pears – a bumper crop this year

My Harvests

I’m reviewing each of my crops this year. Here’s the story on my my pears.

I have two espaliered trees, a Bartlett and an Kieffer at my community garden plot, about 5-7 years old now.

April 13, I sprayed with 2% horticultural oil at the swollen bud stage. I meant to spray again between green cluster and white bud, but forgot. (Spraying is done to control psylla, mites and scale.) I didn’t see the trees in bloom this year, but was told they were spectacular.

I fertilized early in the year with fruit tree spikes, 3 per tree, since the leaves looked a bit yellow. They greened up nicely.

Fruit set in abundance on both trees. Last year I remember I counted 75 pears. This year I did not even try to count. I didn’t thin or cover the fruit. The leaves developed spots mid-season. Scab? As they ripened, pears became mottled with something on the surface. Some Kieffer’s were misshaped with dimples or larger divots that were stony at the base. I don’t know the cause either of these.

2015-08-08 pears IMG_2634
2015-08-25 pears IMG_2807 (2) 2015-08-25 pears IMG_2807

August 25, I harvested about 30 lbs of fruit – all the Bartlett and half of the Kieffer’s. August 31, I harvested the rest, about 20 lbs. 

2015-08-25 pears IMG_2810 2015-08-31 harvest pears IMG_2885

I put all fruit in the refrigerator. It’s a small one with poor temp
control. I tried to set it for 32, but ended up freezing about 30-40% of
the fruit. The fruit that didn’t freeze all ripened up really nicely. I left Bartlett’s in fridge about 2 weeks, took about 3-4 days to ripen. Kieffer’s were in fridge either 2 or 3 weeks and took about a week to ripen. They were sweeter with longer cold treatment.

2015-10-03 pears IMG_4149

Since I still have last years canned pears left over, I made different other items this year.
– Canned pear sauce (just like apple sauce, but pears – delicious)
– Frozen pears, I tried both dry and syrup methods (haven’t tried any yet)
– Dried pears, both plain and syrup methods (we love both of these!)

2015-10-05 pears IMG_4272 2015-10-06 frozen pears IMG_4270

The Bartlett has several areas where branches don’t look good and have lost leaves early this fall.

For next year,
– Apply both recommended applications of horticultural oil on the trees in spring
– If the trees set another big harvest, I’ll thin to one pear per cluster, 6 inches between fruits about 30-45 days after full bloom when fruits are 1/2 to 1 inch diameter
– Get a new fridge with better temperature control
– Make dried pears again, try using a very light syrup

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