A Note from Farmer Al: February 25, 2019

 

Dear CSA Members,

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Just did a review of orchard bloom, to evaluate brown rot risk in the face of this coming week's stormy weather. Meteorologists are predicting an "Atmospheric River" will dump up to 9" of rain in some areas of the North Bay. Somehow, we here in Brentwood never got such massive amounts of rain, thankfully. Nevertheless, even small to moderate amounts of rainfall with temperatures in the Mid-50s can be enough to trigger the growth of the brown rot fungus in the delicate flowers, thus killing the flower and destroying the crop. Each variety has a different level of susceptibility to this dreaded disease! Apricots are the most vulnerable, by far. Today's blossom status is as follows.

• Apache Apricots: 80% Bloom, High Risk
• Kettleman Apricots: Popcorn Stage, High Risk
• Honeyrich Apricot: 80% Bloom, High Risk
• Golden Sweet Apricot: Red Bud, Moderate Rick
• Robada Apricot: Red Bud, High Risk (Very Susceptible)
• Helena Apricot: 5% Bloom, Moderate Risk
• Candy Cot Apricot: Still Dormant
• Cot N Candy Apricot: Still Dormant

• Dapple Dandy Pluot: 80% Bloom, Low-Moderate Risk
• Flavor King Pluot: Pink Bud Stage, Low-Moderate Risk
• Santa Rosa Pluot: Pink Bud Stage, Low Risk

On Friday we sprayed all the above with a potent fungal brew of compost tea, our hope is that the microbes in the tea will populate the tree's flowers and out-compete the brown rot fungus. We've tried it before and it works.

All the best,
Farmer Al