On a drive around the farm today, beautiful signs of Spring were everywhere. The apricot trees are the first to flower!
We had a cold start to the season this year and there will be a slight delay because of it. Even for cool weather crops like peas, you have to wait for the soil to warm up enough before you can put seeds in the ground.
For the past two years, peas were planted in the first week of April, but for 2014 they weren’t in the ground until the third week. Although this is closer to normal, it does mean that we’ll have to wait a little longer for those delicious green pods to make an appearance.
When the forsythia blooms, we know it’s time to rake the insulating layer of straw off of the strawberry plants. The sooner their green leaves can bask in the warm Spring sunshine, the sooner we can bite into a sweet, red, strawberry.
This is the earliest broccoli has ever been planted at Kirby’s. Thousands and thousands of plants were seeded. Starting in June, broccoli will be harvested every week until cold temperatures kill the plants. We’re in for another epic year of broccoli!
Last year we all enjoyed a phenomenal peach crop – we just about had more peaches then we knew what to do with! Unfortunately, it looks like this year we’ll be lucky to find a peck basket in the entire orchard. It’s sad news for us, and our customers. Luckily many of our other stone fruits weren’t hit as hard; it looks like the plums, prunes, and apricots will be bearing a normal crop!
You might remember a few days this past winter, when the temperature dropped to -11F. That was too cold for the tender young growth of the peach trees to survive. The trees themselves weathered the winter, but those young buds are the source of this season’s peaches.
If you’re wondering how we can predict the yield for a crop that won’t fruit for months, there is a simple way to find out if your blossoms will turn into fruit.
Sometime in April when the buds on the trees are just beginning to break out, Tim Kirby cuts a handful of small branches. He sticks them in a bucket or jar and keeps them in a warm place. The buds will open enough to reveal the flower. With the help of a magnifying glass and a small knife, you can see whether the inside of the pistil is black or green. A black heart is a sure sign that the fruit doesn’t have a chance.
Thanks for reading! We know our customers like to stay informed of how the weather is effecting the crops, and how the season is coming along. For the rest of the year, we ‘ll post a Field Update on the first and third week of the month. See you soon!