We have just opened for our 2019 pick your own season on Friday 7th June, so it is a good time to tell you what has been going on with the fruit at Maynards over the winter and spring. Lots of pruning, planting and tending the crops as usual and the results depending as much on the weather as our efforts.
Fortunately the weather has been pretty kind so far this year (you don’t often hear farmers say that) with enough chill in the winter to satisfy the requirements of most fruit plants, no damaging spring frosts, and sufficient rain to fill the soil but not cause waterlogging. A few more showers in May would have been useful but we are catching up with rain this week.The cool weather after pollination has reduced the crop on some plum varieties but you can’t have everything.
The strawberry crop looks good and with the range of varieties we have it should go on for 6 or 7 weeks. We are currently planting another field (in early June) which may also give another crop in August if all goes well. Our irrigation reservoir only has limited capacity so we are not yet using the water, but the fruit is making a good size.
Last year the gooseberries looked quite sick and I thought they were dying, but this year they have come back with the best crop ever. Gooseberry fool all round!
Raspberries were a complete disaster in 2018 so we have done a lot of planting this spring of both summer and autumn fruiting types. They are establishing well but most of the production will not start until 2020. However we should get a reasonable crop through late July, August and September this year. Tayberries and blackberries also look good.
We are still on quite a learning curve with apricots. They are very susceptible to bacterial disease in our damp climate and we have had to prune out a lot of dead branches, but at least there is a crop there which should ripen in July. We will continue to plant them as they are so popular and at least we know which varieties to avoid.
The cherry crop in the old orchard looks great at the moment (including the morellos), so we will be putting lots of effort into avoiding the perils of birds, cherry fly, splitting and so on over the next few weeks for a mouth -watering harvest in July. You will also see that we have constructed new netting systems over the orchards we have planted over the last 3 years (a small amount of fruit to be had this year) and planted a brand new orchard of late cherries for the future.
Blackcurrants and redcurrants look good, and with our production for Ribena (including the new Frusion drink) we will not be short of fruit for the public.
Some of the early plums are short of crop, especially my favourite, Lancelot. There was good blossom and bees working at the right time, but it was probably too cold in May when the fruit was setting. Anyway we should have a 10 week plum season from early August.
Apples are looking good, as are the pears and nuts. More on the autumn crops later.
We are looking forward to seeing you picking again this year.