Pears were hit even harder by the frosts. It looks like we'll have about 10% of a normal European pear crop this year, and about 25% of a normal Asian pear crop.
|Last Saturday, our workers Tim Epler (left) and Tre Maxton (right) helped prune apple trees, using pneumatic loppers, while trees were blooming.|
Apple bloom is also the time I make controlled crosses for my apple breeding program, which takes a lot of time. When apple flowers on the trees I'll use as parents are in the bud stage, I remove anthers, petals and sepals from them, leaving only the pistils. I pick out the anthers containing the pollen, dry them, and store the pollen in vials in the fridge. Then I use a small artist's paintbrush to hand-pollinate the pistils on the female parent tree with pollen from the male parent tree.
|Here I hand-pollinated pistils on 'Sun Giant', the female parent tree, with pollen from 'GoldRush', the male parent tree.|
We still have many 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples for sale. These apples taste much better than any sold in grocery stores, and are great for baking as well as fresh eating. I give taste samples. We also still have cracked 'Kanza' pecans for sale.
Asparagus harvest has just started, and goes until late May. These are nice thick spears, and I snap asparagus off where it breaks easily, so almost the entire spear is tender and usable. Asparagus is sold harvested for $2.78 per pound + tax. Phone 620-597-2450 a few days ahead to order asparagus, and leave a message on the answering machine.
From Dec. 1 to May 31, we're open by appointment. That means to 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. I do not need to call you back; I will get the message and meet you in the sales building when you come. (The phone rings in the house, so if you wait to call until on your way here, I probably won't get your message before you come, since I'm working outside or sorting apples in the sales building.)
Strawberries will be very limited this year, as many plants that I planted last year died from excess rain, and I didn't have enough time last summer and fall to control weeds in strawberries. Strawberries are blooming now, and some early blooms were killed by frosts.
|Some early strawberry blooms were killed by frosts, such as the 3 flowers with black centers in the middle of the photo. Healthy flowers, with yellow centers, will develop into fruit.|