Updates From The Farm

Fruit Set on Kiwi Berries

This week we’re coming through yet another cool wet period. There are some warm dry days in the forecast for later this week which will be much appreciated, but it looks like we will continue to have relatively rainy and cool conditions through the end of the month. This cooler start to summer is enabling more fungal disease than is ideal and has resulted in slower starts to some crops-especially grapes which much prefer the hot weather. This week we hope to wrap up fruit thinning, begin summer pruning and continue with strawberry harvest as well as applying foliar nutrients and codling moth control sprays. 

Fruit/Bud/Tree Development

  • Ribes (Currants and Gooseberries) are beginning to ripen across the board. We’re looking forward to a nice crop off of some of the new currant varieties we planted last year, including the first white and pink currants we’ve harvested  in several years. We hope to begin picking in about 2 weeks. 
  • Kiwi Berries have rapidly set fruit after the long wait for blooms to open. 
  • Peaches have begun to push healthy green shoots after a rough bout with leaf curl this spring. These fresh shoots will help support the sizing fruit which in many cases is approaching golf ball size. We expect to see nice shoot growth take off when warmer temperatures hit later this week.

Ripening starting on black currants

Apple scab lesions on fruit

Pest & Disease

  • Wet weather means the apple varieties that are more susceptible to apple scab are seeing some increased fungal pressure. This year, it is primarily Jonagolds that we’re seeing impacted by scab.
  • Much like in 2022, this year’s conditions seem likely to lead to strong powderey mildew pressure once temperatures are consistently between 70 and 85 degrees. Some PM is already visible on big leaf maples as well as grape leaves. We use WSU’s AgWeatherNet Grape Powdery Mildew model to determine timing for our applications of JMS Stylet Oil used to control mildew.
  • Aphids pose a problem this year with their biggest presence seen on Ribes (though pressure on apples is also more notable this season). We will likely do a round of removing the most impacted Ribes shoots this week to prevent aphid ‘honeydew’ from leaving a sticky residue on the fruit. Aphids are a tricky pest because the netting that allows us to get really effective control of currant worm and gooseberry maggot also shelters the aphids which appear earlier in the season from beneficial predatory insects which typically would do more to keep infestation at bay.

What’s Ripe?

  • This week we’re harvesting: Strawberries!

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