Up to last week the Spring weather has been almost perfect for the bloom and pollination of the peaches. The orchard was BEAUTIFUL with the full bloom of the different varieties of peaches and the buzzing of the bees as they went from blossom to blossom unknowingly doing a good job of pollinating for us. However, as Mother Nature sometimes does in April, a cold front moved in bringing rain and falling night time temperatures. Two consecutive nights last week in the low lying parts of the orchard the temperature dropped to 27 degrees which is cold for the tender fruit formation on the peach trees. As of yet a total damage assessment has not been determined but undoubtedly there will be some losses. We do not think a total loss like last year but we think our thinning efforts will be on hold for awhile.
The apple trees are array with their creamy-white blossoms and hopefully the cold temperatures did not do too much damage. We did not have full bloom throughout the entire orchard so we are somewhat confident our losses will be minimal in the majority of the apple vareities. Last year we were past full bloom and had fruit set when the thermometer dipped to night time temperatures of 26 degrees. A later Spring this year has helped us greatly. We are as anxious as anyone to have warm temperatures after the dreary days of winter but TOO WARM, TOO EARLY is really bad news for an orchardist. We are not out of the woods yet but things are looking a little better as we progress into the month of May.
It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful the orchard becomes as the trees enter bloom period. All the work we put into pruning, cleanup and mowing all becomes so worthwhile when you enter bloom. One day I look out and the trees are “pink” and as the day progresses if factors are favorable, the “pink” becomes tinged with white, then creamy-pink blossoms appear and before long the entire tree is a vibrant burst of blooms. Orchard bees start to work and actually flit from blossom to blossom as they go about their business. “Busy” is a good analogy, as no human could keep up with their burst of activity. I am always fascinated by Nature. These are the days when I spend hours just taking it all in. Nothing makes me more aware of my place in the scheme of things than trying to produce fruit. The “growing” business is not always the most profitable, but it definitely is one of the most challenging and rewarding.