[NAFEX] climate, weather and fruit

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Sat Jul 25 17:29:18 EDT 2009

If this was a meteorological forum a continuing debate about man-made
climate change would be apropos (although in that group it seems the debate
is mostly over for reasons that are debated by non-experts).  I suppose that
when a new story comes out suggesting the affects of this change on fruit
production it is appropriate to let us all see it.  Most of the follow-up
flurry seems to me like a waste of space here, although you can always come
up with a slightly new angle in the debate, such as how experts have been
wrong before and such.  I am always tempted to debate such assertions if I
disagree with them but I think another forum should be used for the task.

We are in the midst of a very unusual growing season- this is about weather
and not climate.  I'd like to know how everyone is doing getting their fruit
up to harvest.  Here we are having way, way too much rain and relatively
cool weather (they'll be no "where's the climate change" jokes here).
Tomatoes are almost impossible with blight already shrinking most of the
vines after ripening too little fruit.  Peppers are sadly stunted but
shaping up for some kind of harvest.  Anything green is big and green with
peas, chard, squash, broc and anything not needing a lot of heat thriving.

I finally harvested a decent crop of apricots, mostly Alfreds, on my own
site after years of disappointment.  They are too small and ugly for
commercial purposes but are rich and quite tasty.  My micro climate
definitely does not favor this species although nearby clients have much
more productive trees.  The reason they are ugly is partially because they
are Alfreds and partially because I used no fungicide.  That they didn't rot
this season is a testament of some resistance, I think.  Alfreds are very
small and not highly colored so probably relatively unattractive to birds
and squirrels.

Blueberries and raspberries are loving the rain and still manage to be
flavorfull and amazingly productive.

This is the first year that I should have squirted some Orbit or Indar on my
Methely plums as the brown-rot is terrible- glad I treat my clients with a
more intense program.  Methely is usually early enough to ripen without this
help here.  The Shiros are starting to ripen with a lot of cracking on the
fruit closest to time- not a good sign but absolutely expected.

Harrow Diamond peaches are small and also suffering a bit for lack of BR
control but some are fairly good, although with all the cloud cover and
rain, not as good as usual.  Early Majic Jap. plum is not as much like Santa
Rosa as Hiltop advertised, at least under these adverse conditions.  It's
more like a tarter Shiro with some blush on some and full red color on
others.  Only the first few fruit have ripened so it's too early even to
evaluate even for one season.  There's no rot, but I sprayed them.  There's
also no cracking, which spray can't stop.  I realize that one season is only
evidence anyway.

I wonder if my Redhavens will get up any sugar this year- last they were as
bland and beautiful as a stereotype Malibu blond.  Fruit can't get away with
just being good looking, however- well maybe for a single season.

I haven't done any mowing around my orchard trees lately, hoping it will
help get up the brix in spite of all the surplus water.

I'll keep you all posted, there's a lot to come and the drama mounts.  Will
the nectarines be hopelessly cracked?  Will late peaches have time to
ripen?  Will the surplus water turn my apples into tree cucumbers?  Stay
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