Here we are in the third or fourth year of record low rain, and my yard is blooming like crazy. Our peach and apple trees are loaded.
I hate to do it, but I’ve had to thin the fruit, that’s always hard, I have no confidence. I probably didn’t get rid of enough, the branches will need to be propped up with bamboo sticks.
Oh well, my champagne problems, nya-nya-nya!
This year I remembered to get the bug traps set up early, as soon as the fruit started to appear on the trees.
I make my “bait” with a quarter cup each apple cider vinegar and molasses, in five cups of water. This smells heavenly, sure to attract all the wing-ed creatures within a hundred miles. The lethal ingredient – well, besides death by drowning in the water and vinegar and molasses – add a teaspoon of ammonia, that’ll get ’em!
For the trap we use mostly Snapple bottles, but you can use whatever quart size plastic bottle you like. Cut about a two inch hole just below the top of the bottle, and then wrap some wire or twine around the bottle top. Pour in your bait and hang it in the tree. As you can see, it works!
First couple of weeks we got mostly fruit flies, lots and lots of them. I had to empty the traps when the bait became almost solid with dead fruit flies. When they slowed down, along came the coddling moths, which ruin a whole apple, just rot the entire inside. Die, die, die, you little fruit stealers!
Whenever I change them out, most of them are full of carcasses. For every bug I imagine I saved a few apples or peaches. Last year we got so much fruit, I juiced them and had pints in the freezer for Winter. I remember spending an entire week last July slicing and pitting peaches to put them in freezer bags, and boy did that pay. I had peach smoothies right into the new year. The apples, mostly Fuji’s, stored well in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. And the apple juice was incredible, my family drank it up. We never buy apple juice, it’s just not the same.
The orchard doesn’t use a lot of water, and I’m guessing we recapture most of it by eating/drinking the fruit. It’s so much better than store bought, or even stuff we’ve got at the Farmer’s Market – we eat more, that’s the bottom line.
Here’s to another week spent slicing and pitting peaches, and plenty of hot apple cider for next January!