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Ask Jackie headline

Click here to ask Jackie a question!
Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

Jackie Clay

Q and A: sugar in canning and spraying the orchard

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Sugar in canning

Is there a reason why so much sugar is in most canning or baking recipes? As an old guy with diabetes I’ve learned that most fruit has natural sugar that it doesn’t seem necessary to add more sugar. And I sure do like those rhubarb/strawberry and rhubarb/blue berry pies but not all the sugar. Is all that sugar really needed?

Wes Thayer
Junction City, Oregon

When canning fruit, you don’t need sugar; It’s just a taste thing. But with baking, as in your rhubarb pies, you do need some sort of sweetener, either stevia, Splenda, or sugar or you’ll pucker for sure. — Jackie

Spraying the orchard

Do you spray anything in your orchard to combat disease and insect damage – specifically curculio and borer damage? I know your chickens patrol beneath the trees, but do you use any other means? We are using neem oil and Surround but are still having trouble with the soft fruits and apples.

Sheila Dersham
Jamestown, Tennessee

We don’ t spray our orchard. Luckily, living so far north, and in such a remote location, we haven’t run across any fruit pests. Yet. There are other natural ways to protect your fruit such as using apple maggot traps with Tanglefoot or painting the lower trunk of your trees with indoor latex paint (helps repel borers and lets you see as soon as you get them so you can kill them). When you use Surround, you usually have to do repeat sprayings just after blossom drop all the way till picking time after heavy rains for it to be effective. — Jackie

One Response to “Q and A: sugar in canning and spraying the orchard”

  1. zelda Says:

    Sheila, in addition to the things Jackie suggested, I can tell you that I’ve had great control spraying with Spinosad (an organic control), starting before the blossoms open and about every 2 weeks until the fruit is picked. Anythiing that feeds on leaves, shoots or buds sprayed with it will die pretty quickly. I also use fruit socks, or apple maggot protectors, although they are a new level in tediousness to put on. I use them on peaches, apricots, plums and cherries too. The apple maggot traps Jackie mentioned are not at all expensive and they’ve worked for me as have yellow sticky strips. Red plastic or paper balls coated with Tanglefoot or Vaseline also work, as does Tanglefoot on tree trunks. Where I live, neem oil has not lived up to the hopes we all had for it, and I don’t use it much any more except on aphids. Surround is another control that hasn’t been all that effective here, for the reasons Jackie mentioned. You will probably get the best protection using a variety of control methods – I do that because there isn’t any one thing that has protected my crops. Be sure to keep leaves, grass and other plant debris away from the bottom of the trunk and to prune, feed and water your trees to keep them as healthy as possible.

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