I was out on Monday afternoon again spraying the Peaches and Nectarines. The rain over the past ten days meant that the spray I applied then is now washed off the trees leaving the emerging blossom unprotected.
The material that I am applying is a copper fungicide. It is called Nordox and is approved for organic farmers. Those of you who know wine growing will know it as Bordeaux mixture. This sprayer is a backpack air blast model which I borrowed form another organic farmer, Bill Creps. With all the rain the orchard floor is too soft for the tractor to pass without damaging the soil. So this sprayer is the best tool for the job. To be able to spray even organic materials I had to take a test at the Agricultural Commissioners office. It was a multiple choice test so with a little knowledge it is not hard to get a good score. The paper suit protects my clothes and is made from the same material as Fedex packages. Gloves protect the hands and most importantly the mask. Small air droplets containing the most benign chemicals are not good for the lungs.
If it continues to rain I will have to spray again in a week. Luckily for me the copper levels in the orchard are not high. I am also applying only about one pound of material per acre instead of the allowed five… Nigel