Peaches and nectarines were another early indicator, with some varieties starting their blooms in January. At this point even the latest-maturing varieties are well into their bloom. This is three weeks earlier than last year — and last year was earlier than normal. Unless the weather changes quite dramatically, which it very well still could, we are expecting to start harvest in May. A late frost could damage some of the fruit, but right now there are lots of tiny peaches and tons of blossoms.
Our Strawberry field has pushed out its first blossoms, and there are already small green fruit. We normally expect ripe fruit around 6 weeks after the first flowers, so it’s possible you will see them in your boxes by the third week of April. This is about the same time we began harvest last year — which was our earliest berry season ever.
Grapes are also a month ahead of schedule right now. We normally wait to prune the vines until about now, since rain after pruning can bring disease into the fresh cuts. But with buds pushing out early, we were forced to start in late February between the storms. Now we are racing to catch up.
|Grapes starting to leaf out|
As I mentioned in another newsletter, we also planted the first Tomatoes in February, two weeks early. Luckily the wet weather that followed wasn’t too cold, and it’s been warm ever since. I can’t say the little plants look exactly happy, but they should quickly start growing with 80 degree weather forecast for this weekend. If all goes well you could easily see a few tomatoes in your boxes in just over two months.
As the old adage goes, March often has a bad tendency towards schizophrenia, and this winter’s weather has already given us a very painful case of whiplash once. In past years, we have lost peaches and tomatoes to heavy rains and strong wind in late March. And a frost on April 5th burned the grapes just a few years back.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that spring sticks around until, um, Spring.