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The Mystery Of The Peach Pits: SOLVED (and other garden updates)

And now, dear reader, I will reveal to you how I solved The Mystery Of The Peach Pits.

Oh, I didn’t tell you we were experiencing such a mystery? Okay. Let me back up a little and tell you that like last year, most (and I mean the vast majority) of the peaches didn’t grow to full size or ripen by the time they were supposed to, in mid-June. I aim to rectify that by severely pruning the trees this fall, and next spring doing better with watering, along with making sure we do some fertilization.

That said, every once in a while one of these unripe peaches drops to the ground. Not sweet, as far as I know.

But then, a couple of weeks ago I discovered a cleaned-off peach pit in front of our house (that’s where the peach trees are). A few days later, another one a couple of yards away. Then another.

A rat, I assumed, because we have plenty of wild rats around here. Or maybe a possum? They sure liked stealing my strawberries a couple of months ago.

Or… a raccoon! One night not long after noticing the first clean peach pit on the ground, I caught one those masked scoundrels trying to climb the tree right in front of the window. Mystery solved, right?

Until late the other afternoon. Here is what we spied out the window by the kitchen:

Rabbits! Who knew? Well, they are certainly welcome to whatever falls on the ground. At least I know they’ll never climb a tree to steal fruit from us!

Speaking of peach pits…

The day after unraveling that mystery, I found these sitting on top of the glass container of almonds on the pantry shelf:

Now, what do those look like? Peach pits, you say? Then we have great minds, because we are thinking alike! When I saw them sitting there, I asked to no one in particular, “What are these peach pits doing here on top of the almonds?”

To which No One In Particular replied, “Those aren’t peach pits, those are almonds. They were on the ground.” (This “No One” should know, because it is he who waters our almond trees.)

I frowned. “Well, then they can’t be any good, can they? They’re not supposed to be harvested until fall.”

“I don’t know,” No One said. “The other ones are shriveling up.”

Oh.

So I got the nutcracker and tried to open one of our very own almonds (first time, whoo-hoo!). No dice. Either they need to dry out thoroughly, or they’re too immature.

Time will tell. I have them sitting on a pantry shelf now, waiting.

Other garden news

Check out my indoor Kratky spinach (roots of one of the plants in bottom photo):

They’re not very thirsty plants, because I haven’t had to replenish the water yet.

Here are four recently-germinated babies:

Putting the seeds in wet paper towels inside baggies, and then leaving them in a cooler for a couple of weeks worked! I got three times the germination rate from the cooled seeds (four out of twelve) than I did from the first batch, which I didn’t cool (four out of twenty-four).

I need to buy a bunch more spinach seeds, because apparently they have a low germination rate and I need to soak four times as many seeds as plants I want if I’m going to get a significant harvest.

Speaking of Kratky, check out my Kratky tomato, now outside in a five gallon bucket:

This plant is about a month old, from the day its first leaves had popped up out of the coconut fiber medium. When I first put it outside, I thought the Kratky method was failing me because the first leaves and then the first “true” leaf turned yellow, then brown. The first leaves shriveled up and I thought the other leaves were going to do the same. I thought the roots were drowning!

I fretted and messed with the water level in the bucket several times. Finally, after the healthy leaves kept on looking healthy, I left it where it was. Then it occurred to me: DUH! I didn’t harden off the plant. At all. It went from a comfortable 77-degree house to brutal 100+-degree outside air. The sudden change stressed it; it had nothing to do with the roots being in water.

WHEW!

Now it has a three little white roots coming out of the net pot, feeding the plant through the nutrient solution. FYI, the bucket is covered with a special hydroponics plastic called Panda film, an UV resistant plastic that is black on one side (to keep algae from growing in a container) and white on the other (to reflect light/heat).

Can you guess why they call it “Panda” film?

Speaking of tomatoes, here are a few shots of the volunteer:

It’s hard to see in those photos, but there are around a couple dozen or so little green tomatoes growing, with plenty more to come. I put chicken wire around it so that the critters couldn’t eat my harvest!

One more little, but interesting, tidbit. See this?

Those are blackberry flowers and baby blackberries.

Excuse me? At the end of July? Maybe blackberries like the high humidity? Who knows? I don’t think they’re supposed to be everbearing, and this is the first year I’ve had berries so late.

There you go: a mystery solved and good news on the Kratky method (although, please don’t ask me how the lettuce is doing…).

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