It’s going to be 70 degrees on Thursday. That’s weird for us. But it’s even weirder for peach and plum trees. Consistent warm weather makes fruit trees believe that it’s spring, so they start budding or even flowering way too early. Then when the temperature plumets shortly after, it does some serious damage to the delicate young buds. And if there are flowers, those flowers die before pollination can occur. That means no peaches or plums. It’s also the main reason why local apricots are hard to come by. Apricots are early bloomers in general. They’re not ideal for our area, but once every few years we get lucky.
On Sunday Nathan from Sharrah Orchard made a delivery of apples. We talked about all this. His peaches are showing signs that they’re going to start budding. In fact fruit trees have already started budding at orchards in Maryland. He seemed oddly calm. “Not much I can do about it,” he told me.
When I had a farm I’d get anxious about things I couldn’t control: a forecast of rain during a farmers market; no rainfall when the crops desperately needed it; and the darn groundhog outsmarting me at every turn…all sources of much stress for me. I wanted the backyard farming experiment to be successful, after all, and these factors beyond my control often got in the way. So Nathan’s calm attitude toward the possibility that his entire crop could fail this year struck me enough to share it with you (without concluding it with a wise cliché anecdote).
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