pears - a bumper crop this year
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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