Calling this post the "Crop Report" brings back all sorts of fun memories. Growing up, I remember that our supper table at home was always one of great boisterous chattering and laughing. There are 5 siblings in my family and every single one of us seems to have become great story-tellers. Those skills were honed from infancy around our kitchen table, where my parents always encouraged us to talk about what we had done at school, who we had met, and whatever trivia was important enough to us that we wanted to share it when we got home.
It's not to say we weren't taught manners. My Mum (who actually loves to eat with her fingers!) made us eat properly with knife in right-hand and fork in left. We even had to formally ask for permission if we wish to be excused from the table when we were finished our meal. And we certainly were NOT allowed to talk with our mouths full. But still, supper was not a quiet time, it was a loud, noisy interlude in our day when we all felt free to talk as much as we wanted and for the most part, had our parents' full attention.
With one exception. In the summertime, when the CBC Crop Report came on the radio, we immediately had to quieten. My father only had to put up one finger and say "Quiet!" in a stern voice, and instant hush fell into the room. We would listen quietly as the crop report was given and then invariably my Dad would give some commentary on that day's crop report. Then all would return to normal and we'd be busy yakking away as usual.
Anyway, consider this a hushed moment in the middle of your noisy weekend, because I'm about to give our very own Crop Report.
First the BAD news:
Some evil monster has snipped off THREE of our pepper plants and left them to die a miserable death, shriveled in the sun, separated at the base of the plant from the roots that would give it life! I suspect it is one of those @#!% blackbirds that have been pooping with wild abandon in our swimming pool. @#!% blackbirds!!!
Next, somebunny has been nibbling off all the tops of our beet greens!
Wretched cute furry little things! I'm feeling surprisingly in tune with my inner Mr. McGregor and Elmer Fudd! @#?% rabbits!
And finally on the Bad News front:
Our five peach trees have been hit very hard with curly leaf this year. Here's a close-up picture that will show you how they are affected:
You can see the dead leaves in amongst the healthy second set. The good news is that they seem to be making a good come-back with a healthy second set of leaves and fruit. We will baby the trees along this summer as this type of disease makes them particularly vulnerable to winter kill. My husband and I are debating whether or not we should get rid of all the fruit right now so that the trees don't have to spend their energy on producing fruit. We can always get peaches from my brother who grows acres and acres of them. But, of course, it is a difficult decision to make because we really do love having our own peaches.
Now on to the Good News section of today's crop report.
Our white cherries are ripe and absolutely delicious! This tree in particular is absolutely loaded with fruit.
I am particularly fond of white cherries as they are so tangy! Here's a close-up.
And some of our black cherry varieties look they will be ready to pick by the end of this week or early next. I just hope we don't get a big rain storm late this week that will split all those lovely cherries like popcorn!
The rain we've had up until now has been very welcome. Look at how the pears have sized up already! The rain has been very good for them. These Bartletts are already about 3 inches in length.
Looks like we'll have a good plum crop this year too. Our shiro plums are doing well, although we did lose a number of trees this winter. Not sure why really, since the shiros at my parents' farm would grow forever into huge gnarly old trees, but for some reason on our farm they don't have the same long life. Maybe it's the difference between our sandy loam and my parents' heavy clay soil. But the trees that remain are healthy and strong and have produced a lovely crop so far. Hope we don't get hail or anything between now and the time they ripen. They are another crop, like cherries, that can split if there is a huge rainfall when they are close to being picked.
Our early golden plums are looking wonderful:
As are our stanley prunes, especially since these trees are only 3 years old. They are producing magnificently for such young trees.
I had a discussion with my brother and sister-in-law (who are full-time farmers) and we decided not to thin our apricots even though there is a heavy crop. There are just so many things that can go wrong with apricots, causing some of them to be unmarketable. Also, if we thin them, they will get quite huge and not too many people want really huge apricots. So we've left them alone for now, but as you can see, there are clusters of them growing this year. Apricots are funny trees in that they usually have two or three years of a light crop to every year of a heavy crop. Looks like this year is the heavy crop year!
And on the garden front, everything (including the weeds) are growing like weeds! Well, with the exception of the aforementioned pepper plants and beet greens. The red currants are almost ready to pick.
And our little mystery plant (see this past blog post for more details), is really taking off. I still don't know what it is. Any guesses?
Well, that's it for the Crop Report today. You can all go back to chattering up a storm around the Sunday Dinner table. Hope you are having a good conversation with your loved ones, listening to the things that are on their hearts, and having time to share those that are on yours!