[NAFEX] climate, weather and fruit

Mark Angermayer hangermayer at isp.com
Sun Jul 26 15:02:14 EDT 2009

I've enjoyed reading others ramblings about fruit growing, harvest, and
challenges, I offer some of my own.

We've had cooler weather than usual lately, and maybe slightly above average
rain for this time of year.  Earlier this summer we had one week of near 100
degree weather that hurt the blackberries.  After that early hot spell, a
lot of white druplet started showing up.  I was late getting the nets on the
blackberries, and the birds took most of the early ripening ones.  Green
June bugs have been thick here this year.  Was at a Kansas fruit conference
a week ago, and there was a lot of complaining about Green June bugs.  To
keep them off the blackberries, I've had spray at three to four day
intervals alternating with Assail and Mustang Max (both have a 1 day PHI on
berries).  Probably some organic folks rolling their eyes, but spraying is a
fact of life if you want fruit around here.

Like the rest of the Midwest, we've had our share of fireblight on pears
here.  I'm done planting highly fireblight suspceptible cultivars.  You wait
all that time for pears to bear, and then risk losing entire trees in a bad
year?  Not worth the frustration.

Found it interesting some of you in the eastern U.S. are having problems
with leaf spot, and early blight on tomatoes.  That's the norm around here.
The vines burn up, from the bottom up.  I've seen several high tunnels now,
and am convinced commercial production in the Midwest is headed that way.
By keeping the rain off, they have much less fungal issues.  One guy last
week said his high tunnels produce twice the amount of tomatoes, and of the
tomatoes produced, twice as many are number ones, so he gets 4X the number
one tomatoes.  The consensus seems to be tunnels have a one year payback.
Folks growing raspberries in them, claim that by keeping the rain off, it
gives the fruit a much longer shelf-life.

Canned lots of salsa yesterday and more blackberry syrup.  Canning what we
can't sell and eat.  I'm having a problem with the blackberry syrup.  The
natural pectin in the fruit wants to cause the syrup to gel.  I'm using
about 6 parts strained juice, and 4 parts sugar, plus a little citric acid.
I hate to back off the sugar, or the cooking time, for safety issues.  I
wonder if adding a very small amount of pineapple juice would prevent the
pectin from jelling?


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