Tag Archive | Apples

Longevity of Ripe Red Peppers


“Hi Mertie,

I was wondering if you could help me out with a pepper question that we had happen last fall. I like to let my peppers stay on the vine until they are red, but find that they rot in no time at all ones they are picked. For example, if on Saturday I picked 4 peppers that had just finished turning red, they were mush by Monday night. The green peppers I picked on Friday are still nice. What gives? We have had some wet weather, but the plants did not have any diseases and the fruit was not laying on the ground.

Thank you,
Barb in Powersville, MO”

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Hi Barb,

Thanks for your question regarding peppers.

Red Peppers

Your experience with your peppers last fall is a great example of the damage that can be done to a fruit by the presence of ethylene gas.

As a fruit ripens, the process is aided along by the naturally-occuring plant hormone ethylene.  This hormone is released by the plant to soften the fruit tissue, convert various compounds in the fruit from acids to sugars, and degrades the chlorophyll that makes the fruit green so that the other pigments that were always in the fruit (but had chlorophyll blocking them out) are able to be seen.  Once the process has completed, you are left with fruit tissue that is somewhat softer and much sweeter.  This is a FEAST for bacteria and mold, and, as you experienced, your pepper fruit does not last too long after that.

While this process occurs in all fruits, some are able to deal with it better.  For example, apples have a tough skin on them and acids that remain in the flesh of the fruit once it has ripened.  Squashes and pumpkins have a hard rind.  Citrus have a thick skin studded with oil pores that contain essential oils full of d-limonene, which is substantial anitmicrobial properties.

Unfortunately, fruits like peppers don’t have much to protect them.The high sugar and water content of the fruit sets it up for disaster.  Also, green peppers contain 1-2% more oxygen in their air cavity than red peppers.  Although that doesn’t seem like much, it is just enough to prevent the anaerobic respiration that is preferred by bacteria.

So, unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that red peppers usually go soft in the fridge after about 2 days, while green peppers go soft in a week or two in the fridge.  I find that if you want to have red peppers to use in the kitchen, it is best to freeze them or eat them raw in a very short amount of time.

Sorry I don’t have a better answer.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Apple Tree Pollination


“Two years ago we planted two apple trees of same variety. Haven’t had any apples to date. Heard we had to plant another tree of a different variety for pollination. Is this true, and how close do they have to be planted to the other two trees we have already? Can we still prune the existing apple trees?

Thanks,

Darlene”

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Hi Darlene,

Thanks for emailing in your questions regarding your apple trees.  My first question is: have your trees been blooming already? For being only two years old, they may not be flowering yet (and thus not producing). Most dwarfs begin flowering in 3-5 years after planting, and semi-dwarfs and standards take even longer.

It is recommended to have at least two different varieties of apple trees for successful pollination. Most apple varieties are self-unfruitful, which means their blossoms must be fertilized with the pollen of a separate variety in order to achieve good fruit set. A few varieties, are considered self-fruitful, meaning their blossoms can be fertilized with their own pollen, but even these apples produce more fruit if they are cross-pollinated by another variety. It’s important to choose varieties that have compatible pollen and bloom times. Any reputable company that is selling apple trees should have this information readily available for the varieties that they carry so you can chose which trees work best for you.

Apples also need pollinators—certain wasps, flies, and bees—to transfer pollen from one variety to the other. The apple trees must be planted within 100 feet of each other in order to help ensure that the pollinators visit both trees.

If you have only one apple tree in your yard or incompatible varieties, all is not lost. Crab apple pollen fertilizes apple blossoms. So if you have a crabapple in the vicinity that blooms concurrently with your apple tree, you’re in business. Grafting a branch of a compatible variety onto your existing tree is another option, though I recommend you hire an arborist to perform this job. You can also use an old, very effective orchardist trick: put a bouquet of crab apple branches in bloom in a 5-gallon bucket of water and place it inside the canopy of the tree. Then bees can visit the crab apple blossoms and transfer the pollen to the apple blossoms. In other words, a little can go a long way.

Pruning is SO important and it something that you should be doing regularly at the proper times of the year.  Pruning young trees encourages a strong, solid network of branches that will be the future of your tree. Pruning on mature trees maintains the shape of the tree and encourages fruit production.

The best time to prune apple trees is in late winter or very early spring when the trees are dormant and before any new growth starts.  The only growth you ever want to prune or remove during the summer months, when the tree is actively growing, is a sucker.

I hope this information helps you out. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

 

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.