Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Have Condoms on my Apples

I've never done this before, but the books all say to thin your apples when they are 1/2"-3/4" in size. Most of mine had reached that size. Each spur had set about 3-5 apples and there are a lot of spurs on that tree. Some just a few inches away from another. The tree was just covered in little tiny apples. I picked the largest apple from each bunch and kept that one. Then trimmed off any that were closer than 6" apart. The books say 6"-8" apart. I tried for that.

Then I put on protection for the apple. I swear they look like condoms hanging off my tree though they are really footies. Not the nicest look, but I suppose they would be a conversation piece at a bbq. The little nylon footies expand well and breath. They also keep those nasty insects out. I used a twist tie to keep them on. I'm not going to spray poison on my apples if I can help it. I've also read that ziploc baggies work well if you cut the corners off of them. I don't like the look of them, but I did cover three of the apples with ziplocks. I'll see which makes the better fruit, but it would take a lot of difference for me to resort to the ziplocks on all those apples. Now it is a waiting game. Will I get good insect free apples this year? I've got my fingers crossed.

The apple that got protection is the Ginger Gold. The other apple tree in its third year is the Honeycrisp, but it has barely grown. It really struggles compared to the other. It had set two bunches of apples. I just took them off the tree. The tree really needs to get bigger. It is still only about three feet high. Then I went on to my three year old peach trees. One peach tree had set peaches already. I thinned the fruit, but the fruit is still a bit small to bag. I'll wait a few days. Like the Ginger Gold apple, the tree is covered in peaches. I had to take a lot of little peaches off. The other peach tree is still blooming. It was very late this year. It is right by the driveway and after the 2' snow storm we shoveled all the snow on around it. So the ground defrosted much later even though they are only a few yard apart. That one will need a lot more time before they get bagged.

I did get a couple of other chores done today. I got my Tigers Eye beans planted. I planted a whole 4'x8' bed up with them. I planted in rows 6" apart. But one side had the beans 6" apart in the row, and one had them 4" apart in the row. I want to see if there is a difference in production with them closer together. If not it uses a heck of a lot less seed which otherwise I could be eating.

The last chore was to cut back the French thyme and dehydrate it. I got a cup of dried thyme. Tomorrow I ought to do the English thyme.


  1. OMG, I don't know what to say! I might try that, though, except my tree is a lot taller than yours and visible to all neighbors. I wonder what comments I'll get from them.

  2. Oh boy! The nylon footies DO look like condoms. LOL! The footies look strange, but I bet they work. I did experiment with the ziplock bag method once and it wasn't a success. It doesn't breath even with the corner cut off. I ended up with a mouldy and rotten apple.

  3. Nice... LOL. I wish my apple trees looked so good.

  4. Marian (LondonUK)May 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Ha! Ha! the condom reference made me laugh out loud (please note the absence of lol!). Great idea! I wish I was as able as you to be on top off and preserve garden goodies as you are. Having said that I made my first jam last week, exciting and tasting good.

    Thanks for your ideas etc.

    Marian (LondonUK)

  5. I've seen folks use paper bags to protect their apples. Good luck with them!

  6. LOL You are so funny! Where did you get the idea to use the footies. I like that idea better than plastic baggies. I will be watching your results as have not gotten up the nerve yet for apple trees! Do you use the footies on your peaches too? My peach tree has peach tree leaf wilt! Boo hoo. Too late this year they said but next March I will use an organic spray on it. Fertilized it tonight as they said to keep it fertilized and watered. Hoping for good apples for you! Nancy

    1. I've been reading up on what people use to bag their fruit. There seems to be a lot of different options. But I liked the footies because they are cheap, they breath, they will hold up and they don't look as weird as the other options. I've got three baggies on my apple tree and baggies look just terrible. The other relatively nice looking option was cotton bags, but I would have to use 6"x8" bags for apples and the cost was a lot higher and white cotton would have to be dyed to look decent. Though I could have dyed them green to blend in more. I am going to bag some of my peaches. I figure maybe half and half to see how it works. Lots of people bag apples and people don't have much of a problem, but peaches have more issues bagged.

  7. My daughter's teacher lives next to an organic apple orchard and he said the guy sprays the apples with some sort of fish emulsion solution in the spring and it keep the pests from bothering his apples. He has like 100 apple trees so I'm guess the spray is easier. Wish I knew what it was.

  8. lol well that is a post title you just have to click too funny. Interesting to see which does better!

  9. That certainly caught my attention! So funny. Glad your apples are very well protected!

  10. My experience bagging fruit (with ziplock bags) was that the squirrels would grab the bag and pull it and the small branch/fruiting spur right off the tree. Then, on the ground, they could chew through the bag at their leisure. The result was a tree with broken branches, branches hanging half broken, branches ripped off. Small branches of course, but squirrels are strong and I think they can break a 1/4" branch if they have to.

    This year I'm going to try cotton drawstring bags and see if tying the drawstring to a main branch might prevent this problem, but that may not always be possible.

    One advantage of cotton bags is that(from a distance) an animal can't see the fruit inside, although I'm sure once or if they figure it out they can get close enough to smell the fruit.