Posted on

Apple Blossoms

I love seeing blossoms on my fruit trees. It means that I have a chance to harvest fruit this fall. It means that there will be food for a whole bunch of pollinators like Honey bees, Mason bees, Bumble bees. Now, I just need them to show up! Of course if they do show up in droves, I will be thinning fruit like crazy because there are a bazillion flowers this year, and if all of them set fruit –WOW!

Ideally, from a farmer’s perspective, about 50% pollination would be great. It would take less time to hand thin and the fruit would be able to “size” up quicker! Hand thinning takes a ton of time and is very monotonous; however, thinning translates to larger fruit because there is less competition for the nutrients!

This year our neighbor is no longer raising Honeybees and so I am trying Mason bees. Mason bees (from all the information I have been reading) are excellent pollinators. The challenge with this spring is that it has been really erratic and the blossoms on the trees are out in front of the pollinators. It will be interesting to see how much fruit actually sets, based on the earlier bloom time this season.

In our pear block, the Kosui Asian pears were way out in front of the Conference pears. Normally, they are supposed to cross pollinate each other. It looks like the Bosc Pears will be blooming with the Conference pears though – something else that normally doesn’t happen. These last two might cross pollinate each other which rarely happens.  Farming!?!?!?!

It is the most beautiful and disheartening thing to see all the blossoms but not have pollinators out in force. As a farmer, I really have very little control of the environment. I can prune on time, I can fertilize, I can even plan for my neighbors exit from beekeeping, but in the larger picture, I humbly submit to you that my part is very small. I tend to roll with what nature brings me, I do plan and I will mitigate, but for the most part I am working with nature and its natural laws.

Really, no matter what I do and probably what you do, we shouldn’t put too much emphasis on our part, but do the best we can with what we got and leave the rest to the Lord.

May there be fruit to harvest this fall!