Garden Monday- Apples/Ontario, Sea of Blue and Plants Swap..

Well, we all worried that this would happen, and here is the lastest news.. Sigh..

“A catastrophic freeze has wiped out about 80 per cent of Ontario’s apple crop  and has the province’s fruit industry looking at losses already estimated at  more than $100 million.

“This is the worst disaster fruit growers have ever, ever experienced,”  orchard owner Keith Wright said Friday.

“We’ve been here for generations and I’ve never heard of this happening  before across the province. This is unheard of where all fruit growing areas in  basically the Great Lakes area, in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York State,  Ontario, are all basically wiped out. It’s unheard of,” the Harrow, Ont.-area  grower said.

Wright lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of apples and peaches last  Sunday when freezing temperatures killed the blossoms.

Warm temperatures got fruit trees blooming early and when temperatures  plummeted it damaged or wiped out much of the $60 million apple crop and 20 to  30 per cent of Ontario’s $48 million tender fruit crop, which includes peaches,  cherries, pears, plums and nectarines.

Brian Gilroy, a Georgian Bay area apple grower who is chairman of the Ontario  Apple Growers, said the loss to fruit growers and the economy will easily be  more than $100 million. On top of the lost yield or no crop at all, orchard  workers and spinoff industries such as juice, packing, storage and farm supplies  will be affected.

Gilroy said consumers will find locally grown apples pricey and difficult to  find this fall. Some kinds of apples such as Empire will be very difficult to  find.

Washington State has a good crop but consumers should expect apple prices to  jump because all of northeastern North America was affected, he said.

What crop growers do get will likely have visible damage such as apples with  ridges like the ones on pumpkins.

“This past weekend in southwestern Ontario and the Niagara region  temperatures got down to close to -7 (C) while things were out in full bloom and  it’s pretty well wiped them out,” Gilroy said of orchards already hit by  previous frosts. “It’s very widespread and the worst that anybody’s seen.”

Gilroy said about 65 per cent of the 215 commercial apple growers in Ontario  have crop insurance but the disaster has the board approaching the provincial  and federal governments for help under an agri-recovery program.

Some growers across Ontario have also lost entire orchards of peaches, sour  cherries, pears, plums and nectarines, said Phil Tregunno, chairman of the  Ontario Tender Fruit Producers Marketing Board.

It depended on location. The board is estimating 20 to 30 per cent of that  $48 million crop is done.

“It was just way too early,” Tregunno said of blossom season that came about  a month early. “That just put us at a huge risk.”

Dave Nickels of Nickels Orchards in Ruthven, Ont., said he lost all his  apples, peaches, cherries and pears. He said when talking to other growers you  can’t even get a word out of them because they’re just sick.

“It’s kind of like having a death in the family except there’s no closure to  this one,” Nickels said.

In some varieties there is still a chance to get some apples. In early June,  trees shed excess fruit as a natural thinning process and growers will have to  wait to see if shocked trees will drop all their fruit, Wright said.”

For myself, I am sitting ok at the moment, my plum and cherry’s are just now starting to bloom, and the night time temps are looking good, my apple tree’s are behind the plums/cherries.  Still, I typically wild pick a fair amount of local apples, it will be interesting to see if my local wild apple tree’s got hit or were slower to go like my own tree’s on the farm where.

So I arrived home yesterday to a sea of blue that had overtaken a huge sections my garden LOL, my hubby decided to spread out thick heavy blue tarps and weight them down over whole sections of my garden to help start killing off the green cover for ease of planting over the next few weeks, I am unsure  if this will do what he thinks but regardless the soil will certianly warm under it.

This weekend, put a few miles on the van and headed out to meet Deb at a half way point between our places and had a lovely lunch with her and her DH, and then we had a great plant swap of all kinds of great green goodies..

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5 Responses to Garden Monday- Apples/Ontario, Sea of Blue and Plants Swap..

  1. Just when I got my boys interested in apples too…damn. I wondered if we would end up paying for that warm spell in March. I’d rather this not be my answer. Congrats on the plant swap though! Sounds like fun!

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Hey FarmGal, thanks for the gift of goodies this weekend (can’t wait to use my mint sauce for what it’s actually intended; ) and everyone seems pretty perky after a reviving drink of willow “tea”.
    Not sure why we’ve escaped it, but you and I seem to be part of an anomaly in the province? All of our apple, cherry and pear trees are full out as well as the Saskatoon and current bushes.
    News flash!! Just as I was going to hit “post comment”, spotted the male Oriole flitting around the Purple Sandcherry then fly back to the old maples in the hedgerow, so there must be a nectar flow on right now. : )

  3. calliek says:

    Heartbreaking isn’t it? I’ve been anxiously watching all my favourite fruti picking trees to see if they survived the cold. Last year my cherry tree produced almost nothing because of heavy rain during pollination period- this year seeemd to be okay but not sure if anything survived the cold. Time will tell.

  4. Verla Sharp says:

    And here I am out in Alberta where the trees are just starting to bud, jealous because you were having such warm temperatures and everything was growing so beautifully. Sorry to hear about all the losses but hope your garden continues to fluorish!

  5. My farmer has already told me “Expect plenty of seconds this year”. Remember when I was doing nonstop canning and drying of apples? Now I’m glad I did. I still have a decent supply of strawberries, apples and peaches.

    I just reminded Mr D of what you said about aiming for two-year supply in everything.

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