NOW IS THE TIME
by Eunice Messner

ORGANIC WEED KILLER
Your weeds are probably too large now to spray with full strength 3% distilled vinegar, but if you can find the 10% vinegar that¹s sold for home canning purposes, then here is a recipe:

1 qt. 10% vinegar;
1 oz Orange TKO;
1 tsp. liquid soap.
(TKO is a solution derived from citrus. It is available at your local nursery.)
You spray this directly onto the weeds, preferably on a sunny day. Shield the spray from any desirable plants. A solution of 2 oz. of TKO to 1 gal. of water may also be used to spray on edible plants as a deterrent to 4 legged critters.

BENCH GRAFTING I never really comprehended this terminology until I read a recent article in the North American Fruit Explorers magazine. Bench grafting involves grafting onto a bareroot rootstock. Mostly it is used when quantities are purchased to establish an orchard and to save money. Or, perhaps if for some reason, it would be more convenient to graft a tree now and plant it later after the scion shows some growth.

If you aren't quite ready to graft, place the rootstock in moist wood chips or wrap in damp newspaper and insert in a plastic bag and tie securely. Keep in a cool, moist place. When you are ready, put your rootstocks into a pail of water. Get out your scion wood, sharpened knives, labels and potting soil (Wood chips could be used for a short period of time).When you have finished grafting and potting the trees, you may keep them in a cool area for 10 to 14 days while the wounds callus over. Or, they may be planted, moved into a greenhouse, or any protected area, and planted when convenient.

SCIONWOOD I hope to bring scion wood of ŒNettie' white sapote to the scion wood exchange. It just finished fruiting but will have another crop about July. This is the one that is pear shaped and has superior flavor. I will also graft some seedlings I have on hand. Unfortunately, it is another big tree, but perhaps if you have seed from a small growing variety it might induce dwarfing.

GILLOGLY AVOCADO Do you recall reading about this "outstanding" avocado? Well, as the saying goes, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't." Tom and Terry Waldron succumbed to buying it and were not happy with its performance. Now if the Field Station would only release the latest proven super avocado we learned about from Julie, then we would have another winner.

TEST RESULTS The U.C. Research Center at Irvine has released their findings on "Low-chill Peach Cultivars in South Coastal California". ŒAugust Pride', ŒFlorida Prince', and ŒTropic Snow' produced the greatest number of fruit per tree but the trees were also larger in size. They recommended these smaller growing trees for a home garden: ŒRed Baron', ŒSaturn', ŒBonita,' ŒDouble Jewel' and ŒEva's Pride'. However, these trees were more subject to mildew. I am more inland than the Field Station and my experience was: Pollination of ŒRed Baron' was inhibited because of crowding in the double blossoms; the smaller fruit of ŒSaturn¹ was plentiful but I didn't find it nearly as flavorful as ŒAugust Pride'; I tried ŒBonita' twice but it failed miserably; ŒEva's Pride¹ was small and unflavorable, but perhaps I just got a bad tree; I haven't tried ŒDouble Jewel' but Julie Frink likes it. The Field Station will be doing another testing of new peach cultivars as well as pluots.
(ed. note: This is the project that generated the motion we¹ll be seeking to
approve at the January meeting.)

POLLUTED PAPAYA SEEDS In September, activists in Hawaii tested 20,000 papaya seeds and found genetic contamination in most of the samples, including seeds from organic farms. Angry farmers dumped 20 trash bins of these contaminated papayas at the University of Hawaii-Hilo in protest. Despite public opposition and rejection by overseas markets, virus-spliced GE papayas have been planted on papaya plantations across Hawaii. Consumers and farmers from across the islands are calling for the creation of a GE-Free zone.