseries. Spray as soon as the buds show green. And since scab likes damp weather, spray every week until midsummer if the weather is dry. If the summer is wet, spray until 30 days before harvest.

The dimpling on the apples is more difficult to figure out, but it’s most likely a pollination problem – which is a more difficult problem to solve this season. It would be good if you get a lot of bees or other pollinators, as that would help ensure good pollination. Otherwise, next season when the flowers are blooming, take a small brush and a container, shaking some pollen free from the flower, and then using the brush to then apply it to other flowers.

Hope that helps and thanks for writing in.

Don & John

fruitqa@cityfruit.org


Dear Don & John…

I was cleaning up the ground and fertilizing some of the fruit trees this weekend and I noticed something really odd. All of the plum trees are acting like it’s fall. Several species, all very mature and prolific full-sized trees, have started yellowing and dropping their leaves. 50-60% of the leaves seem to have turned yellow almost overnight. The leaves have brown spots and drop in droves at a simple shake of a branch. I looked for signs of mold or insect damage, but didn’t see anything obvious. They just act like it’s fall.

None of the other fruit trees (cherries, apples, pears, fig) have this issue, though all are suffering somewhat from the weird weather.

Does this have to do with the funky weather we’ve been having? Please help!

Aaron

Hi Aaron,

You did all the right things in checking what you did. Those are good steps.

And while plum trees in general aren’t producing as much as they did last year, we don’t think the weather is the culprit here, but rather some sort of fungal infection – but it’s difficult to tell without actually seeing the leaves ourselves.

Our best guess is that the fertilizer might be the trigger here. Fruit trees in the Pacific Northwest tend not to need too much fertilizer beyond specific nutrients. But too much nitrogen can spur excessive growth, leaving the tree susceptible to fungal infections.

So we suggest holding off on the fertilization for now and seeing what impact that has on the tree in a few weeks. With all fungal infections, it’s a good idea to pick up all the fallen leaves and put them in the yard waste bin – not your home compost or the disease can spread there.

While you might not get a good crop this year, you can most likely improve the quality of the tree health for next year. In the fall, the tree could benefit from a good pruning – targeting the parts of the tree that were infected this year. This should help the tree produce new growth in the spring.

Fungal infections also benefit from various sprays. Because we can’t identify which fungal infection your tree might have, we suggest bringing in a leaf sample to the Center for Urban Horticulture on any Monday from 4pm – 8pm. They have experts on hand who should be able to more accurately identify which fungus is affecting your tree and then recommend the appropriate organic spray – which would be applied next spring.

Hope this helps and thanks for writing in.

Don & John

fruitqa@cityfruit.org

Jun10

Does Bagging Fruit Work?

As you’ve read numerous times on our blog, facebook page, and twitter account, we’re big supporters and practitioners of bagging fruit. Just last weekend, in fact, a group of us were at Piper’s Orchard in Carkeek Park placing foot socks on trees in the historic orchard there.

I’m a big believer in using data and hard evidence to inform where to invest energy, so I started wondering about whether or not all this bagging of fruit really makes a difference.

We’ll be able to tell ourselves a bit after this year’s effort, led by Don Ricks, to place foot socks on apple trees in several parks, but I also found a couple pieces of information that help demonstrate that if used properly, applying foot socks or bags can make a significant difference in yield of quality fruit.

Take this article a few years back in the Seattle Times. The evidence is mostly anecdotal, but compelling. But I also found this article written by the University of Kentucky. Within that they have the image at the top-right of this blog post — showing the results of a several-year apple bagging study. Washington State University Skagit Extention also touts bags as an approved method for preventing apple maggot infestation.

And hey — Ciscoe promotes using them, citing recent research.

Add all that up and it appears that the foot socks and bags are an effective deterrent against apple maggots. It was fun just putting foot socks on the fruit, but would be great to get some tasty fruit out of the deal. We’ll see how the fruit turns out that Don & volunteers have been protecting and we’ll make sure to share our story.

May24

Foot socks: Apple Maggot or Coddling Moth?

Courtesy of OregonLive.comWe’ve been focusing a lot recently on fruit tree pest control, but ’tis the season. As part of that and in the run-up to this weekend’s activities, we wanted to address a question we get a lot: Will my footies help prevent coddling moth as well as apple maggots?

The answer: It depends.

There are a lot of variables that determine whether or not the footies will be effective on coddling moths. Some communities have a more intense infestation than others. But there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success:

  • Use super strong footies. There are foot socks that are extra thick to help protect against coddling moth as well as apple maggot.
  • Follow the example of the Portland Home Orchard Society and soak your footies in kaolin clay — a harmless inert organic material — before using them on apples.

No matter what technique you use or which fruit you’re trying to protect, the key is to get out there and start trying different solutions. What’s right in one yard might not work in another.

Either way, the apple maggot is not flying yet and won’t be flying for a few more weeks.  You still have plenty of time to apply your foot sox for that particular pest.

Thanks to Don Ricks for all the great info for this post.

May21

The “Super Fruit” that helps regulate weight gain

courtesy of wikipediaYes, you heard right. There is a new “super fruit” in town and it has an unfortunate name: chokeberry.

At least that’s according to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, who’s aim is to “provide a forum in which to hold educational meetings, develop publications, and disseminate biological research results.” They’ve been around for over 100 years and have folks from the American Cancer Association and PhD professors from Penn State & Columbia University among those who sit on their board.

In addition to having some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any measured plant to date, the folks at the USDA also found that their initial investigation “provides evidence that the chokeberry extract inhibits weight gain in insulin-resistant animals and that it modulates multiple genes associated with adipose tissue growth, blood glucose regulation, and inflammatory pathways.” Yes, that’s right – this little berry also helps regulate weight gain.

The shrub is found primarity in the eastern part of North America and serves as an ornamental underbrush most of the time.  And while the berries are attractive, they aren’t very sweet but are used primarily to make wines, jams, and syrups. And here are a few recipes to get you going in that direction.

Here’s a little video about the Aronia (Chokeberry) and how Native Americans harnessed the goodness of this berry and how it fizzled in to obscurity. Slightly melodramatic, but a pretty good history.


I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for chokeberry jam or juice the next time I’m at the shop.

May20

Latest Pest Report & More Chances to Volunteer

As we’ve mentioned previously, our resident fruit tree pest expert, Don Ricks, is constantly monitoring the situation in Seattle. We hope to save a good number of apples and pears from infestation this year, allowing us to put that fruit to good use for the first time. And latest word is that the codling moths have been seen flying around a few Seattle neighborhoods. So getting these footies on to the fruit in the coming days is very important.

We could use your help!

There are a number of opportunities to help apply foot socks to small fruit. The more fruit we cover, the more fruit we can use.

Saturday, May 22

  • Bellevue, Holy Cross Lutheran Church (map), 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.  For more info, Roger Ledbetter: (425) 888-0644
  • Wallingford, Good Shepherd Center (map), 9 a.m.-1 p.m.   For more info, Don Ricks: DonnieAppleseed@yahoo.com
  • Carkeek Park, the Piper Orchard (map), Noon-3 p.m.  For more info,  Bob Baines: (206) 684-4075

Sunday, May 23

Wednesday, May 29

Saturday, June 5

  • Carkeek Park, the Piper Orchard (map), Noon-3 p.m.  For more info,  keeping checking this site.
May11

Books to make your garden grow…

The Seattle Times’ Pacific section this last Sunday had a good review of books to enhance your urban gardening and cooking experience. Of particular interest: “In “The Urban Pantry,” by gardener/writer Amy Pennington, co-founder of Urban Garden Share in Seattle and producer of KIRO Radio’s “In the Kitchen with Tom and Thierry” with chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau, writes about everything from stocking the pantry to cooking with what you grow.”

May11

Help Apply Footies in Seattle Orchards

Courtsey of Seattle Tree Fruit SocietyAs you know, we at City Fruit are passionate about pest management. We’ve blogged about it, sell City Fruit Shields to fruit tree owners, and are working to apply the footies on healthy trees in the city.

To help us with this, we’re working with Don Ricks to determine the status of apple maggot and coddling moth in the city, when to start applying pest prevention measures, and which to use.

We’re looking for volunteers to help him apply footies to fruit trees in two different orchard in the city:

If you’re interested, you can find more details on the Piper Orchard website or e-mail Don directly.

Courtesy of Friends of Piper's OrchardDon is continually monitoring the situation in Seattle and has sent us this dispatch:

As of today (5/10/10) I am still not seeing codling moth in the trapsbut what I did see over the weekend is that some of the apples at the Good Shepherd Center are now big enough to apply footies to. Everywhere else, the apples are still too small or we haven’t even had complete petal fall yet.

One month ago it looked like we would have an exceptionally early season this year,  but we have had some cooler than usual weather the past few weeks and this has changed the picture. Neither the bugs nor the fruit is developing as fast as we once thought, but we expect the weather ahead to be warming up shortly. Warmer climes, like the Rainier Valley, will need earlier attention. Cooler climes by the Puget Sound, or at higher elevations, might be a little later.

Consequently, the indications are now that the best time to apply foot sox will be the week before and after Memorial Day.

If you are spraying the organics Neem Oil, kaolin clay, or Spinosad products as your first cover spray for the codling moth, then probably mid- to late-May would be a good time to make the first application. This will have to be followed by sprays every 10 days or so until either harvest time or until you have covered them with foot sox. 

The apple maggot fly will probably be flying in early- to mid-June, but stay tuned for further updates on when the fly is flying and (later in the season) when the fruit will be ripening.     

Apr23

Get ready for all that fruit coming your way!

Seattle Tilth, located at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, room 140 (Senior Center), Seattle, WA 98103
is offering the following great workshop:

The Master Food Preservation Educator Training will provide trainees with the knowledge and skills to train others on safe methods of food preservation. The class series will include food preservation history, food borne illness overview, canning techniques for fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood, pickling and fermenting, freezing and dehydrating procedures, and teaching strategies. The course will be taught during six Saturday classes that will include one part lecture, one part kitchen practicum, and one part teach-back activities to build teaching techniques and skills. Upon completion of the course attendees will be certified by Seattle Tilth to teach Food Preservation for 3 years. The course will be taught by Susy Hymas, a Master Food Preserver and Nutrition Educator with 30 plus years of food preservation experience. For more information about other Seattle Tilth classes, visit our website.
COST: $350; payment plans and some scholarship assistance are available.
Dates: May 8, 15, 22, June 5, 12, 19, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
To register, download an application form and mail it in with your payment.
To get to their website, click here

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Apr19

More resources for fruit tree nurturers

One of our board members attended a workshop by the Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation and was just blown away by their “seriousness” and the depth of their knowledge!

To educate yourself more about your fruit trees, to find information on problems you may be having, be sure to check them out. Let us know is you need further help…we love your trees

Apr13

Paul Krugman on Feasible Green Economies

In this last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Paul Krugman, the noted economist and columnist, wrote a lengthy explication of how converting to a green economy is not only the right thing to do, but is affordable. I highly recommend taking the time to read this article. Here is the link. And, as usual, reading the comments provides valuable insight into the thought processes of our fellow human beings…..

Mar19

We, the people, are doing so much good!

Alleycat Acres posted a great story about The Ground Up Project with whom they are going to partner at the Yesler Terrace housing group. Will Allen visited with them when he was in town. They are creating plans for a green community that suit and reflect the structure of this residential shape and form, not some generic ideal. They are involving and training teens. Check them out! Offer to get involved, lend a hand, be engaged!

Mar15

March 20: Planting & Caring for Young Fruit Trees

Not sure why I have so much to announce today, but there is a lot going on this week.

This Saturday, March 20, John Reardon, vice president of the Seattle Tree Fruit Society, will teach a tree care class for folks who have young fruit trees. They require a specific type of care to thrive and resist pests & disease.

The class is from 10am – 11:30am at the Orca School Environmental Learning Center. The cost is $10 for City Fruit members and $15 for non-embers but if you can’t afford the class but would like to attend, email info@cityfruit.org .

Register at Brown Paper Tickets or by sending a check to “City Fruit,” PO Box 28577 Seattle 98118.   For more information, email info@cityfruit.org.  

The class is co-sponsored by the Phinney Neighborhood Association.

 
Mar11

A new take on an old motto….

Blue Mountain Cider Company in Milton-Freewater, Oregon (right next door to Walla Walla, Washington home to some of the finest wineries in the country), has a new take on the old motto ‘an apple a day…’: theirs is ‘An Apple a Day…One Glass at a Time’! One of City Fruit’s future projects is to use the not-so-pretty-apples picked from your garden in cider making. With donations from you, we can invest in a cider press, can teach classes on cider making, and help feed community spirit with another great hands-on learning experience.Be sure to check out Blue Mountain Cider Company’s Facebook page

Mar09

A movie that may change your food shopping habits…

Full Circle Farm in Carnation, WA (and here is their website) posted this film on their facebook page today. Here is their comment: “Watched this again last night. If you haven’t seen this movie, or know someone that hasn’t please organize a viewing. Knowledge is the first step to change.” And, further: “If you or your school is interested in hosting a screening of Food Inc., write to us. We will make sure you get the rights you need along with your copy of the film.” Be sure to check them out!

Feb26

Literacy, Preservation, Partnerships, Food Security

I have been thinking a lot lately about various projects around the world that are exemplars of cooperation, education, thoughtful & intentional partnerships, and that underscore the importance of what City Fruit is doing in our community.

The first example is the L’Occitane Foundation, the plant preservation and people investment arm of the French company L’Occitane.  The plants used in their skin care products come from resource-rich countries where, in general, women have not had access to education. They work with the people to grow and care for these plants, they provide educational opportunities, access to medical care, and involve them as equal economic and political partners.

A second example began on a small farm in South Africa very near East London, home of the ANC leadership in the days of apartheid.  One of the projects of Simone & Cyril Blumenthal, ophthalmologists, was running a small farm with the intention of  training non-white South Africans, who were displaced from their lands, in sustainable farming practices.  As each family “graduated”, they were given a cow, access to land, and the requirement to train another family and give them a cow upon completion.  At the same time, Simone was the first woman to be involved in the esoteric world of cattle embryo banks, focusing on a particular breed suited to life in the South African veld.  Simone has retired from this work (at the age of 80, she is building, with the help of two assistants, also elderly, a home that is energy self-sufficient and she is able to supply her neighbours with energy she cannot use!), but her daughter, Carol, is carrying on the family tradition of food and land preservation in a different area.  Carol has been doing hydroponic fruit and vegetable farming for many years and has now begun Skilderkrantz: eco restoration in a place called Baviaanskloof, west of East London.

These are all examples of what individuals with a good idea can do when enlisting the cooperation of others.  Tell us of other projects that you know about…we can all use good news!

Feb24

Pest & disease prevention and management

My wife was out spraying our trees over the weekend and that got me thinking about pest & disease prevention. We created a new page on the City Fruit web site that provides some information, tips, and guidance for preventing and dealing with various pests & diseases that impat our fruit trees.

We touch on scab, leaf rush, apple maggot fly, and coddling moth. Plus a variety of links to other resources for more information.

 

Feb23

Growing Grapes

We’re in the process of taking down an old shed (saving the wood for another purpose) and replacing it with some kind of trellace or, as we like to call it, pergola.

We realized that it gets great sun and will be the perfect spot to grow some grapes. It will get plenty of light and will provide some cover for us under the pergola in the heat of the summer — once it grows of course. So over the weekend we picked up a grape vine, a Canadice variety.

I started looking around for info about grape vines and this is what I found. Here are a couple of videos — the first is about how to grow a grapevine on an arbor, which is very pertinent to what we’re trying to do.


The other we won’t need for a bit, but it’s all about how to prune grapevines. City Fruit also has a class coming up on March 6 all about pruning grapevines. Sign up before it fills up.


We’ll keep you all posted with the progress of the grape vines. And let us know if you grow grapes, what variety, and any tips you might have.