Winter Gardening and Fruit Pest Management: It's time to Footie your Fruit!
Written by Kathy Morse, WSU Master Gardener
Thursday, 23 June 2011 13:03
Winter Garden Planning
I know you just got most of your summer garden in but believe it or not if you want to grow some fall/winter veggies the time to plan and start some seedlings is now. Use your Maritime Guide for planning what you want to grow into the winter. Most of our crops do not grow through the winter, but there are some that do. Regardless of its name, "winter" squash is not one of them - if you haven't gotten your winter squash well established by now it will be too late to get a crop.
There is a chart on the Territorial web site: "Winter Gardening Means Summer Planting" which identifies the timelines for sowing and transplanting many crops. Early August through mid-September is a very important timeline for many of these crops in order for them to put on enough growth to produce. There is also a more complete chart that can be downloaded through the Oregon Tilth web site.
Starting and managing seeds during the hot part of summer is challenging. Remember to never let the seed bed dry out, which means you may have to water two or three times a day. One technique is to use more compost in your potting and seeding mixes which holds more water and doesn't dry out as fast as the prepared seeding mixes. You can also cover them with Remay which slows down the evaporation rate and also protects crops like broccoli, kale, carrots from the maggots and worms which plague them.
Use of season extenders comes into play in fall as temperatures start to dip in order to extend your harvest well into the fall.
Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest, by Binda Colebrook, is a great reference and will give you lots of tips. New products are making it easier and easier to have your own food for a longer time.
Organic Apple Pest Management
The apple trees finally began to bloom in late May this year, and the Mason Bees and other helpers were busy pollinating them.
But pollination alone doesn't ensure a bountiful harvest. In our area we have a couple pests that can transform your wonderful apple crop into useless pulp unless you manage them: the Apple Maggot and the Codling Moth. Darren Murphy is my friend and a member of the Peninsula Fruit Club and he grows several amazing apple trees on his city lot, so I asked him to review my words and to impart any new management strategies coming down the pike!
Some apple varieties are more susceptible to these pests than others. Because we need to protect the commercial growers it is important to realize that it is our responsibility to control this pest to prevent contamination including removing neglected trees. Below is a short description of the two apple pests and some new fruit pests you need to know about.
I first learned of this pest several years ago when my then young daughter and a friend found an old song about the Apple Maggot and the quarantine areas. I am sure you have seen the signs along the roadside, especially up around Mount Vernon, and have been restricted from bringing apples across the border. This is a most serious pest of apples, making larval tunnels inside the flesh of the apple. The fly usually emerges mid-June to late July (this yer may be later however), and then after 7-10 days lays its eggs under the skin of the apple. The maggots live in the apple for 20-30 days before
maturing.They then emerge and fall to the ground where they remain in their pupal state until the following year. The infected fruit is riddled with the tunnels and becomes pulpy and useless.
Fortunately there are some effective organic ways for the backyard fruit grower to protect your fruit. The use of yellow sticky traps to catch adults and the use of red spheres (old red Christmas tree ornaments work great) covered with a sticky substance called Tangle-Trap (Amazon has a spray formula which makes it easier to apply). Both of these traps can be improved by adding a pheromone lure or use a ripe apple coated with tangle trap. The traps need to be hung in an open area of the tree and then monitored and cleaned every couple weeks. Of late, the use of “Footies” – the little stockings that women use when trying on shoes – a good way to recycle old nylon stocking!!, are applied to the developing fruit (picture below) and tied on protecting the fruit from the egg laying female. They then expand with the fruit and you have nice unblemished fruit to eat. This works if you have small trees, not as easy to do with big ones. There are “Footies” treated with Surround (discussed below) for heavy Apple Maggot infestations and untreated ones to use with Coddling Moth (below). The Seattle Fruit Tree Society has a great visual description of how to apply the footies/maggot barriers on their web site.
Here are a few more tips from David Connors and Dick Tilbury. David advises that the keys to success with socks are to get them on early, when the fruit is between a dime and a quarter in size, and to secure the open ends of the socks around the stems of the fruits. To cover fruits properly, barely stretch the sock's open end over the tiny fruit, leaving 2-plus inches of slack to twist around the stem. Dick suggests you spray scab-susceptible apple varieties before applying footies since the socks might create an inviting microclimate for that fungus disease.”
Read more here.
There is another product called Surround which is Kaolin clay that is sprayed onto the tree coating it and making it look like it just snowed. This makes the fruit appear undesirable to the fly. It is effective but looks strange. For the more serious grower a new product called GF 120 that actually kills the fly but this is not available yet in Western WA. A new product called Spinosad is organic and treats both the apple maggot and coddling moth. This product is new so please read up on it before use. I have found it can be purchased through Amazon or Arbico Organics, maybe at Sears and at Ace Superstores. As with any pesticide, please read the label, pay attention to dilutions, wear protective gear and spray when beneficial insects are not at work and protect waterways.
The codling moth overwinters in the bark of trees, posts, cracks in soil and other hiding places. The larval stage ends with the forming of the pupa and then to a grayish moth. The moths appear as the last of the petals fall from the blossoms with a peak about 4-12 days later depending on weather conditions. Winged traps with a Pheromone lure are effective and should be hung in the tree at bloom. I have had some success with placing burlap wrap around the trunk and trapping the cocoons as they develop but they must be removed and disposed of. Surround also works on this pest.
This is just a short synopsis of both these pests but you can read more on the WSU Hortsense and other internet sites to get a better understanding of the pest, when to expect it and its habits for better control.
In order to control these pests it is also very important to continuously clean up fallen fruit and dispose of it either by soaking in water, feeding to livestock or putting in the garbage. If the fruit is not too badly damaged it may be used for cider.
Purchasing Footies: Footies can be purchased through the Home Orchard Society and through the Seattle Tree Fruit Society web sites. Locally, if you know someone who belongs to the Peninsula Fruit Tree Club you can get them through them. There is a possibility that Darren will have someat the 4H booth at the Farmers’ Market when they are there – usually every other week.
New Pests affecting fruit:
Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) The Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is a type of Vinegar Fruit Fly but much more destructive than the common vinegar fly-- From the WSU web site: “SWD was first detected in eastern Washington in June of 2010, and fruit growers need to be prepared to protect their crops in 2011. Cherries are known be at high risk, but other stone fruits can also be attacked.” From Cisco Morris 7/29/10; “The larvae have been found in cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, plums, nectarine and grapes. Several females can deposit eggs in the same fruit, so even small berries can contain quite a number of larvae. If that wasn't bad enough, this pest is expected to produce up to six generations per season, with the first emergence beginning between mid-June and early-July.” Please read up on this, trap and monitor as it has been detected in the Seattle area all year. http://extension.wsu.edu/swd/Documents/Spring2011MonitorIDControlSWD.pdf
WSU _ description “The BMSB has proven to be a significant pest in the eastern US. It is a very mobile insect that feeds on a wide range of plants, including significant agricultural crops such as tree fruit, grapes, berries, vegetables, corn, soybeans, and ornamental plants. Feed damage caused by stink bugs result in deformation and rotten blemishes on fruit and other plant parts. Thus far, it has shown high adaptability to different climates in the US and appears to resist commonly used pesticides.” http://pmtp.wsu.edu/downloads/bmsbIDsheet.pdf
For Healthy Fruit Trees
0-5-25 PNW Fruit Tree Maintenance Formula - This fertilizer is made in the PNW, for the PNW.
Source: Skagit Farmer’s Supply 360.757.4055, 1276 S. Burlington Blvd. Burlington, WA 98233
Price: 20# bags, $13.99+tx & gas & time
It is also available in 50# bags from Skagit Farmers Supply.
0% Nitrogen (this helps to restrict excess top growth)
5% Phosphorous (needed for energy production in the plant)
25% Potassium (critical for sugar movement into the fruits)
15% Sulfur (for enzyme and protein production)
5.4% Magnesium (for photosynthesis and sugar production)
6.6% Calcium (critical for normal cell development)
0.14% Boron (for pollination and fruit development)
0.15% Zinc (needed for shoot and leaf growth)
The sources of nutrients for the Skagit Farmers Supply 0-5-25 Fruit tree fertilizer: Granulated Bone meal, sulfate of potash, K-Mag natural, Granubor and Ruff& Tuff 10% Zinc. All ingredients used are OMRI certified ORGANIC. The bagging equipment (used to package this product) is not organically certified.
The directions for fruit trees and all berries, grapes, shrubs, & roses is 1-3# per 100 square feet. To avoid getting too much Boron in one season, don’t apply more than 5# per 100 square feet per year. Peaches, young trees or trees on very poor soil will often benefit from adding some Nitrogen, such as feather meal or ammonium sulfate, in the spring.
This fertilizer, the PNW Fruit Tree Maintenance Formula, was developed by Bill Swanson (Skagit Farmers Supply) & Gary Moulton (WSU Mt Vernon). It has been unadvertised but available for approximately 4 to 5 years now. This is the first time that Seattle Tree Fruit Society has offered it to our members and Show attendees.