The weather here in Kansas is reminding me it is the end of October and the start of November. Orchardist are out of time in our fruit picking quest very soon. Lets wrap it up and toast to another year of succesful fruit growing. This year was the most challenging fruit growing year for many of us in Kansas due to drought, disease, and insect damage. We overcame those things and produced fruit anyway. Given a very bad circumstance we were again triumphant. The cream always rises to the top! Once again i’m reminded that the growingfruit.org community is the strongest fruit growing community that ever was in existence due to the knowledge we freely share with one another. Many times after joing this community it totally transforms fruit growing to a better experience for home and commercial orchardist alike. With the elements being what they were this year, my personal ongoing fight with health issues, and more than doubling my acreage it has been challenging to post as often as i would like to. My heart is still always with this community. Here is a look at our coming weather. Adversity is part of life , but i still feel God is always with all of us who toil in the dirt.
Finally got all our apples and pears in just ahead of the cold (currently about 19F) and now trying to figure out what to do with ~100 lbs. of apples that won’t fit into our fridges. We’re hoping for good weather on Tuesday to make cider, and I’ve cut up and frozen some for pie. I may dry a few sliced pears.
I didn’t weigh my one tree’s production but I would offer a conservative estimate of 300 lbs. Made two trips to the food bank, gave away a couple of dozen bags to neighbors.
Our apples ran small this year (not enough thinning again!) and we could have used more sun for better color and flavor. But we had a good long season, no hail, bear or racoon damage, and only lost a few to squirrels and birds and deer.
Discovered this year that if my tomatoes grow up against the fence and peek out the wire the deer will eat as much of each tomato as they can!
Still getting figs, raspberries, persimmons, and even a few everbearing strawberries.
I have like 25 figs bagged now.
We might get a light frost next week…
I have seen our first killing frost be as late as Dec 3 (ending figs and raspberries)… It happened early Nov last year.
We usually make it to Thanksgiving before the low 20s show up. This year there is not a lot left though as the deer again picked off most of the late apples. The trees keep getting taller but it seems like the deer are learning to reach ever higher. I still have one big loaded Yates tree which I will harvest in late November… that one is well above the deer.
I had a really good early year with apricots cherries and plums, but that is because they are all vigorous trees above the deer. The peaches didn’t do nearly as well as I am having trouble getting them high enough. I am switching next year to picking off fruit and getting them much higher, the limbs bend so much with the fruit that the trees need to be much much higher. I’ll get it there eventually. Pears mostly did well as they are also vigorous and above the deer.
Well said! Cheers! I think tomorrow is the norse new year, coinciding well with your post.
I wrapped it up yesterday. Dried the last of the figs and pulled off the remaining unripe fruit. Some would have made it but I’m buried in dried figs.
Today I’m setting the greenhouse up for chill cycle. That’s a month earlier than planned but the weather is cooperating. As Clarks graft says it’s turning cold. Nights in the 30s for 4-5 days. That makes for chilling in the GH as long as I can take the top off of daytime heat.
Next year I’ll be back into harvesting many more types of fruit. Maybe even a few mango.
Clark, I hope your health improves soon…!! We need all of your good cheer and positive attitude that we can get…!!!
I grabbed a couple of gallons of apples off of trees yesterday. Going to leave some Arkansas Black and see how they handle the cold blast. Being thicker skinned and a denser apple they might handle the sub freezing temperatures a bit better. It is going to warm back up in a few days.
Wrapped it up today i think. Left many bushels behind. Wanted to harvest a bushel for my winter supply.
All my fruit is picked except for some Idared apples. They are still hanging and will not release. I will give them another week and then I will clip them off if necessary. It was an odd year for fruit here.
- I just picked all my Idared apples off the tree today ( 10/30/23) since it was going to go down to 25 degrees here tonight and probably the next two nights as well*
Two weeks after your post and I’m still working to wrap things up.
I picked the last of the jujubes a couple days ago. At least, the last in any significant amounts- the last 6 pounds of the the 500+ for the season. Most of the last week was the last of the So, Sherwood, and Xu Zhou, as well as the “winter jujubes” Dong/Sandia which are just starting to ripen. But there was also a few of the early varieties left. Here’s a Honey Jar branch that got missed for some reason. It is probably a bit later than some of the Honey Jar (maybe fruit that set on new growth), but from how dark it is I let it hang quite a while.
I was out yesterday and picked a bunch of the last apples. I also picked 11.5 pounds of Darlene muscadines. That vine really put it in gear this year, as last year was it’s previous record with maybe 0.3 pounds. I don’t think they are anything special, with the best ones this year hitting ~14 brix. But my mom picked some a few weeks ago and really liked them, so it looks like she’ll be getting a big box of them the next time she stops by.
Of the above apples, Evercrisp is very good. Great texture and 20 brix. I didn’t thin the Golden Russets enough (any?) this year and the brix was only 16. Still decent, but not syrupy sweet like in past years.
There are still a few more apples on the trees, but most of them probably aren’t very good. Lots of Sundance and Goldrush which weren’t thinned enough and defoliated early. The only ones left which could be good are the Winston apples at the top of the tree- I didn’t have time to go lug the ladder over.
I’ve still been picking hardy kiwi as well. I actually brought 15 pounds of them to one of the vendors at the farmers market last weekend to sell and it seemed to go pretty well, even with them not looking that appealing. I guess there isn’t much soft fruit available at this time of year for them to compete with…Though people had to be assured they were edible and told how to eat them (remove stem, skin is OK to eat).
Most of the varieties (Jumbo, Issai, and Rossana) didn’t hold their texture. But Cordifolia is still very good. In addition to those I picked for the FM, I picked another 7lbs two days ago. I tested a couple and had 25 and 29 brix. The somewhat wrinkled, slightly soft, but not too soft ones are best. As you can see from the pic, the vine still has some left to pick.
I have not been thrilled with the picking conditions. Yesterday’s high of 45 was way too cold for me.
Your making us jealous! Those look delicious!
My last pick was yesterday from in-ground trees, pawpaws. I thought I would pick them ahead of the forecast of 27 F last night. It turned out it was lower at 22 F. Hard frost was everywhere this morning.
These were saved from becoming frozen pawpaws.
Well, then I should post a pic of what was really good…late season figs. This was a horrible year for figs, but I got a few right at the end of the season (a few days after you started this thread) which were very good. It’s the first year this variety has produced in-ground. I have it at 2 different locations and both were great.
You definitely have me beat- my pawpaws were done a month ago. And I never even picked any. I had some last year, but by the time I thought to look for them in mid October, some animal had eaten them all. The only thing I found was a few broken branches. I only have 2 pawpaw trees and don’t really like the fruit, so it wasn’t much of a loss, at least for me personally- I was going to give them to someone if they had still been there…
The late picking pawpaws did not have enough heat to improve their eating quality. I am done at having 2 pawpaw trees. I will try to graft earlier varieties on them.
When I eat good quality ones, I like pawpaws. When they tasted only passable, I am glad I grow just two trees.