That Damn Dog!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bandi the "Ninja Turtle"
...and now for the next chapter in the riveting Sacramento Vegetable Garden miniseries that is "That Damn Dog!"

Starring: That Damn Dog!

Acclimating said dog with garden is proving to be a challenge -- as many gardeners suggested it would. Bandi the Bandana Girl is -- after all -- just a six or seven month old mutt pup of an adorable dog (who can resist that face?) -- and puppies are just full of non-stop energy.

Having kids around the house helps drain some of that pent-up energy -- but they're not around 24-7 -- so That Damn Dog has been known to put her paws to good use around the yard.

The damage hasn't been all that extensive to be honest -- although she did particulary enjoy that Incrediball Hydrangea that had been growing extremely well in a tucked away corner against the home near the berry plantings. Flowers -- stems -- even the roots -- made for a tasty meal. All Bill and Venus Bird discovered was a gaping hole.

That Damn Dog...

Still -- she hasn't been quite the disaster that some had predicted either. Despite an overwhelming selection of raised beds filled with loose soil -- she has resisted the urge so far to "dig, dig, dig." My fear that this damn dog would develop a love for all things ripened tomatoes hasn't come to fruition -- and I forgave her for picking that underdeveloped cantaloupe. I must admit -- it looked like one of her play toy softballs.

O'Henry Peach
But where Bill & Venus Bird are drawing the absolute line is right here to your left -- our O'Henry Peach tree -- which is positively loaded with a large crop of what I hope will be very tasty peaches. This counts as the third year for this tree -- and Venus and I culled it quite a bit during the spring and early summer to keep the crop small and manageable.

Not only does culling the fruit cut down on the stress placed on the tree itself -- it also seems to aid in actual tree growth. Venus and I trimmed said tree for the first time last winter -- and sure enough -- the O'Henry responded with three new shoots for every trim cut that we made.

June Pride Peach
It's hard to tell just how extensive the new growth is in these photos -- however -- because Venus and I have already netted the tree against marauding bird and possible raids by that damn dog. The birds really went to town on the June Pride Peach tree earlier this year and we were not prepared for the onslaught. In past years -- birds have helped themselves to about 10% of the crop -- which is a manageable number for us.

This year however? The birds showed up in greater numbers and started feasting away on what I must admit was a rather poor showing from the June Pride peach this year. The June Pride normally produces baseball sized fruit that ripens during the last week of June and the first week of July. But this year? Not only was the harvest late -- most of the peaches were plum sized.

O'Henry Peaches Protected by Netting
While I was willing to wait for tree ripened fruit -- our fine feather friends were not. I simply wasn't prepared for the type of damage they would eventually inflict. I probably lost anywhere from 50%-60% of the crop to birds that settled in for the feast -- and I was bound and determined to not let the same thing happen with the O'Henry crop.

Thus -- the addition of the bird netting -- which also keeps a curious dog at bay. She hasn't made the connection yet that the tree holds a similar bounty to the old June Pride peach pits that I have allowed her to chew on from time to time (if the pits keep her interest away from the melon crop located nearby -- I consider this a *win*).

The O'Henry Peach
Although most of this year's fruit harvests have been somewhat disappointing -- which also involves losing trees to blight and freeze -- our fortunes appear to have turned with the impending O'Henry Peach harvest. The tree is finally large enough to support a somewhat moderate harvest (peach pie/cobbler anyone?) -- and the peaches are finally growing into true "O'Henry size."

Yeah. They're the size of beach balls. Bill Bird likes big peaches.


Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Don't ya just love dog destruction!
Our Golden Lab Retriever always reeks havoc! I had to put a fence around our garden. Good luck! The Peaches look Fabulous! Its been a wonky year for fruit trees and veggies!

Greg Damitz said...

My new dog, Max, has developed a taste for bell peppers. I fear they are doomed. 90 pounds of lab with the gracefulness of a bull doesn't spell success for the peppers. Most of the time he picks one to eat but he has ripped 2 full branches off. I'll have to plant next years garden with Max in mind.


Those peaches look great. This is my 2nd year with O'Henrys and each year the little tree produces.

Angelo said...

Hey Bill Bird, it's Angelo, who commented on your peach blog last year. Here's an update to my O'henry peach season. peach tree actually did survive the heavy rain here in Oregon...Not only that, but it also grew like crazy! It produced the first blossoms that I've ever had. Unfortunately, our heavy rain discouraged the bees from pollinating the peaches. But, I hand pollinated them with a Q-tip. Sadly, all of the little peaches died except for one lone survivor. And that one peach is still on the tree right now. I'm waiting for it to ripen so that I can experience the taste of an O'henry peach! Thank you so much for your blog. I decided not to use any fungicides for my tree. I'm sticking to 100% organic. But anyways, thanks for the blog! It gives me great confidence as a first-time peach grower. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Watch those peach pits and your dog: I think I remember reading that fruit pits are toxic for dogs.

Angelo said...

Hi!Sooo...My O'henry peach tree finally ripened its lone peach in September. I tasted it..and to be honest with you I'm disappointed. It didn't taste good at all. It was so f*ckin sour!! I think I picked it too early despite the fact that it was soft...or maybe the tree wasn't ready to produce sugary peaches cuz this is the 2nd year in the ground for my tree. All of the other peaches died in the spring due to Oregon's climate. Hopefully 2011's harvest will be better? My tree is like 5 times bigger from the first time that I planted it. It's new plant baby...It's the only plant in my house that gets the absolute best in care from me. Haha. I love peaches. And sadly, the only peaches that taste decent were the ones that I got from Costco that were shipped from California. Recently in October they switched to peaches from Washington and those suck! So sour and nasty even when ripe! The best peaches in my opinion were the ones that I got at Pier 39 in San Francisco when I visited California. Best peaches so juicy..and succulent...and big! Oh man...I miss having peaches now! Thanks for posting btw! LOL... =)

Bill Bird said...


My friend -- sorry for the late reply. It's been a busy couple of months. Thank goodness for the four-day holiday. I get to catch up on a few things. First of all -- sorry to hear about your O'Henry misadventures. If I had to do this all over again -- I probably would have culled the tree during the first couple of years to focus on root development and actual tree growth. I failed to do so -- and while I still have productive and wonderful tree -- it's not quite the size I would like it to be. I will be taking steps through the winter and spring months -- however -- to correct that problem. Hopefully -- it will work. Perhaps I will cull it a bit more next spring. I cull just enough so the branches are not stressed to the point where they snap in two. Perhaps I'd better take a few more steps. I wish I knew what the problem was on your end. My mother -- who grew up in Eugene -- used to pine for her Oregon climate while I was growing up in the Central San Joaquin Valley. She told me stories about the incredible berry harvests she would take part in - because berries grew wild everywhere. She also had a love for all things apples -- which also grow well in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps peaches just don't grow well in your climate? I'm not enough of an expert to make that judgement though. I would contact the Master Gardener program in your area -- if you have such a thing -- to get advice on how to proceed. Seems to be -- your peach tree should be producing more than it is.

Angelo said...

Yeah, I noticed by now that peaches are just not good for growing in Oregon. The weather here just doesn't work for it. My peach tree nearly died from all of the rain that caused a huge bout of leaf curl this year. I have no peach in sight to harvest. None of them survived and my tree itself looks dormant when it should be leafy. year I will spray it with lime sulfur spray instead of being 100 percent organic. It's too hard to be completely organic here. On the bright side, I know that the O'Henry is a very vigorous tree so it shouldn't be too long before it regains strength and grows some new branches.