Greenhouse – Red Spider Mite

One of my customers showed me there peach tree growing in there greenhouse. The leaves were very mottled and were beginning to drop prematurely. The actual fruit did not seem to be progressing to there normal size.

This is one of the traditional signs of Red Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae). Unfortunately my camera could not focus in close enough on the actual mite. But they form a very fine webbing over a shoot, not a traditional spiders web as such. But this webbing sort of protects the mite. Ultimately this webbing covers many shoots and all gets joined up into a mass of webbing. If not controlled adequately it can kill the plant.

This mite in this instance it was on a peach tree, but they infect virtually any plant. as it is a greenhouse pest it can attack tomatoes, cucumbers etc etc. Being so microscopically small in the early stages they are not detectable. They are typically 1mm long and bright red. Its only when you get the mottled leaves and leaf fall it is noticed.

They love hot dry greenhouses, so dampening down is recommended to keep the humidity up, and also ensure adequate ventilation. Sometimes here in the UK they can venture outside during the occasional long hot dry summer. They over winter in nooks and cranies and start there breeding cycle of laying eggs from March till October.

 

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Bad case of Powdery Mildew of Grapes

This photo illustrates a bad case of Powdery Mildew (Erysiphe necator) on Grapes.

This is one of the most common diseases of grapes. Initial symptoms of powdery mildew appear on leaves, then on the fruit, then on the bark of the shoots.

The mildew survives the winter by laying dormant in the buds. It is only when the spring is damp and temperatures rise that spores begin to get going.

Initially the shoots and leaves of the vine all appear to be growing well in the spring. But all the activity starts on the underside of the leaves, out of sight.

There are a number of fungus chemicals on the market, but its normally too late when the fungus has got a hold, as shown in the photo. Spraying very often is continuous throughout the growing season.

The more effective method, is to reduce temperatures and moisture during the spring, by increasing ventilation and air circulation. The only trouble is that many of the older varieties of grapes are not immune, whereas the newer varieties have an inbuilt immunity.

Remeber that where grapes are normally grown in the Mediterranean countries, where there is not the moisture or humidity, and they are grown outside with full ventilation. We have a tendency to grow them in a greenhouse with sat tomatoes, which is not ideal.

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Possible Outdoor Apricots and Peaches fruiting 2017

I have been asked many times which are the best fruiting varieties of Apricots and Peaches for the UK climate. Well this year is the first year I have started logging fruit set, with the prediction of a harvest.

Our situation as to where these are grown, is on a North facing slope, made up from heavy clay in the heart of the Midlands, UK. Our temperature zone is 8a that being -9.5 deg C to -12.2 deg C

Many of the trees are quite young and not have settled down into a production rhythm.

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This is what is known as a patio peach, they come in a number of varieties

This is what is known as a patio peach, they come in a number of varieties, namely BONANZA, GARDEN BEAUTY, GARDEN DELICIOUS, GARDEN GOLD, GARDEN SILVER,  GARDEN DELIGHT, being Apricots, Peaches or Nectarines.

We will be offering some of these for sale this coming winter, as barerooted. They can obviously be grown in a large pot or tub on the patio. Or even in a greenhouse or conservatory. Please check our webshop

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Never seen this Graft done before – We will see if it works

Never seen this Graft done before. If you have been into grafting, it is quite normal to graft a small scion onto a large rootstock. As obtaining scion wood and rootstock of the same diameter is nigh on impossible.

But we were coming to the end of the grafting season and we only has relatively small diameter rootstock left over. We normally sell these are Grade B’s But we were given some rather unusual apple varieties. The only problem they were about 20mm diameter. So we performed the normal side graft, and taped  them up.

Well we gave it ago, and we will see if it works. It does look really weird

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New local Cider on sale – from Winwick, Northants.

I just happened to be browsing the beer, lager and cider fridge at my local village shop at Barby near Rugby, and I came across these 2 new brews. So I just had to sample one of each.

The description on the label says “Winwick (Gold) Dry Cider – A light refreshing cider produced using hand picked apples from the village of Winwick”.

‘Ben’ who does the brewing had these batches and was offering a few bottles to some of our local village stores. Once sold that’s it till next year.

This one says “Gap Tooth Dry Cider – A single variety still cider, produced using Dabinet cider apples handpicked in a traditional Northamptonshire orchard”.

 

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Cockington (Devon) Orchard 2016

cockington-20161017_102557

Cockington Orchard 2016

Cockington Orchard 2016

This is a view of the orchard mainly planted 5 years or so ago

Cockington Orchard 2016

Cockington Orchard 2016

Further on from the previous plantings these look like they were planted last year. Yet again none of them have any name tags. But it looks like they have all been sponsored / bequeathed to deceased mothers, fathers, grand parents etc.

Cockington Cider Press 2016

Cockington Cider Press 2016

A good shot of the twin shafted cider press, the day after ‘The Apple Day’. See the massive oak timbers.

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Watercore of Apples

Apple Watercore

Apple Watercore

WHAT IS WATERCORE?

Watercore is a physiological disorder of apple fruit characterized by water-soaked tissue around the vascular bundles or core area due to the spaces between cells becoming filled with fluid instead of air. Affected tissue is water-soaked and glassy looking.

Generally damage is not visible on the skin, and it is only when fruit are cut that the damage is seen. In severe cases flesh can be affected right up to the skin, which then darkens over affected areas.
Some varieties are more susceptible to the disorder than others. These include Braeburn, Sundowner, Fuji, Lady Williams and Red Delicious.

WHAT IS WATERCORE?

Watercore is more of a problem in arid and semi-arid areas. Low night temperatures in autumn and high day temperatures when apples are nearing maturity favour watercore. Low fruit calcium and high levels of nitrogen may increase the chance of watercore in susceptible varieties.

HARVEST

Apples with watercore have high levels of the sugar sorbitol in the intracellular spaces.

In Japan, fruit with radial watercore command a premium price and are known as “honeyed apples”.
They are specially graded and sold quickly.

CONTROL

There are no known cures for affected fruit. Picking fruit before watercore develops and at the correct stage of maturity will help reduce losses. Adequate calcium nutrition and careful use of nitrogen fertilisers can minimise damage in susceptible varieties.

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Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard 2016

Another orchard visit whilst traveling through Cornwall and Devon. This time it is Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard we are visiting. We meant to drop by last year, but we could not find it.

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

You will need to be very fit to get to this orchard. Do not attempt if old or infirm or with a pram. Starting off from the harbour sea front, and walking up a very steep hill on the main road, just past the Naval College.

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

There is newly laid gravel path, which is a great help. As the orchard is on a very step slope.

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

The only trouble is it finishes abruptly.

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

Dartmouth (Devon) Community Orchard

Hardly any of the trees are labeled up, and then some names appear to be vague.

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Hungarian method of Peach Leaf Curl (Taphrina deformans) control

As quoted by a Hungarian associate.

I am doing it different way than others. What is important is to start doing the prevention in the previous year. I give them systemic fungicide in autumn before leaf fall. It prevents infection through the leaves and buds. I also give them a copper washing in early spring. After leaf bud burst I give contact fungicide (cuproxat or/and Tiuram) every 7-10 days. I combine treatment with systemic contact once the leaves get bigger than 1-1,5cm. When it starts flowering it needs contact too. I also protect it from leaf curl twice after flowering. It must be good enough and it gives 99.9% success.

systemic fungicide – Systhane

copper washing – Copper Oxychloride or similar.

cuproxat – Active Ingredient (copper sulfate 27.1%)

Tiuram – 80% thiram (TMTD or Tetrametiltiuramdisolfuro)

 

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