After learning a little more about current farming practices, I became a big fan of organic produce. I would eat 100% organic if it weren't that doing so can put a real dent in my husband's wallet. So, when growing fruits and vegetables in the back yard, it seemed only logical that I would go the organic route limiting the types of pesticides and fertilizers employed when growing produce. Wikipedia provides a good overview of organic farming. Given that I grow produce as a hobby and can afford to lose an entire crop, the benefits outweigh the challenges. What challenges am I talking about? A good example is our plums...
Last spring, we planted a plum tree in the backyard and this spring was the first year that it yielded fruit. Once the flowers transitioned to young fruit, we were excited to find that the tree had close to 80 small plums. However, the journey from baby fruit to juicy snack is a long one and a number of things can go wrong along the way. This being our first year with plums, I wasn't sure what might threaten our crop. Fast forward a few weeks and I have my answer, plum sawflies!
As the tree began dropping plums, I decided to pick those that had somewhat ripened.
When cutting into the fruit, I discovered a little white larvae near the pit. Eek!! I love nature but larvae in my plums? No thank you! And of course, just about every plum had one. Thankfully, the larvae were very small and the damage to the inner part of the fruit was minimal.
So, what do you do when you have a bowl of fruit that you don't want to eat? You make muffins (after removing the unwelcome visitor)! While we didn't get to enjoy our plums fresh off the tree, at least we got to eat them. That said, for next year's crop, I am hoping to prevent the plum sawflies from making their way into the plums in the first place. To date, the only organic method I have come across, on the web, to prevent plum sawflies, which are different from plum moths, is a gardening blog called Don's Garden. Don states that organic methods include turning the soil around the base of the tree with a trowel or hoe in late winter and early spring which exposes the over-wintering pupae for birds to eat. Let's hope this approach works. While I was able to make the best of an unappetizing situation, it's not something I'm hoping to repeat next year!