Originally Posted on April 25, 2013
Gardening Tips: Thinning Peaches
Our peach trees are putting on lots of fruit this year, and now is the time to thin the immature fruit. Thinning the fruit is an important part of ensuring a good crop of large peaches, and will also help prevent breakage of branches and limbs later in the season.
Carl Rosato of Woodleaf Farm, (where he organically farms nearly 200 varieties of peaches, apples, pears and cherries), told us to thin farther apart than you think you’ll need, recommending a distance of six to eight inches between fruit.
It is also important to think about how many fruits will remain on the whole limb, and to thin enough so the limb will be able to carry the weight of all the mature peaches on that limb. Some limbs will require heavier thinning than others.
Carl told us that it is very important to thin the fruit when they are about the size of a cherry, before the pits harden. The tree puts a lot of energy into hardening the pits, so it is best to have that energy directed into the fruits that you are going to keep.
Carl also recommends doing a light pruning while you are thinning the fruit. You are attending to your trees anyway, so you can take the opportunity to take out some crossing branches or other small wood.
As for what to do with the thinned peaches, Carl said he puts them on the ground, ensuring that they have contact with moist soil. The soil organisms will do the work of returning the immature fruit to the soil.
Valley Oak Tool Co. Trial Garden
The trial garden at Valley Oak Tool Co. HQ is growing along well. Aphids and whitefly are visiting the tomato plants in the garden. The aphids did a good job of attracting some beneficial insects, such as ladybugs. We’ve seen the ladybugs growing in number over the past week or so. Having ladybug-friendly habitat in your yard will encourage them to take up residence in your garden, and be at the ready to take on the aphids when they arrive. A good blast of the hose will help dislodge some aphids from the plants until the ladybugs get to them.
Carla watered her plants for the first time since she watered at planting. It was just before a bit of a hot spell, and she gave the plants a good, deep watering. David has watered his plants several times since he planted them. Plants in both sections of the garden are healthy, blooming, and some are even putting on fruit.
David plans to top-dress his rows with some super compost he's been making, and Carla added yet more mulch around her plants. Carla uses fallen leaves, dry conifer needles, and various weeds pulled from other parts of the yard.
Weeding has been thus far unnecessary for Carla, while David plans to use his wheel hoe to remove the weeds between his rows.
Dedicated to sustainability
Valley Oak Tool Co. is proud to be part of the sustainable, local food revolution. Every home gardener, farmer, and market gardener using our tools is making a great contribution to creating more sustainable communities. Our tools are great for off-the-grid gardening! We're proud to provide an important tool in your sustainability tool shed.