Tuesday July 5th we will finally start picking raspberries. This is by far the latest we have ever started. The Lauren raspberry floricanes (the canes that produce this years crop) were killed by the cold weather and mice this year so we will have to wait for next year for them to be available. We will be picking K81-6 red raspberries and Royalty purple raspberries. The Royalty berries are a cross between red raspberries and black raspberries (black caps). The are my favorite berry for jam or anywhere you want a lot of raspberry flavor. K81-6 raspberries are my favorite for eating fresh. But I would suggest you try both, everyone's tastes are different. Blueberries will be a week or so more before we start picking them. I hope you have a berry nice 4th of July.
Today we mowed and disked the mustard, a variety developed at the University of Idaho called Idagold, we grew as a biofumigant. The mustard, as it breaks down will kill many of the weed seeds and some harmful nematodes and diseases in the soil. After disking the soil, we will let the mustard set for 3-4 weeks and then we will plant some more riple crown blackberries. I have posted some pictures so you can see what we did. The blueberries are about done blooming and the raspberries are blooming now.
It has been quite a while since I posted. This spring has been busy with new plantings, usual spring tasks and challenging because of the cold damp weather. We have had a better chance to assess the effect of the weather on our plants since I last posted. The news is not as encouraging as i would like. Some of the pluot, plum and peach trees were killed and many have damage to their cambium, this is the tissue that carries water and nutrients throughout the tree. This summer we will have to take extra care to help the tree recover. One of the things we will do is spray more foliar nutrients on the tree. these are absorbed through the leaves and don't have to travel up the damaged cambium from the roots. We also are delaying or reducing the fertilizer we put on the ground.
Our blackberries floricanes, the vines that produce this years crop suffered from the cold weather and only 10-15% survived. Fortunately the roots are healthy and should produce a good number of primocanes, these are the vines that will produce next years crop. The duke blueberries seemed to handle the weather fine except they are late. the chandler blueberries suffered mild winter damage and will not produce as much this year. The bright spot this year is our raspberries, they seem to have come through the winter fairly well and we expect a normal crop from them.
the other good news is that the new plantings of raspberries, peaches, pluots and apricots and apriums seem to be off to a good start The mustard we planted to biofumigate the field that we will plant in blackberries this summer is growing well and should bloom in the next 3 weeks or so. The orchard mason bees we got this year to pollinate our fruit are doing well and that is exciting.
Finally, we are always thinking about new ways to offer our fruit to our customers. Last year we started pick-your-own (PYO) fall raspberries and it was well received. I enjoyed offering this because it gives our customers an opportunity to connect in a closer way with the food they eat and we intend to expand this portion of our farm as the demand grows.
The success of the pick-your-own venture has encouraged me to consider a new way to offer our fruit to our customers. I am very excited about this, it is called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). How this operates is that people buy "shares" in the fruit harvest for that year. They receive a box of fruit on a regular basis throughout the harvest year, for us this would be mid-june through early october and would include raspberries,blueberries, blackberries, apricots, peaches, pluots, nectarines and plums. We will keep you updated on the progress of this and will be putting out a survey to see if this is something that might interest you.
Well that is about it for now. If April showers bring May flowers this month should be beautiful, enjoy it..
This week I have primarily been working on the peaches, pruning and beginning to prepare some ground for a new planting this spring. Since I don't expect many peaches I am taking this year to prune a little more aggressively, so that we can generate more one year old wood for next year. Peaches produce on one year old wood so the new branches that grow this year will produce peaches next year. As I am pruning I can see quite a difference in the winter hardiness of the different peach varieties. Some of the less hardy varieties may be removed if they do not have other outstanding qualities, such as flavor or a unique time of harvest.
Deciding which peach varieties to plant has been very challenging. The perfect variety would have great flavor, large size, wonderful color, excellent winter hardiness, be very productive, have a nice shape and be very firm. Obviously no peach possesses all this, so we are forced to make choices. Many peach varieties today have focused on large size, good color and firmness for shipping. Since we sell locally we have the ability to select our varieties emphasizing our preferred attributes more. When we pick a variety our top three criteria are:
1 The peach must have a very good to excellent flavor.
2 It must be winter hardy enough to consistently produce in our valley.
3 It must be productive enough so that we can sustain our farm with the income.
Because of this our fruit will be different from what is available in the supermarkets. To get the peaches with the flavor we want we have selected varieties that emphasize flavor over appearance. We have made our selections very deliberately in the hope that the flavor will so grab your attention that other factors will not be an issue. We hope that those of you who buy our fruit will agree with us.
I did not realize it had been so long since the last post. Since that last post we have subzero temperatures, alot of rain and warm temperatures. Lately I just finished pruning one raspberry field. I have also been evaluating the affect of the cold snap around Thanksgiving on our plants. Well, as they say, there is good news and bad news. First, the good news, Our main raspberry patch came throught the cold weather with flying colors and no sign of winter damage. I believe that the blueberries will be all right. The new blackberry plants and the blueberry plants in the nursery this fall are doing well and seemed to handle the cold well. We did cover them with a tarp before the cold weather got here. The fall-bearing raspberries are doing well, the cold does not bother them because we mow off the canes from last year and they produce berries on the new growth this year.
Now for the bad news. We will very few peaches this season. The cold weather killed most of the fruit buds as well as damaging some limbs. We will have to wait until spring to know how bad the trees themselves were hurt. This also happened to the plums and pluots. However they are hardier and they may produce a partial crop. The black berry flower buds were also damaged. Some blackberries can produce fruit from secondary buds on the branches if the primary buds are killed. I don't know if our variety will but that will make this year a learning experience. With our new raspberry planting the mice got in under the snow and girdled all the canes so we had to cut them off and so we will not pick a crop on the new planting this year.
One more bit of good news, a winter like this lets us know which varieties are not hardy enough for our winters. This will leads us to try alternatives to some of the less hardy varieties.
Winter work is right about on schedule. Starting next month we will be getting the first of the nursery stock we will be planting this year. Planting is always an exciting time. To be a part of the wonder of new life springing from the ground is one of the major reasons I love to farm. I will leave all of you who grow plants with this thought.
I farm the soil which yields my food.
I share creation.
Kings can do no more.
We have pretty much but the farm to bed for the winter. I have started pruning the raspberries and it looks like we should have a good crop next year, weather permitting. The National Weather Service has forecasted a very cold air mass coming in Monday and Tuesday. I am concerned that our plants may not be as hardy as they could be because of the warm fall. I am also concerned about our nursery stock and the pots freezing up. On the positive side they say that it should snow before the coldest weather gets here, that will insulate the ground and the nursery stock. We have disked under the mustard we grew as a biofumigant for the new blackberry planting. We will be growing some mustard this spring to prepare some new raspberry ground. Hope that you enjoy your Thanksgiving, the snow and .
Well, our berry season has come to a close. We have just finished with the pick-your-own Caroline raspberries. This was the first year we tried this and I enjoyed the chance to meet some new friends and to share part of our farm in a different way. Next year we will have fruit available later into the fall. We have Josephine, a later ripening fall raspberry, and we will be picking some later pluots and peaches as well.
This fall we will be planting some apriums, pluots and plums and next spring we will be planting some more of these as well as some peaches, nectarines, blueberries and some more blackberries. In our nursery, we have some hardy Kiwi plants that we hope to plant in 2012 and some raspberry plants for greenhouse raspberries, also for spring 2012. This year has been a very good year. We had opportunity to see many of you again and some of you for the first time and that is what made the year good.
I expect I will be posting a little less as we relax after harvest, but will try to keep all of you updated on our fall and winter activities on the farm. Thank you for coming by our farm and reading this blog. We hope that you enjoy this wonderful fall weather we are receiving. Have a berry nice day.
We are done picking blackberries, but we still have Pick-your-own raspberries available. The picking should improve now that the weather is cooling down. With harvest winding down and fall coming, we change our routine with the season. I now have time to be doing some fall chores and Edie is back to teaching at Grove elementary. I plowed and disked the area for the new plum, pluot, and aprium planting that will be going in this fall and next spring. We are trying to root some softwood cuttings of our hardy kiwis and I am budding some limbs on some of the peach trees to change them over to another variety. We are also planning to build a "Berry Barn" in the next year and so we are working on the planning of what we want, where, how big we need the barn to be etc,etc, Sometimes it can be a little daunting. Fortunately, we have friends and family who are available to give helpful advice and an outside perspective. For all of you who came by and purchased berries from us this year, Thank You. Getting to see old friends again and meeting new ones is a highlight of our summer. Enjoy the gift of this beautiful late summer weather.
Today is our first day with Pick-Your-Own raspberries. The berries are big and the picking is good. We will pick tomorrow morning and then the next picking day will be Wednesday morning (8-18). We would like to pick more often but Edie is getting ready for teaching and Wednesday and Saturdays are my days off from my day job. For updates call the berry line at 541-938-5053.
We are very excited about a new planting we are putting in. We will be adding some more pluots, plums and apriums. Pluots are plum apricot cross developed by Floyd Zaiger that are 60-70% plum and 30-40% apricot. We are planting Flavor Grendade, Dapple Dandy, Flavor King, Flavor Queen and Flavor Supreme. We are also going to be planting a new Aprium. Apriums are 60-70% apricot and 30-40% plum. Both pluots and apriums are very sweet and deliscious. We would expect fruit from these in 2014, our first pluot planting should be producing well next year.
Our new raspberry plantings from this spring are doing well which means we should have a good supply of raspberries for next spring.
In our peach orchard we are budding over some of the varieties we have trialed that are not doing well in our area (either they do not taste good enough or the trees don't grow well). We have also added some new varieties. We hope to have a good crop of peaches for sale next year. We hope your summer has been enjoyable.
Starting this Friday and Saturday (8-13 & 8-14) We will have Pick-Your-Own raspberries. We have Caroline, a very good tasting berry. We expect that picking should be available for 3-4 weeks, depending on the weather. This is our first year doing this so it will be a learning experience for us and we value your comments about how we can make this more enjoyable in the years to come. The berries are good sized but this early in the season the picking is not as fast as it will be in 1-2 weeks. Starting Friday you can call our berry line (541)938-5053 for update on the next picking day and how picking conditions are. Our price is $2.75/ lb and we will provide plasting clamshells for you to put your berries in. We look forward to seeing you and hope that all of you who are interested will have an opportunity to visit.