The Art of Farming blog series is meant to take you underground here in Ag-Land. Regular readers of the series will, we hope, be able to confidently join in the farmer-talk the next time they come face to face with their favorite growers, or at least make their friends wonder how they know so much about what it takes to grow food.
To follow up with our Seasonal Eating series post on National Peach Month, today I bring you an August update from the peach orchard.
In Pursuit of Next Year’s Peaches
Rest for the fruit farmer is still a ways away, even as stone fruit season comes to a close. With this year’s crop barely off the branches and filling your countertops (not fruit bowls!), these late summer weeks are filled with farmers’ preparations for next year’s crop of fruit–which right now, as you’ll see in the video below, is just a bunch of little buds trying to make up their minds about whether they’ll grow up to be peaches or shoots in a process called fruit bud differentiation. I’ll let Uncle Vern tell it like it is:
Since farmers don’t farm peach shoots or branches, August is about encouraging as many buds as possible to choose a pathway to a future as a piece of fruit. So farmers are setting about to create more opportunities for sunlight to saturate the tree—that means cutting out sucker limbs, or rehabbing them. Again in the words of your farmer:
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