The Orchards

WicksonBloom 15.5.12

Wickson, one of the earliest to bloom here, May 12.


 Here we go into bloom!  So many different varieties grow here that the first blooms and the last petals to fall are about three weeks apart. Some of the later varieties sport just the first little green flaps, though the buds all seem to go off like fireworks once they start. NOW we want warm, calm weather that helps bees and other pollinators to rush from bloom to bloom making future apples – we’ve got cool, windy, semi-overcast weather so far. But it’s amazing what gets done by our bug allies in only one or two good days – lots of hope so far. Later for fear, already.









Wickson 5.5.15

Wickson, May 4, 2015.


Most people are ready for heat, but we’re  grateful for this slow-poke Spring.  To understand why early warmth spells trouble for northerly fruit growers, read on for our laments from 2012 and 2010.  But this year? Early Spring is one worry we just don’t have. The little apple buds were wrapped up tight until about ten days ago – now early varieties unfurling fast. But – barring freakish freezes during May – it should be safe for buds to open out into the open air. We’ll show photos of progress.

WAY back to Deja Vu Bummer (April 2012):
BUD SCARE ON                       

We-e-e-ll… it’s another tense springtime in the fields. The buds popped a month early, blossom started three and a half weeks too soon. So day-to-day, the question has been “Will they freeze tonight?”  On several recent nights thermometers have dropped to 25F, creating acres and acres of uncertainty. Considering land contours, accidents of air circulation, different bud-stages typical of different varieties — the thermometer can’t show what happened everywhere. Only after bloom ends and we see where — and whether — little apples are swelling, will we start to know what — if anything — the crop might amount to. (See Apple Basics for background info.)
           Back in 2010 about 75% — yes, seventy-five per cent — of the harvest was cancelled this way.  That year brought the first crazy early hot March-April in about 25 years. In 2012 we have the second crazy early hot March-April in three years. Lots of people love early beach weather but we — growing fruit in the temperate zones — we just detest, abominate, abhor (checking the thesaurus for more) early beach weather. The sudden sight of those happy smiles, pale-green legs everywhere sporting shorts in April? Bad.


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