Thursday, April 19, 2018

Apple Trees Blooming

   Apple trees are now blooming, and many bees are pollinating the apple blossoms when temperatures go above 50 F.  The apples that result from these pollinated flowers will grow for the next 5 to 7 months, then be ready to harvest from Sept. to Nov.
The 'Enterprise' apple tree at left is blooming in our orchard, while ornamental crabapple trees, with pink blossoms, bloom along our driveway.
   A late frost of 24 F on April 16 killed some apple pistils, the flower part that produces the fruit, but many apple flower buds had not opened yet, so were protected.  Unfortunately, pear trees were in full bloom, so most of the pear crop was lost to the April 16 frost.  Some pear flowers up high on the trees survived, so we should have a partial pear crop in Sept. to Oct.  Sadly, it looks like the 2018 peach crop was wiped out.
   We still have many apples and pecans, harvested last Nov. and kept in prime condition in our coolers, for sale now.  Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name and the day and approximate time you'll come get them, so I can look for you.  When I'm pruning raspberry plants or apple trees at the back of the planting, I can't always see or hear vehicles come in if people haven't called a day ahead so I can expect them.
Fruit from these 'Enterprise' apple trees, now blooming in our orchard, will ripen from Sept. to Nov. We still have many apples and pecans, harvested last Nov., for sale now.
   Our #1 apples, with no damage, sell just as fast as I sort them.  Small amounts of harvested apples cost $1.30 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of #1 apples costs $25.00 + tax ($1.25 per pound + tax), which saves $1.00 off the per-pound price.  I sort apples into two plastic bags per box, so you can get a mixed box of one bag each of 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples, and still get the 20-lb. discount.
   We have many 2nds apples, with small cracks, cork spots, hail damage, or other surface damage.  These are great for baking, slicing for salads, or for making applesauce or apple butter.  Usually 95% to 99% of each fruit is still usable, but they're 70% or less the cost, at $0.93 per pound + tax for less than 20 pounds and $0.88 per pound + tax for 20 pounds.  We've reduced the price on 40 lb. or more of 2nds apples.  When you buy two or more boxes, each 20-lb. box of 2nds apples costs just $16.67 + tax ($0.83 per pound + tax), so that's $33.34 + tax  for 40 lbs. of 2nds apples.
   We're still selling our last and largest pecan variety, 'Pawnee'.  We sell our papershell pecans in 4-pound bags that contain at least 75% pecan kernels, so you get the equivalent of at least 6 pounds of in-shell pecans in each bag.  These pecans are very fast and easy to pick out, and when you pick out the pecans, you get over 3 pounds of nutmeats.  The price on pecans is $16.67 per 4-pound bag + tax.  Pecans keep well in your freezer for up to 3 years.
   Asparagus harvest should finally start next week, about April 24, after the ground warms up.  Frosts killed the first spears up, so we have to wait for new spears to grow.  Asparagus is sold harvested, still for $2.78 per pound + tax, and is limited, so you need to phone 620-597-2450 a day ahead and order it.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Pear Trees Blooming

   Pear trees are now blooming, and most apple varieties are in the pink bud stage, with some apple varieties blooming.  We've had several frosts that have killed some pear pistils, the flower part that produces the fruit, but pear trees produce so many flowers that there are still plenty of blooms to produce a good crop.
These 'Harrowsweet' pear trees are in full bloom now.
   Sun. morning April 15 is predicted to go down to 30 F, and Mon. morning April 16 is predicted to go down to 28 F.  If we don't go below these temperatures, we should still have a good pear crop.  Since most apple varieties still have many fruit buds in the pink bud stage, they should not be hurt by these frosts.  The reduced peach crop, that has already set fruit, should not be further hurt.
The sun was just setting on April 12 behind these blooming 'Shinko' Asian pear trees.
   So far, we've seen very little bee activity in any of the orchards.  Bees do not fly when temperatures are under 50 F, nor when winds are over 30 miles per hour all day, as occurred for the past 3 days.  Hopefully next week will be warmer and less windy, so bees and other insects will pollinate the fruit trees blossoms, so they can set fruit.
About half these pear flowers still have live pistils; those with dark centers have been killed.  Since pear trees produce so many flowers, there are still plenty of blooms to produce a good crop.
   I've been pruning apple trees for the past 10 days, whenever the weather is conducive.  Bill makes the large cuts with a chain saw, then I use pneumatic loppers to remove upper branches from our apple trees.  Then I use hand pruners to remove dead, diseased or overly dense apple branches. 
Bill first makes needed large cuts on our apple trees with a chain saw.
   We still have many apples and pecans for sale now.  Asparagus harvest should start next week, about April 16, whenever the weather warms up.  Scroll down to the previous blog post, dated April 5, for prices and apple and pecan photos.
   Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name and the day and approximate time you'll come get them, so I can look for you.  When I'm pruning apple trees at the back of the orchard, especially when using pneumatic loppers, I can't always see or hear vehicles come in if people haven't called a day ahead so I can expect them.
I use pneumatic loppers, powered by the blue air compressor on the tractor in the background, to remove upper branches from our apple trees.  When using pneumatic loppers, I can't see or hear vehicles come in if people haven't called a day ahead so I can expect them.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Frost Threatens Peach Crop

   Most of our peach trees are in full bloom now.  This past winter, temperatures dropped to -8 F, which killed most peach fruit buds on some of our peach varieties, so they are not blooming and will not have a crop this year.  The 'Newhaven' peach crop was wiped out by winter cold, as were 'Blazingstar', 'Glowingstar', and the rest of the "Stellar Peaches" with 'star' in the name.
These 'Contender' peach trees still had many blooms with live pistils yesterday afternoon. Sat. morning is predicted to go down to 22 F, so I pray that we will still have a partial peach crop on them after that.
   Our winter-hardiest peach varieties -- 'Intrepid', 'Contender', 'Carolina Gold', and 'China Pearl' -- still have enough remaining live blossoms for a good peach crop, if we make it through this Sat. morning April 7 without excessive damage.  Yesterday morning, Wed. April 4, the temperature dipped to 25 F here.  I checked the blooming peach trees that afternoon, and most blooms still had live pistils, the flower part that produces the fruit.  Sat. morning is predicted to go down to 22 F, which will cause much more damage.  I am praying that we will still have a partial peach crop on our winter-hardiest peach varieties.
   We still have many apples and pecans for sale now.  Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name and the day and approximate time you're coming to get them, so I can look for you.  When I'm pruning raspberry plants or apple trees at the back of the planting, I can't always see or hear vehicles come in if people haven't called a day ahead so I can expect them.
   Our #1 apples, with no damage, sell just as fast as I sort them.  Small amounts of harvested apples cost $1.30 per pound + tax.  A 20-lb. box of #1 apples costs $25.00 + tax ($1.25 per pound + tax), which saves $1.00 off the per-pound price.  I sort apples into two plastic bags per box, so you can get a mixed box of one bag each of 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples, and still get the 20-lb. discount.
We still have many apples for sale now. The green boxes each hold 20 pounds of #1 apples, with no damage. The front box is 'GoldRush' and the next box back is 'Enterprise'. The blue box holds 20 pounds of #2 apples, with minor surface damage. It is a mixed box of one bag each of #2 'Enterprise' and #2 'GoldRush' apples.
   We have many 2nds apples, with small cracks, cork spots, hail damage, or other surface damage.  These are great for baking, slicing for salads, or for making applesauce or apple butter.  Usually 95% to 99% of each fruit is still usable, but they're 70% or less the cost, at $0.93 per pound + tax for less than 20 pounds and $0.88 per pound + tax for 20 pounds.  We've reduced the price on 40 lb. or more of 2nds apples.  When you buy two or more boxes, each 20-lb. box of 2nds apples costs just $16.67 + tax ($0.83 per pound + tax), so that's $33.34 + tax  for 40 lbs. of 2nds apples.
   We're still selling our last and largest pecan variety, 'Pawnee'.  We sell our papershell pecans in 4-pound bags that contain at least 75% pecan kernels, so you get the equivalent of at least 6 pounds of in-shell pecans in each bag.  These pecans are very fast and easy to pick out, and when you pick out the pecans, you get over 3 pounds of nutmeats.  The price on pecans is $16.67 per 4-pound bag + tax.  Pecans keep well in your freezer for up to 3 years.
We still have enough 'Pawnee' pecans for about 160 bags, and we'll have cracked pecans for sale until we sell out, probably till mid- to late May.
   Asparagus harvest should start about April 16, whenever the weather warms up.  Asparagus is sold harvested, still for $2.78 per pound + tax, and is limited, so you do need to phone 620-597-2450 a day ahead and order it. 
The redbud trees that I planted along our driveway 22 years ago are in beautiful bloom now. These are right opposite the sales building.
   We're still open by appointment until May 31.  The phone rings in the house, so I'll get your message when I come in from working in the the sales building or orchard.  Then I'll meet you in the sales building when you arrive here.  (Don't wait to call until you're on your way here, or I probably won't get your message before you arrive here.)
   You can make an appointment for between 9:00 and 11:45 a.m. or between 1:00 and 5:15 p.m. Mon. to Sat., and between 1:30 and 5:15 p.m. Sundays.  We're closed every Sunday morning, year-round, for church.