NOW IS THE TIMEBy Eunice Messner
After four years of testing, Agricultural Research has finally released bud wood to nurseries of four new trees; one peach and three plums. The peach is a cross of a nectarine and the Chinese OPeento' peach, colloquially known as the doughnut peach because of its flattened shape. Stark Bros. offered this parent under the name of OSaturn'.
The new hybrid of the two is called OGalaxy'. It is larger than Saturn, has white flesh and a light-cream skin with a red blush. It should ripen in late June. One can assume, like the Peento, it will grow in our area.
The three new plums, Black Splendor, John W,and Owen T each ripen in a different season. OBlack Splendor' has beet red flesh, ripens in early June and is both bigger and earlier than the well known OSanta Rosa' plum. OOwen
T'(named after fruit breeder team member, Owen Tanner) has blue black skin with some touches of purple and sweet light yellow flesh. It ripens in late June and early July. The OJohn W' (John Weinberger, ARS Hall of Fame fruit breeder) has purple skin dusted with lighten specks and luscious orange flesh. It starts to ripen in late August.
They sound like a perfect trio to be planted in one wide spaced hole if you are limited in space. We may even see these plums in supermarkets this year.
I have four trees that are heavy-laden with fruit. One, a black fruited seedling, in prior years had a good flavor. This season some of the fruit has that turpentine aftertaste. Anyone know what caused this change? Another black seed-ling could pass for a bing cherry flavor. The red fruited OVermillion' is very good but part of the crop is smaller than usual (probably lack of water). And, I'm looking forward to my best crop, ever, of the nectarine flavored variety, OLorver'.
YEAR OF THE MANGO
That's what I am calling 2004 in our area. We had perfect weather for fruit set, except for one rainy day, and everyone with a mango tree is anticipating a marvelous crop. We didn't have our usual overcast, damp mornings and the trees have responded with a wonderful fruit set. Of course, a lot will drop, I hope, or there will be too many. I am waiting to taste, for the first time, fruit from four seedling trees. One gets as anxious as a child waiting for Christmas. I probably can't hope for another winner like my first seedling, OCarnival'.
I gave Dr. Won Choi what I had left of my scion wood and, rather than throw out what he couldn't use, he stuck it in a pot. Eureka, some have started to grow! Anyone with a little land that has some coastal influence might consider this as a commercial or Farmer's Market crop. The only down side is that the fruit may be too large. I have noticed that my parent tree, which is fully exposed to the sun, fruits best on the south side of the tree; so this tree may
perform inland as well.
I'm hoping for OJune drop' on my persimmons, as far too many fruit have set. But, no fruit set on my OFuerte' avo-cado this year or on my OBlack Jack' fig. I haven't figured out what the fig tree is pouting abut, but I know it is not uncommon for the OFuerte' to be an alternate bearer. Even if you don't have compost, make sure you have a mulch of some sort covering your entire growing areas this summer. Scatter some humic acid granules before you put it down, or use a spray of it afterwards. You'll have the happiest microorganisms working to make your trees bountiful.