Kitchen Garden

Apple Blossom Worries

Apple Blossoms Before the Frost Click the photo to better see the blooms.

Apple blossoms began to open as news of an overnight freeze arrived.

I woke at 2 a.m. and checked the ambient temperature. 33 degrees — barely in the safe zone.

The impact of losing blooms before pollination would be another two years waiting for a crop.

The overnight forecast was a low of 29 degrees, which means there is a chance most of the buds will survive. These things are iffy, so I’ll go outside as soon as it is light and check the progress. Fingers crossed.

News from my fall job at the apple orchard arrived yesterday. They took out 500 trees from the oldest part of the orchard to be replaced with an as yet unannounced “season extender.” The orchard manager mentioned the challenges of starting a new fruit like raspberries, strawberries or blueberries in March at a Johnson County Food Policy Council panel on specialty crops. From the presentation I understand the new crop won’t be raspberries or strawberries, although I could just pick up the phone and call the owners and ask.

I ran into one of them at the warehouse club last week. Instead of the orchard, we talked about how the retail establishment used to sell dried mangoes of the kind they enjoyed while managing an orchard in China. Sadly, the supplier no longer carries that type, saying it is “unavailable from the distributor.” I confirmed my interest in working another season at the retail barn. She said they had already been discussing my return at a board meeting, so I had to come back. It is nice to feel needed, I think.

I could go another year without home grown apples if I have to. We have plenty of apple sauce, apple butter and apple cider vinegar to last. Working at the orchard is another source should frost take my blooms.

According to my weather app, the forecast changed to a low of 32 degrees since I began writing this post. Sunrise is at 6:06 a.m., in an hour and 20 minutes. As soon as dawn starts to break, I’ll be outside inspecting the blooms, hoping they made it through the night.

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