The past several weeks have been spent maintaining the orchard. Weed control is always an issue for us. The mild winter and warm spring encouraged growth and development of this unwelcome vegetation. The seeds that dropped into the earth last fall did not freeze and suffer winter-kill since the winter was mild. With the temperatures in February and March above normal, well, you can about guess the rest of the story. There are many herbicides available on the market for growers to purchase, some more harsh than others, but we continue our practice to use minimal applications of chemical weed control. We have noticed a comeback of red earth worms and night crawlers in our soils since we have practiced limited usage of herbicides. Worms make soil more fertile and thus, less commercial fertilizers are needed. This, however, doesn’t happen overnight and remains an ongoing venture. So, to try to gain control of the weed situation, we are hitting the orchard areas now with weed eaters.
We did experience below freezing temperatures about two weeks ago. We registered 26 degrees in the lower orchard for about an hour. There is some damage to the apples in that area but a small percentage. The fruit that is affected from the freeze is damaged in appearance only, probably will be just slightly misshapen where the frost settled on it. Time will tell the story as the season progresses.
Recent storms have inundated us with rain and windy weather. We almost needed a canoe to get into the orchards these past two weeks. We keep our fingers crossed when the area weather predictions include storms. Hail is not something we want to see at this point. Not too many customers like their fruit to be “ice kissed,” a positive way of referring to hail damage. So far, so good, no hail.
The newly planted orchard is progressing quite nicely. The new trees are putting on good growth and we cultivate them often to encourage further development. We continue to formulate our plans for this future “pick-your-own” apple orchard. We are looking forward to the opportunity that this venture will offer to our customers and their families.
We will have peaches this year unless we experience an unexpected catastrophe. The cold temperatures experienced several weeks ago do not appear as having done any damage to the fruit. So, yes, there will be peaches available.
Recent delving into the family ancestry has revealed some interesting facts about our involvement in the orchard business. As of now, trying to make an organized compilation of it. Will try to have an update soon about how the hands of fate can impact people’s lives.