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Re: [nafex] Peach flavor

    Sugar content is a direct measure the plant's ability to make energy.
If a plant is malnourished, it's brix will be low throughout it's life.  If
the weather is too wet or two dry, the plant's ability to make sugar will be
temporarily reduced.  The brix of the leaves can be used to measure stress
levels.  When the brix drops to a certain level (different for each crop)
either bugs (in dry weather) or disease (in wet weather) are about to
attack.  Brix meters are sold for farmers to use to monitor crop health.  A
farmer may spray sugar, kelp, and calcium in a drought to bring up the brix,
or use a fungicide for passive protection in wet weather.  (Of course, brix
meters have a more conventional use to test fruit quality.  Sounds like your
peaches would have flunked.)
    Supposedly trace minerals have a lot to do with flavor.  Since
organically grown foods tend to be higher in minerals, this may account for
some of the better flavor.  But also the plant is able to produce many of
the more complex compounds that make "flavor".  These chemicals apparently
include things that protect the plant, it's fruit and seeds from attack.
For example, a peach orchard in CA dramatically reduced brown rot by adding
5 tons to the acre of compost.  If you have no desire to haul large amounts
of organic matter, a rock dust like Planters II will not only supply trace
minerals, but greatly stimulates microbial life in the soil.  Or you might
go for the microrrhizial inoculants that have been praised by Doreen,
Gianni, and Lon, as these improve availability of nutrients.  You might want
to buy HANDS ON AGRONOMY, by Neal Kinsey, and take advantage of his info on
flavor and CEC soil testing, which is far superior than what your county
agent can provide.  It really does sound like you either had too wet a year,
too wet weather in the crucial time around harvest, or you have a serious
problem with your soil.  Take it from one who has been through it.
    Flavor in produce is a subject of much interest to me, since I have
heard both Europeans and Canadians say that Ameircan food has no taste.
They say this also about garden produce.  Neal Kinsey mentions copper as
just one thing that improves flavor of  tomatoes, but these things are
tricky.  You can't just add one item and expect to get the result you
wanted.  Adding copper, for example, when the pH approaches neutral, can
reduce manganese availability.  Adding manganese, on the other hand, can
make copper more available.  As our corn has shown manganese deficiency year
after year, caused by high organic matter, high pH (about 6.4) and high
early summer rainfall, the only thing I have been able to do about it is add
sulfur, which fixes it right quick. If your pH is a little high, adding
sulfur may be what you need to increase the availbiblty of nutrients.
Donna TN z6
P. S. I learned all this from ACRES USA.  Never mind that wimpy Rodale rag,
ACRES is for serious organic farmers, and people who are leaning toward
sustainable agriculture.  It has info that works for the chemical farmer who
just wants to cut costs and pesticide use.

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