July has been a month with lack of rain, but plentiful of crop! We were grateful to finally have some rain at the end of this month. Things were getting really dry and even the trees needed a good watering. Peaches especially need water and with the proper water timing, will size substantially a couple weeks before harvest. Peaches swell very quickly as we get closer to harvest, unlike apples which grow at a consistent rate. We are in the process of summer pruning our peach trees, which allows more sunlight into the tree, to the peaches, so that they can change from green to yellow with more color. We grow many varieties of peaches, with our earliest variety coming into the farm market within a week. As far as pick your own, we are looking at opening day more towards the beginning of August.
There have been an abundance of blueberries ripening due to the heat we have been experiencing. We have a really nice crop with pick your own in full swing. There are ample berries for both pick your own and the farm market, so come on out and get some! Raspberries are coming along well. We frequently get the question as to why we do not have them earlier in the year, more specifically in June. The reason is because our raspberries are considered “fall” berries. It really has nothing to do with the variety itself, but more about the way they are pruned. Most farms will alternate pruning canes, leaving some of last years canes. By doing this you get “summer” berries which are available sooner. Here at Bishop’s we cut our canes down to the ground in winter, leaving them to essentially start all over again and bring us later into the season. Our berries will start arriving into the farm market hopefully middle of August.
We are planting caliente mustard. This is something we used to incorporate for an organic matter, as well as a natural fumigate to control soil bourne diseases and organisms. We have also begun renovating strawberries on the farm. Strawberries only have production profitability for 3-4 years, but every year you still need to mow the tops of the plants down, and then use a cultivator to cut and narrow the rows to maintain. Apples and pears are looking great for the fall season, we are just holding out for more rain from good ole’ mother nature! If you feel obliged, do a rain dance with Bishop’s Orchards in your thoughts!