Good Morning Readers!
As the new Writer and Editor of Organic Orchard News, I’m happy to announce that Spring has officially arrived on the farm! Our Orchardist, John, gives us the latest information on the current tree conditions and the outlook for the rest of the growing season.
Check back often for weekly updates and photos! Thanks for joining us…
Greetings from Orchard Ridge Farms,
With the warm spring weather rolling in and the winter’s cold finally behind us, the apple trees in our orchard have awakened and are right in the middle of a glorious show. It’s bloom time here at the orchard, and a walk through the rows reveals a frenzy of activity: the hum of bees hurriedly visiting flowers seeking nectar, the tree branches alive with growing young leaves, and the fragrance of apple blossoms drifting through the air.
Besides its beauty, bloom is the most important time of the year in an orchard. The hard work of pollinators now provides us all with a bountiful harvest come Autumn. If bloom coincides with a period of cold, rainy weather, then pollinators will not be able to visit the flowers, and the crop will be diminished. As luck would have it, the weather for bloom this season has been ideal. Most bees prefer temperatures of at least 60 degrees along with sunny skies to perform their duties, and this week, we have had plenty of heat and sun to help them out. To put that in context, last year’s bloom began as early as March 29th, and during the two weeks of bloom, the temperature dipped several times into the high 20s. In other words, 2013 is already shaping up to be a great year for apples.
In about a week, the flower petals will begin to fall, leaving just the tiny growing apple and the flower’s stalk (called the pedicle), which will eventually become the apple’s stem. Soon after, we see fruit set, which is when the fruitlets begin to enlarge, and any unpollinated ones will drop to the ground. By then, we will have a good idea of how many apples there will be in the Fall, and the only thing left to do is wait. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that these little flowers will become the juicy apples we all enjoy fresh off the branch in September and October, but with good weather, some effort, and a little bit of luck, the most classic indication of Autumn will be there like it has always been, ready for us to enjoy.
We hope you’ll follow the journey our apples take from blossom to ripe fruit.