It seems that showers in March bring April showers which will eventually bring us May flowers , or so it seems as this growing season begins. To quote Raymond, “March came in like a lion and went out like a lion”. It has certainly been cool, overcast and the misty sprinkles and rain certainly present a few challenges .
We heard there may have been some hail earlier in the week and fortunately it didn’t come our way. Hail this time of year could create damage to the very young immature fruit that is just beginning to form. The damage would not be evident immediately but as ripening occurs it would leave blemishes on the fruit making it very unappealing to the customer. It does not destroy the fruit but it can weaken it therefore making it susceptible to disease. Unfortunately there is not protection from the hail.
Rain doesn’t actually knock the fruit off the tree as we often hear. Damp weather and rain at the wrong time for the farmer can cause the tree fruit to develop “brown rot”. This destructive disease is caused by the growth and spread of the monilinia spore. If the brown rot isn’t stopped or better yet prevented from growing it will destroy the fruit. The proactive treatment is to use a Copper spray. Timing is everything, so to speak, to stop the growth of the spore. If the rain continues the farmer must be on his toes (as well as on his tractor!) to maintain a spray program in an effort to fend off the spore and prevent brown rot and its devastating effects.
Another troublesome disease for the fruit trees is the infamous, “PEACH LEAF CURL” caused by the spoe Taphrina deformans. This is perhaps more familiar to people as many folks have fruit trees in their back yard. The key to prevention of this pest is to spray Copper while the fruit tree is dormant to kill the spore before the tree begins to leaf out. If the spray is missed the spore will spread and curl the leaves as seen in the picture. It is to no avail once the disease is on the tree. The tree will eventually outgrow the disease once the damaged leaves dry and fall off.
Fortunately we have the protection of the hoop-house for our vegetable seedlings. The peppers and tomatoes are off to a great start and once the soil warms up and creates a nurturing environment for the young plants they will be transplanted. The garlic and onions have been in for some time and seem to be able to ward off whatever changes mother nature throws our way. Beets, carrots and potatoes are in the ground and waiting for the inviting warmth of late spring to break through the soil.
We are fortunate the California weathe provides the perfect climate for growing and therefore allows Erickson Ranch to continue to bring prime produce for our customers. We realize we have absolutely no control over Mother Nature and therefore it is a waste of our time and energy to complain or spend valuable time worrying about it. Much too much has to be done! It seems every year, without fail, something doesn’t grow as we had intended . Chalk it up to another year and move forward is our motto.
We look forward to seeing our returning customers and welcome new visitors. Our intention is to provide you and your family with a genuine family farm visit and a taste of the best Suisun Valley has to offer.