Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

This year we decided to plant a pumpkin patch in response to many requests.
I planted several varieties & they open-pollinated, making for several types all on one vine. We have tiny green & yellow striped ones, lots of small round orange ones, & two oblong ones that look like orange watermelons
The pumpkins are now all ripe & ready to pick. This has been a grand success! The only problem is that I didn't plant enough. Next year the patch will be twice as big.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Look at all those firsts!"

That's what the volunteer said to me when she handed me the blue ribbons at the Antelope Valley Fair. We won firsts for our Golden Supreme & Royal Gala apples & Shinko Asian pears. We also won second prize for Rosi Red Bartlett pears & 20th Century Asian pears. Yes, that's right, we won both first & second place in the Asian pear category. Yeah for us. It's a great boost in an otherwise disappointing fruit year.

Monday, August 1, 2011

We're Open for Business!

We finally opened for u-pick business this weekend. It was a long wait since we lost all the crops for the first half of the season. I really missed having people drive in, all excited to pick fruit straight from the trees. The little kids are the best - they think it's so interesting. Most people buy much more than they anticipated. We even had our first picnickers this weekend. So great to get back into the groove.
Sky King likes it too. He's picking his apple off the tree. And lots of petting for a friendly dog.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stone Fruit Crop Lost!

This is the way the cherry trees should look now. They should be covered with bunches of luscious cherries. Instead, the trees are healthy & covered with leaves, but no fruit. The story is the same for apricots, peaches, nectarines, & plums. We had a frost in March & another in April, followed by a week of cold, dry wind. All the fruit had just set, so it was too tender to survive. Luckily, the apples & pears came through just fine. They set fruit just a few days later.
During u-pick season, I am so busy helping pickers on Saturday & Sunday. We open at 8 AM, but most pickers arrive after 10. This is great because the pilots are putting their planes away when the pickers start coming. But with no fruit, my Saturdays & Sundays are too quiet. I miss all the pickers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Peaches are starting to grow

Just one month after the last post, peach flowers are falling away to reveal tiny little peaches. About a quarter inch long & wide as a pencil point, they already have fuzz on their green skins. It's hard to believe that in three months we'll be eating them, standing slightly back to avoid dripping the juice on our clothes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring!!! Spring!!!
Peaches & nectarines are in full bloom. These are always the loveliest trees because of the bright pink color. Each variety is a different shade. The San Gabriel mountains are still covered with fact they had snowfall last week. Bees appear out of nowhere to pollinate the flowers. We have 2 or 3 other species of bees in addition to the honeybees. Each species looks a bit different & they all seem to get along. It's still cold first thing in the morning, but they get busy around mid-morning & stay at work all day unless the wind kicks up. I can almost taste the peaches now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Last week we had snow...8' of it. A beautiful winter wonderland and so good for the trees. The trees need cold right now. Each variety needs a specified amount of "winter chill hours." The cold really sets the trees up for the next growing season.
So this week, we have very warm temps, like a late spring. Even though the days are beautiful, we're not happy. Too much warm weather may trick the trees into blooming too early. The Farmers Almanac promises more cold temps and more rain in a week or so.
When you're a farmer, you're always worried about the weather. And, Mark Twain, we still haven't been able to do anything about it.