By this point in the growing season, I have a pretty good idea of what my future summer fruit crop will look like. The blossoms are gone and the bees have done their work. Some crops are looking good. Others, not so much. Here’s the June 2009 pollination report.
The strawberry bed is full of strawberries this year. In fact, the kids have already started raiding the bed each day. They will eat every berry they find. In addition to the large strawberries, we also have quite a few patches of alpine strawberries (red and yellow varieties) and these are ripening now as well.
We planted two new raspberry beds this year. We bought some new canes but also transplanted some existing canes that we had into the beds. While nowhere near ripe, you can see that the raspberries are forming nicely.
The blueberry crop is coming along nicely as well. I have about 10 blueberry bushes in varying stages of maturity. Two of the bushes are getting pretty large and are heavily loaded with berries this year.
The red currants have been ripening over the last week. The berries are tart, even when fully ripe, but the kids still love them and keep the bushes picked pretty clean.
The grape vine growing over the pergola is beginning to show fruit. Hopefully we’ll be able to eat more than we did last year when the birds stole the grapes just as they became fully ripe.
And as usual, the Shiro plum will have a heavy crop. This is by far the most reliable fruit tree I have growing.
Peach trees: I have two fairly established peach trees in the orchard. Between the two trees I have a grand total of one peach growing. Peaches are self-fertile so it can’t be a cross-pollination problem. I think the varieties simply bloom when it is too cold here for the bees. These two trees will probably be removed when I start the next phase of the garden bed expansion. The peach and nectarine trees I have in the greenhouse are likely to be more successful. I have three peaches going strong on the mini peach tree and one nectarine on that mini tree.
Pear trees: I have three trees. Two I just planted this year so I wouldn’t allow fruit to grow on them if fruit had set. The third pear is a little twig of a tree that has been in our yard for years. It is the remaining growth of a larger tree that mostly died back. The little twig is really perking up now and has four pears growing this year.
Cherry trees: I have three cherry trees. The pie cherry is a medium-sized tree that we transplanted this year (it had to be moved because of the greenhouse) so I have no expectations of a crop and am just hoping the tree doesn’t die. We also have a Ranier with a light crop and a new sweet cherry that won’t produce anything this year.
Apples: We have eight apple trees. Most are too young to set fruit. I do have a Winesap that has a few dozen fruit this year. Last year it had more, so I am wondering if I pruned it wrong this winter. The Gravensteins only have about a half-dozen fruit. These require cross-pollination with two other varieties, so I think the cross-pollination has been a bit problematic. The new trees I planted this year should help with this in the future however. I was hoping for a better apple crop than I am getting this year.
Plums: I already mentioned the Shiro and how well it is doing. I also have an Italian Prune with a light crop and newish Schoolhouse plum that has only one plum on the tree. The Italian Prune has been a disappointment the last few years. This is a fairly mature tree. We planted it at least five years ago. Two years ago we had a good crop. Last year was a bust. This year is a bit better, but just a bit. It is supposed to be self-fertile, but the fruit doesn’t seem to be setting well.
Kiwi: The kiwi vine growing up the pergola is looking great this year. Kiwis take a number of years to become establish. This one is about five years old, so it is possible we could start getting fruit from it this year. Fingers crossed!
Well, that’s about it for the pollination report. Definitely not the best year, but I do have a number of fruits and berries to look forward to as the summer progresses.