Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Black Monukka Grapes & More Peaches

beautiful bunch of Black Monukka grapes growing on my vine at Springville Lavender Gardens
The Black Monukka Grapes are now ripe and boy are they good, so sweet, and seedless too. This year they aren't quite as big as last year. I was reading that if it is a dry winter, the grapes need to be irrigated even before they put on leaves and I think I was negligent with this, so I will have to remember that from now on. In fact, probably all plants need water in the winter if it doesn't rain. Sometimes when plants have dropped their leaves it's easy to forget they need water since their leaves don't show any signs of water stress.

By the way this grape photo is one of my very favorite photographs I have taken in my gardens. I just love the wonderful dusky color of the grapes, almost like a water color painting. All my photographs are copyrighted. If you wish to use any of my photos, please contact me through Springville Lavender Gardens.

Last year a gentleman to my gardens looked at the Black Monukka Grapes and said, "They are kind of small, aren't they?" I suggested he taste one. Then he said, "Those are unbelievably delicious, nothing like the ones in the grocery store!" We are so conditioned by the produce in the grocery store, big isn't always better when it comes to taste. Several visitors have told me about commercial growers girdling the trunk of the grape to get the grapes to grow bigger and wondered if I was going to do this. No, why should I? I have some wonderful grapes and they taste good, so why chance messing up a good thing.

huge Fay Elberta peach growing on my tree at Springville Lavender Gardens

More peaches are ripe too - Fay Elberta. Now these are really big this year - almost five inches long. This peach is a yellow freestone with fuzzy skin with a little red blush. The skin is thicker than the Red Haven peach skin. Last year I was talking to a commercial stone fruit farmer and he told me when the peaches get an inch in size to deep water them at least two times a week until you pick the fruit. This definitely has done the trick. When I got to thinking about it, it seems logical that all that fruit would need much more water than just a tree with leaves.

You might notice in the upper right hand corner of the peach photo, a metal hook attached to a stake. I prop my peach tree branches and other fruit branches when they get heavily laden with fruit. This prevents the branches from snapping off. If your tree has a lot of fruit, the branches can only support so much weight before they snap off. I'm speaking from experience here. This is really important and is especially true with peaches. Sometimes younger tree branches aren't strong enough yet or haven't obtained enough girth to support the amount of fruit they produce either. The stakes are about 8 feet in length and the metal hangers or hooks are movable up and down the stake depending upon the height of the branch you are trying to prop up. I got my stakes and hooks at the local Fruit Growers supply nearby.