Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Strawberries, Raspberries & Early Blackberries Blooming

    Strawberry plants are still blooming, and the berries which set earlier are growing.  Strawberry harvest will run from about May 12 to June 5 this year.  Strawberries are sold pick-your-own only, by appointment only, for $2.55 per quart + tax.  Phone 620-597-2450 to set up a day and time to pick strawberries.
Strawberry plants are still blooming.  Flowers with petals will ripen their berries about a month from now.  Berries which set earlier are growing and will start ripening about May 12.
   Strawberry harvest will be limited this year, as this is a replanting year.  We took out our 6-year-old strawberry planting after last year's harvest, then solarized the soil under black plastic over the summer to kill some weed seeds and disease organisms.  We just replanted that area this spring, so only the 3-year-old strawberry planting will produce fruit this year.
   Raspberry plants and the early-ripening thornless blackberry plants are also blooming now.  We should have large crops of both raspberries and blackberries this year.
'Natchez' thornless blackberry plants, our earliest-ripening blackberry variety, are blooming now.  They'll start ripening in mid-June.
   While apple trees bloomed a few weeks ago, I made more controlled crosses for my apple breeding program.  The flowers that I hand-pollinated are now developing as young fruits.  When they ripen, I'll save the seeds, stratify them over winter, and plant them in pots.  A few weeks ago I planted the seeds from last year's crosses in pots.  I'll grow them in the pots over the summer, and plant them in the field next fall.
Clusters of young apple fruits are now developing.  The center fruit in each cluster, with sepals and anthers removed, is one that I hand-pollinated.  When these fruit ripen, I'll save the seeds, grow them into trees, and evaluate the fruit for possible naming as a new variety.
   Bill recently grafted 7 selections from my apple breeding program, that I named last year, onto rootstocks in our main apple orchard.  They'll start bearing fruit identical to that variety in 3 or 4 years.
   Asparagus harvest is still going strong, and should go for the next 4 weeks or so.  These are nice thick spears and I snap them off where they break easily, instead of cutting them at ground level, so almost all of the spear is tender and usable.  Phone 620-597-2450 to order asparagus, which we sell harvested for $2.79 per pound + tax.
   We still have some harvested 'GoldRush' apples, both #1's and #2's, for sale now and for the next 3 to 4 weeks or so.  Harvested apples are kept in top condition in our cooler, which is now down to about 260 pounds of apples (about 100 pounds of #1's and 160 pounds of #2's).  #2 apple prices are still $1.00 less for each 20 lbs. than last fall.  Scroll down 3 posts for prices.
   We also still have 5-lb. bags of cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale, for $14.86 + tax per bag.  We now have 7 bags (35 pounds) of pecans left before we're sold out (until next Nov.)
   From Dec. 1 to May 31 we're open by appointment, so phone a day or so ahead (or at least a few hours ahead) and leave a message on the answering machine saying when you're coming.  If you drop by on a nice day and I don't see you come in, since I'm working elsewhere on the farm, ring the bell on the sales building (or if I'm on the tractor and can't hear the bell, track me down).  We'll be very busy thinning fruit on our 160 peach trees all during May, and can't see the driveway or hear cars come in from the peach orchard.