June first the beginning of hurricane season, let’s not start there. The beginning of blueberry season, that’s better. We picked the first blues yesterday and they are really loaded up! This first pass doesn’t yield much and is very tedious to do, the temptation is to pick anything that shows color but we try and only pick the fully blue fruit. It is sort of a mental training exercise so that later in the season you automatically get the best ones. We want to make sure that these first berries are fully ripe and sweet, in a few days they will begin to ripen so fast that we won’t have to be so careful and also will not be able to keep up. Many folks who come to the farm ask why the blueberry rows are so far apart. We originally planned on having twice as many bushes and left room for a row in between the existing rows so we could plant some different varieties to act as pollinators for the variety we have. Most blueberries (and fruit trees too) need a different but similar season variety to cross pollinate with to be able to set fruit. This southern highbush variety that we grow turns out to be self fruiting (a trait that the researchers where not completely sure about when we planted them) so we never got around to planting the additional rows. It turns out that blueberries are so time consuming to harvest that the idea of having twice as many just scares us to death! It takes five or six people harvesting every morning, five days a week to keep up with the ripening berries, and it is only 200 plants!
In the meantime we fall far behind on all the other farm chores. This year with the delayed first harvest we have been trying to get certain jobs done before time runs out, with some success. We have gotten a lot of weeding and cultivating done as well as flower trellising and planting but as usual there are still far too many things that will need to be done during the hectic peak weeks of blueberry season. We add on additional help during this period and keep them on for a few days after the season so they can help us catch up, let’s hope we can!
Let’s hope it rains this week as it is getting very dry out there and we are already pumping lots of water. The pond is already getting low and the creek we back it up with is beginning to slow down too. Fortunately as cool as it has been we are only watering every other day but with the forecast for hot weather coming in this weekend we may have to go to daily irrigation. The turkeys made there outdoors debut this last week. They are always very tentative the first time they are exposed to anything new, now they are acting like old hands including a few bad actors flying over the fence! One more week in the brooder at nights and then they graduate to the fields full time.