Monday, August 26, 2013

Reliance Peach is right!

After many years of trying to find a fruit that grows best in my climate and yard situation, in every house I have lived in (and never succeeding)  - I have finally found it! Peaches!

This Reliance peach finally came into it's own this third year. Hundreds of perfect peaches for eating and freezing. We made a fantastic peach and blueberry pie last week and I hope for many more this winter.

The first two years it immediately got peach leaf curl as soon as the leaves came out and I finally resorted to some copper sulfate last fall. Put on after the leaves are off, it smothers the fungus while it is dormant.

Usually I wouldn't resort to such treatment, but having tried cherries, apples, plums and pears...I realized that fruits take some extra care and you have to be willingly to put the effort in. The reward has been worth the effort!

PS: the Cherry  tree that gets completely and totally decimated by Japanese Beetles every year so that not one leaf is left will be transplanted next year far down in the garden in hopes that the beetles will all fly down to that end of the yard. (Apparently this is an actual pest management technique as told to me bya gardening mentor Carl Sargent.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Best Pictures of the Season

Here are a few of the best pictures from the season that haven't been shown yet here at Woodside Farm. Though we aren't through yet, there is so much I haven't posted. Before all the photos include fall color and harvest, I thought I would put these up. Click on the link below to view them.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tomato Horn Worm!

Tomato Horn Worm
When checking the tomatoes the other day, I touched a plant and realized that I wasn't feeling stalk and leaf, but a very large, completely camouflaged tomato horn worm! This was my first experience with one in hand since I was a kid and I forgot how big and fleshy they are. More than 4 inches long, this Manduca quinquemaculata will some day become what is called a Sphinx or Hawk moth. The moth is quite a bit smaller than this voracious eater though. From now on I will look for these huge caterpillars on my solonaceous plants when I see large upper leaves disappearing!

Weeds and Volunteers

Papaver rhoeas- Corn Poppy
One person's weed is another persons ornamental delight. Every year the choices we make when weeding in the spring and early summer help define the structure of July. Adding to the structure of what you have planned through years of editing, moving, and planting, is supplemented by volunteers (seedlings from self seeded past annuals and perennials or weeds you like) that add to the surprise of the current season and unexpected combinations. Here are three self sowers that I choose not to weed out early in the

Papaver somnifierum

The two poppies I have are totally different. The Papaver rhoeas is light and airy, with dark green, fringed leaves with small heads. One plant will continue to bloom for more than a month though and that bright red can be seen from across a field. The other poppy is a classic Papaver somniferum with a light purple flower with yellow insides. This poppy has a grey leaf that is rigid and sturdy and is a very upright plant. It looks great sprinkled in among peonies and catmint. Yes, this poppy is a type of opium poppy, but the heads are small in comparison to those grown for that market.

The other volunteer is dramatic and almost 7 feet tall, the mullien. This verbascum is often considered an annoying weed, but if left in the right places it can be a show stopper. A biennial, you can sometimes move it to where you would like it if you see some of it's felty seedlings in their first year. (It has a long taproot, so can't be moved after it gets a bit bigger.) It fits well into our farm like setting and always gets comments. Once it is done flowering it must get taken out though, as the grey felt leaves get ratty and brown.

Next spring think about what seedlings you are weeding and how they will look amongst things you planned. Careful editing can bring the most exciting results!