The Inbetween Time
This is a time when the garden should be calling to me, because it’s that ‘in-between’ time, when the hills are golden–hued with crisping grasses and the ticks are nearly gone, and the apples are ready for picking. This year my crop of an as-yet-unidentified ‘Delicious’-type variety was bounteous, but since I did not protect against codling moth infestation, and I did not thin the crop, I have too many apples, many of them small, and many of them with an exit hole besmirched with frass. They are edible, but it’s simpler to just cut the apple in half and find the tunnel from the center and cut out the damage. I’ve never enjoyed the apples, but they are very flavorful this year.
With the winter rains about to start, I need to clean up the beds. This involves raking up dead leaves and fallen petals. I wish I could leave it to rot, and add organic material to my soil. But this cool, moist mulch would provide a wonderful cradle for fungal infections. The roses, hollyhocks and peach tree are particularly vulnerable. The roses are susceptible to black spot and rust, and the hollyhocks, which really don’t belong here in California (but I love their tall stalks and bunches of large open blossoms) develop rust so easily. Cleaning up fallen leaves is just plain sensible.
As for my peach tree, it is highly susceptible to peach leaf curl. I will clean up fallen leaves and I’ll be spraying the entire tree with a copper-based fungicide in early December, when all the leaves are gone. I’ll be mixing up a new batch (or rather my husband will…). Depending on what I can find, it will be a Bordeaux mixture, or an off-the-shelf product. Either way, I hope it will work. I’ll be replacing this tree in the next few years with a resistant variety, because it seems to be a never-ending battle, it is a very old tree and I do love peaches!
Apple hit with coddling moth. (photo by Riva Flexer)