Updates From The Farm

An impressive fruit strig on a Rovada Red Currant.

This week top of mind is managing early season fertility, pest and disease, as well as catching up on mowing, cover crop seeding, and understory management. With trees leafing out we’re seeing signs of spring insect pests and fungal infections popping up that will need to be managed to varying degrees. Grass is growing just as fast as the trees and vines and the need for mowing/weeding/hoeing is constant this time of year. Fruit is set and sizing on most crops (apart from table grapes, quince, kiwi berries, and medlar that are still pre-bloom or in bloom).

Fruit/Bud/Tree Development

  • Fruit is set and sizing across the farm: peaches are sizing, as are early season apples and pears. Currants and gooseberries are nearly at full fruit size, and strawberries are rapidly growing.
  • Table grape shoots are mostly at 8-16” across varieties.
  • Male Arguta kiwi is beginning bloom, and buds are swollen and close to bloom on Ana and Jumbo females.

Pest & Disease

  • Aphids are back this year and more prevalent than we’ve seen before. We hand-removed aphid-infested shoots from some ribes plants last week, but this week we’re seeing aphids show up in apples as well. Easy to spot with distinctive curled and puckered leaves. Also seeing some leaf-curling midge in apples and pears.
  • First signs of apple scab are apparent now. Not looking at a bad infection prevalence this year, but enough that we’ll want to continue to manage with some level of antifungals for the remainder of the spring/early summer.
  • We saw some imported currant worms on Jostaberries and Gooseberries last week – these pests will very quickly defoliate a plant if not attended to. We’ll be spraying a targeted organic insecticide today on this planting to address this, and then immediately covering with insect netting for continued passive management control.

Early apple scab infection on interior leaf of a Jonagold apple tree.

Mildew on new apple growth.

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