Updates From The Farm

Gravenstein apples sizing quickly.

This week we’ve got fruit set and sizing on the brain – we’ll be doing our first harvest of the season (June-bearing strawberries are right on time) and working to get quickly-sizing apples and peaches fruit thinned. The wet, cool weather early this week is setting the stage for some exponential growth once the sunshine and heat make their return by the end of the week. 
Fruit/Bud/Tree Development
  • Kiwi berry flower buds are swollen and at this point just waiting for the heat and sunshine to fully open. 
  • Goumi berries didn’t set nearly any fruit this season (poor pollination? cold weather? possibly over-fruited last year?) but for the first time in a few years we see good fruit set in our small planting of seaberries! Not a big crop by any means, but fun to note. 
  • Quince have set fruit, apples and pears and peaches are sizing, and grapes will be blooming soon. 
Pest & Disease
  • Continuing to see way more aphid pressure than we’ve seen in the orchards the past 3 years or so. It looks like we have a relatively new infestation of rosy apple aphids – an aphid pest that has been shown to be more of a problem in organic orchards in the PNW than others. There is little management that can be done at this stage due to leaf curling providing protection from oil sprays, but this pest will move to its secondary host (broadleaf weeds) in a few short weeks and hopefully we can control via weed management and early season (pre-bloom) sprays next season. Also curious to see some ants farming aphids as well.  
  • Frog Eye Leaf Spot is appearing to some degree in the orchards – some varieties are more susceptible than others. This is a fungal disease caused by the same pathogen that causes black rot. The leaf spotting, while an eye sore and somewhat harmful to photosynthesis and thus health of a tree, hasn’t been considered a dire issue at the level it pops up in our orchards. 
  • Slugs are out and managing to find the juiciest, ripest strawberries despite some Sluggo deployed last week. It’s always a bit of a numbers game. Keeping planting borders weed-whacked is another one of our best prevention tools.
  • We will be deploying some corrugated cardboard earwig traps in our peach block as well as in some pome fruit plantings to assess population and hopefully move earwig pests from stone fruit (where they can be a menace) to pome fruit (where they can be beneficial!). 

Ants with a Rosy Apple Aphid colony on an apple shoot – note the adult winged aphids as well

Fruit set on seaberries

Frog Eye Leaf Spot on apple leaves. 

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