Saturday, July 29, 2017

One year of fruit harvest

Fruit harvest chart for mid May 2016 - early June 2017

I recorded the ripening dates for most fruit varieties collected in my yard (Davis, California) for about a year.  To my surprise, aprium Flavor Delight ripened on the same dates in 2016 and 2017.  We had a very late cold spring in 2017 that did not affect this aprium.  All peaches and nectarines fruited later in 2017 vs 2016.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Peaches: Australian Saucer and Babcock

Both varieties were ready around mid-July in 2017.  They are white soft sweet peaches.  The main difference is in the shape and flavor.  Australian Saucer is a flat peach with significantly more complex flavor than Babcock.  Babcock is a simple sweet juicy peach.  They both are very easily bruised and hardly have any shelf life.  They both are good peaches to grow for home gardeners.  I have my Australian Saucer peach grafted onto the Stark Saturn peach tree, and Babcock is grafted onto my Redhaven peach tree. The picture was taken on July 21, 2017




Saturday, July 22, 2017

Yellow nectarines: Tashkent Gold, Maria Gold, and Silk Road

Tashkent Gold  nectarine is a seedling of a yellow fruited variety from Central Asia. The seeds were brought to the US by Andy Mariani (Morgan Hill, CA) in 1991. The fruit is small-medium, yellow-golden with a bit of red striping on some fruits; it is freestone. It sets heavily in CA Central Valley (Davis) and it is a delicious nectarine with low acid content. These fruits are coming from 2 years old graft made onto a mature peach tree.


Tashkent Gold  fruits are in the above picture.

Maria Gold is a seedling of Tashkent Gold crossed with a Californian nectarine. The fruit is small-medium, all yellow-golden, with occasional red  blush by the fruit base. This variety has significantly richer flavor than Tashkent Gold, and higher acid content.  It sets heavily in CA Central Valley (Davis and Vacaville). My fruits are coming from 1 year old grafts made onto mature trees.


Maria Gold  fruits are in the above picture


Above is the only fruit of Maria Gold with red blush that I found so far.

Silk Road  is  also a seedling of Tashkent Gold crossed with a Californian nectarine.  The fruit is medium sized, golden-yellow with red striping/blush on a small percentage of fruits.  It is complex in flavor and similar to Maria Gold. The breeders of this variety state that the fruit is pure yellow, but I see some red blush on some fruits grown in Vacaville and Isleton. Sets heavily in CA Central Valley. These fruits are from 1 year old graft on a mature rootstock tree (Vacaville) and from an established Silk Road tree in Isleton.

Above are the selected Silk Road fruits with the most red blush.

Fruiting season

End of July in CA Central Valley.  I started picking fruit on July 18 in 2017.  Silk Road seemed to be the first to ripen, with Maria Gold next and then Tashkent Gold.  There are just a few days between the harvest start dates for these varieties, and they seem to be mostly overlapping.

Fruit appearance

Tashkent Gold fruit has a pointy top, while Maria Gold and Silk Road are round. Here in CA Central Valley I have some green shoulders on Maria Gold and Silk Road.  Tashkent Gold seems to ripen more evenly.  All three varieties are very similar looking.  Maria Gold fruit is a little smaller than the other two. In the image below: Tashkent Gold, Maria Gold, Silk Road.


Flavor

They all are excellent fruits.  My favorite out of these is Maria Gold, very closely followed by Silk Road. These two have more intense flavor with higher acid content than Tashkent Gold.  Maria Gold seems to have thinner skin than Silk Road. Tashkent Gold may be preferable by those who like fruit with less acid.  All these fruits have sweet kernels.
Correction on July 24, 2017: Tashkent Gold fruits developed excellent rich flavor with strong apricot notes.  All these three nectarines have apricoty flavor in them.  Today I feel that Tashkent Gold has the most of it.  I have a strong suspicion that Tashkent Gold requires high heat (>100F) during ripening season to develop the best flavor.  

Where to find them

If you are looking for fruit, they are available in season from Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill, CA. They ripen there in August.  Check with the store  to find out when they are available.

If you are looking for plant material, Tashkent Gold scions are usually available in January at most Northern California scion exchanges held by the California Rare Fruit Growers. Check out for the future dates here.

Maria Gold and Silk Road scions can be purchased from the Hybridizers Group of California Rare Fruit Growers at the Santa Clara Valley chapter scion exchange in January.

Maria Gold nectarine trees are available from the Rain Tree nursery.  

Oak leaf papaya, Vasconcellea quercifolia

In the fall of 2016 I adopted four tiny seedlings of oak leaf papaya. They were started by Brian, a fellow gardener from the Golden Gate ch...