Phillips Orchards & Cider Mill

  (Saint Johns, Michigan)
Life on the Farm
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Peaches - Thinning and Crossing our Fingers

Thursday I'm calling the peach thinning for the year about 90% complete.  I've thinned all the peaches twice already, but as they continue to grow, you always notice some that should have been thinned, so we'll have a little touch up thinning to do over the next month or so.  The fruit set was much lighter this year compared to last season.  I believe this was due to several freeze events during and shortly after bloom that reduced the fruit set.  When I did the first pass of thinning on the 3 year old peach trees, I thought we would have a nice crop on them, however now it's looking quite a bit lighter.  Hopefully as they continue to grow, the crop will look better.  The older trees have a better crop.  This is probably because they are higher off the ground, and therefore withstood the cold nights better.

Now I need to figure out how to keep the deer out of the young peach trees. Last year, they ate almost every peach off our young trees, just a day or so before I was ready to pick them.  I'm resigned to the fact that a real deer fence will be the ultimate solution, but I'll have to come up with something in the next month or so to give us a fighting chance this season.

Tomatoes - Red, Yellow & Roma

Wednesday was tomato planting day.  We decided to recycle the black plastic mulch we used last year for melons and get another crop on it before it's pulled up.  So we transplanted the tomatoes right back on the plastic from last season.  We'll see how it goes, but getting two seasons out of the mulch seemed like a great idea.  We planted 4 varieties of red tomatoes, one variety of yellow tomato and of course some Roma tomatoes.  So, in a couple months we should start having some awesome fresh tomatoes.

Pumpkins are in the Ground

The weather has certainly warmed up and we have the pumpkins, winter squash and gourds all planted.  This year we planted approximately 1 acre of pumpkins and squash.  So the battle to keep the deer, woodchucks, etc. from doing too much damage.  We've planted several new varieties of winter squash this year, so with some luck we'll have some great new treats come August & September.
 
 
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