Saturday, March 19, 2016

Peach Crop Survived First Frost

   Early this morning it dropped to 26 F here, and most of our peach trees are in full bloom now.  When I checked the peach trees in mid-morning, many flowers had killed pistils (the flower part which produces the fruit), so no fruit will develop from those flowers.  But praise God, many other flowers still had live pistils.  The earliest-blooming peach varieties, such as 'Challenger' and 'Early Redhaven', were hurt more than later-blooming peach varieties, such as 'Intrepid', 'Glowingstar' and 'China Pearl.'
These 'China Pearl ' white peach trees had fewer killed pistils than the earliest-blooming peach varieties.
   Another frost is predicted for early Palm Sunday morning.  The predicted temperature of 30 F will not hurt the peach crop (or the pear crop) at all.  A 3rd frost of 29 F is predicted for early Monday morning, March 21.  So we are praying that temperatures here don't drop much below those predictions, and that the peach crop survives these frosts and any others yet to come over the next 3 weeks.
   Our workers and I pruned more blackberries this afternoon, and I will be busy pruning peach trees and pear trees all next week.  We still have many 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples for sale, and cracked 'Kanza' pecans.  Phone 620-597-2450 a day or so ahead, and leave a message on the answering machine saying the day and about what time you're coming.  When I'm pruning the peach and pear orchards, I can't see or hear vehicles come in the driveway, so it's best to call ahead, but if you drop by, ring the bell on the sales building, which I can usually hear.
This is the view of our peach orchard (in rear) from the house, with forsythia and flowering quince blooming under pine trees in the foreground.  The phone rings in the house, so you need to call a day ahead (or at least a few hours ahead) for me to get your message before you come.
   Our #1 apples, with no damage, sell just as fast as I sort them.  A 20-lb. box of #1 apples still costs $23.15 + tax ($1.15 per pound + tax), which saves $1.00 off the per-pound price.
   We have many 2nds apples, with small cracks, cork spots or other surface damage, so we've just reduced the price on these.  A 20-lb. box of 2nds apples now costs just $14.82 + tax ($0.74 per pound + tax).  When you buy two boxes, each 20-lb. box of 2nds apples costs just $13.89 + tax ($0.69 per pound + tax), so that's $27.78 + tax  for 40 lbs. of 2nds apples. 
   Pecans are still $15.05 per 5-pound bag + tax.  Asparagus should start about March 28 and is sold harvested for $2.78 per pound + tax.