Canning of fruits in these foothills.

By Rightwingback on Sat, Dec 21, 2013 - 10:52pm

Hello and welcome,

My name is Mark, and I want to share how easy it is here in Albuquerque to grow your own stone fruits, and can them for future use. Because we have plenty of chill time during these winter months, the climate is favorable for the peaches, nectarines, and cherries. Often we have seen an early thaw followed by weeks of cold winds ruin the crop, only to find the trees load up the next year. Apricots are more difficult unless you have an advantage-a warm walled backyard micro-climate, because they flower so early. In the valley there are some serious sellers of peaches which I have purchased at the small grocer in Cedar Crest in the past.

The other challenge we face is the alkaline ph in our granitized, calcareous soil. I have found a couple of remedies to share. The first is the use of fifty gallon drums, buried in the rocky soil. If you will chop holes in the bottom of the drum, large enough for the tap root to exit, then your soil inside can be amended more effectively as far as acid like peat, or sulfur pellets go. Secondly, after looking for years for a way to grow blueberries, I found a man on the web from Loveland Colorado who uses bales of peat with the plastic left on. I have successfully grown them by just planting directly into the peat, via coffee-can sized holes. The plastic keeps alkali from seeping in, and maintains a moist soil which does not naturally occur here. I have added acid just as the author of the study added vinegar, though mine has been the pellets or Aluminum Sulfate crystals. The soil near Sandia is high ph: 8+ usually. An inexpensive ph meter will help you keep it close to 5 or 4.5.

These bales must be buried in a hole or trench to keep their roots warm in winter, and the canes must be covered or wrapped in burlap to protect the buds till springtime. It is quite surprising that Blueberry plants are sold here, considering they will not survive the soil otherwise.

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