Growing Quality Local Produce Responsibly
After several cool nights that made us all have heartburn over the apple crop this spring, we find ourselves wondering why we volunteered to be in the boxing ring with Mother Nature. We had flashbacks to 2012, when we lost close to 100 percent of our crop due to an early bloom, followed by what were seasonably low temperatures for early April. Over the past few weeks we surveyed blossoms and estimated fruit set. In a typical year we thin the fruit down by 50 to 60 percent to ensure a return bloom for next year and for fruit size. However, there are plenty of other variables that can affect fruit set, including cloud cover, temperature, and pollination. This year we estimated that 4o percent of blossoms would set fruit, which would essentially be close to a normal crop.
Funny how a few weeks can change your outlook on life and growing year. The apple crop looks strong, the potato spuds emerged, we started the market season well, and we are almost done planting our vegetable fields. We are already happily complaining about all the fruit thinning we need to do in the orchard.
I am not sure how Vern and Mary have survived 40 years of farming, except that they seem to have a skill that I think you only obtain after years of practice – adaptability! Things do not always go as planned – actually that is the only thing you can plan for. But if you are good at observing cycles and can anticipate changes that need to be made, you’ll be able to sleep most nights.