Orchard Update June 8, 2012
June 08, 2012
|Abundant and uniform bloom.|
By; Dave Gleason, Chief Horticulturist, Domex Superfresh Growers
There are years that make history in every industry, years that are memorable for the events they enclose between the start and stop, the January 1 to December 31 that defines every year. This year may be developing into one of those years. We are presently approaching the half-way point. Things are almost ‘normal’. The winter, unlike 2010-2011, was ‘normal’ with ‘normal’ to above normal precipitation. The spring has been gentle. There have been very few frost events, all of which were handled easily by the available protection methods. All crops produced excessive bloom at a ‘normal’ timing. The bees worked well and the days have been warm enough. There are high fruit numbers on the trees, but the final fruit counts per tree are like the baby bear’s porridge: not too hot and not too cold, just right! The fruit is continuing to grow at a ‘normal’ pace; not too slow, and not too fast. It really is a farmer’s dream. Let’s just grow something and grow it perfectly, maybe the weather will cooperate, maybe we will pick above average yields and quality…it might happen. There are still five and a half months to go, however, before everything is in the barn and safe from the elements…we shall see.
|Rainier cherries maturing toward harvest.|
Cherry harvest has begun in the earliest districts. Most blocks have good crop loads and fruit is continuing to grow. The long range forecast is for drier than ‘normal’ with cooler than ‘normal’ temperatures, however, the last 7 days have had some interesting shower activity that has dropped as much as 1.5 inches rain in some locations. There are reports of damage to some varieties, though most blocks are too green to be much affected by the moisture. Ripe cherries are full of sugar. The sugar sucks the rain water into the fruit, causing the skin to split. We can reduce this process by applying calcium to the fruit. These salty products work by keeping some of the water outside the fruit. However, if it continues to rain, the roots of the tree begin to suck up the excess ground water and the fruit can split from internal water pressure. The benefits of desert fruit production are numerous, but what a fine line we walk!