Author Archives: Ruth

How to Guard Against Leaf Miners

November 16, 2019

Joan here. I have been volunteering at FECO since the beginning of time. Recently, in my writing class, the instructor charged us to write a set of instructions for how to do something. Here goes!

Leaf miner larvae were infesting the Swiss chard I was trying to grow in the FECO raised beds. They ruined the leaves, inserting themselves between skins of the leaf blades and laying their itty-bitty eggs on the backs.

“What to do?” I asked Sue Hartman, who had helped me plant the seeds in April. “Cover the

Sun Nov 16, 2-4, Work Party
Sat Dec 7, 10-12, Work Party
Sun Dec 15, 2-4, Work Party
Sat Jan 4, 10-12, Work Party
Sun Jan 19, 2-4, Work Party

Swiss chard with Reemay, a light cloth that lets air and water in,” she said, and showed me how to do it:

First, cut off all and destroy all the infected leaves. I lost about 1/3 of them.

Second, find five one-inch bamboo posts, four of the same length, and one slightly longer for the middle of the plot.

Then, so the posts don’t pierce the Reemay, duct-tape and secure eight-ounce yogurt cups upside down on each post.

Drive holes into the four corners of the plot, and one into the center of the plot to hold the poles.

Cut the Reemay generously and carefully lay it over the protected stakes.

Trim the Reemay where it gathers over the corners and apply two two-inch binder clips at each corner.

Set stones on the edges of the plot, so the Reemay won’t blow off. Presto: A leaf-miner-proof-plot!

Joan Davis

P.S. For more information on leaf miners, visit this website:
https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/leafminers

Are Those Freckles?

October 18, 2019

Not Freckles. Dimples? Not dimples. Bitter pit. It’s a bothersome disorder, common in  Honeycrisp apples. In the cells of this apple, there is more air space and more pores than in normal apples. The pits are manifestations of clumps of dead cells. The scanned photo of an apple shows fewer veins in the calyx (bottom) of Honeycrisp, which is why bitter pit tends to show up near the bottom.

Lee Kalcsitis, WSU Assistant Professor, Tree Fruit Physiology, writes: Honeycrisp naturally have bigger cells than most apples. That seems to predispose them to structural degradation associated with bitter pit. And trees that have access to extra water allow those cells to grow even bigger, while limited water during the later stages of fruit growth can keep the fruit cells a little smaller and more stable.

Sun Oct 20, 2-4, Work Party
Sat Nov 2, 10-12, Work Party
Sun Nov 17, 2-4, Work Party
Sat Dec 7, 10-12, Work Party

Calcium binds up pectins which translates to the glue that holds the cells together. That glue helps to resist bitter pit but it breaks down as the apples mature. The glue breaks down faster in fruit with less calcium.

However, calcium is one of the most immobile nutrients. When leaves pull up water from the roots, calcium also travels up. Since the leaves transpire more water than fruit, they get the bulk of the calcium. (Cork spot in pears and tomato end rot have the same issue in that the calcium may be in the soil but it’s not necessarily in the fruit tissue where it is needed.)

The strategy for commercial growers is to withhold water, without stressing the tree, and apply calcium sprays. Still, results of these techniques are highly varied. Crop load is also an important factor because, if there are a small number of fruit, they will be large and more susceptible to bitter pit. On the other hand, too many apples can cause fewer blooms the following season.

My strategy: eat them when they are ripe! (Storage time increases the pitting.)

Ruth

additional resources:
Calcium Absorption during Fruit Development in ‘Honeycrisp’ Apple Measured Using 44Ca as a Stable Isotope Tracer. L Kalcsits, G van der Heijden, M Reid, K Mullin – HortScience, 2017

Advanced sensing techniques for analysis of elemental concentrations associated with bitter pit in apple. Zúñiga CE, Jarolmasjed S, Kalcsits LA, Sinhal R, Zhang C, Dhingra A, Sankaran S*. 2017. Postharvest Biology and Technology 128, 121-129.

Fall Means Festival!

September 28, 2019

Fall is here! On Saturday, October 12th we will be hosting our 9th annual Cider Fest from 2:00-5:00pm. We invite everyone to visit the orchard and enjoy a free cup of freshly pressed hot apple cider.

You’ll have the opportunity to watch the cider making process and even take a turn at cranking the press. Kids love taking part in the process and tasting the end product.

In addition to cider making, we will have live music, kid’s activities from the Pacific Science Center and a Garden Hotline horticulturist, ready to answer your gardening questions.

Slices of scrumptious homemade pie will be available for a donation.Take home some salsa verde, made with orchard-grown tomatillos and mild peppers.

Sat, Oct 5, 10-12, Work Party
Sat Oct 12, 2-5, Cider Fest!
Sun Oct 20, 2-4, Work Party
Sat Nov 2, 10-12, Work Party

It’s a great time to come see all of the work we’ve been doing. In the last year, we’ve added additional garden beds to grow food for local food banks. We’ve also continued to explore ways to collect and conserve water and grow food more sustainably.

We hope to see you at the event! If you’re interested in volunteering at the event, please click this SignUp Genius link or contact us at freewayestatescommunityorchard@gmail.com.

We’re also looking for volunteers to help us spruce up the orchard on Saturday, October 5th from 10am-12pm. All help is appreciated!

Michelle