Friday, May 17, 2013

Thinning Peaches, Berries Developing

   Strawberry harvest should finally start late next week, and run from May 24 to about June 15 this year.  That's a full month later than last year.  2012 was a record early harvest, 3 weeks earlier than average, and 2013 is a record late harvest, 2 weeks later than average.
Strawberries are starting to gain size on April 17, but are still a week away from the start of harvest.
   Strawberries are sold pick-your-own only, by appointment only.  Call 620-597-2450 a few days before you want to come harvest strawberries, and leave a message on the answering machine saying the day and time you want to pick, with your phone number.  I'll call you back to confirm.
   We also have harvested asparagus for sale by order, now till about June 15.  We still have lots of nice 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples for sale, kept in top condition in our cooler.  There are plenty of large apples, both #1's and #2's, plus some smaller #1 'Enterprise' apples that I sorted for schools, which prefer the smaller size as they're perfect for kids' lunches.  With schools winding down for the year, I have a couple boxes of these smaller #1 'Enterprise' apples to sell to those who ask for them.
   We're still open by appointment until May 31, so call at least a few hours ahead and leave a message on the answering machine, saying what day & time you'll be coming to get asparagus and/or apples.  We're very busy thinning peaches now, and can't see the driveway from the peach orchard, and don't always hear people come in if they just drop by.  I'm also busy with weed control in blackberries, and can't hear cars over the sound of the tractor.
'Natchez' thornless balckberries are blooming heavily now, and should start to ripen about June 24 or so.
   We've almost finished limb shaking of peaches to thin them, and have just started on follow-up hand thinning.  Limb shaking took about 34 hours this year, and hand thinning will take about 220 hours total by 5 workers plus myself.  We'll be thinning for the next 3 weeks.
Rachael Triebel, our other workers, and I used pneumatic limb shakers to shake some fruit loose.  Now we're doing follow-up hand thinning.  

Bill applied nitrogen fertilizer to the peach orchard on May 15.