The summer brought a bounty of fruit this year.
Early summer started with a good crop of blackberries. The blackberries usually ripen in June and with three varieties, produce for three or four weeks.
Our blueberries produced a modest crop. I had to replace approximately a third of the bushes last fall because of the heat and drought of the previous two years that had taken their toll. I removed the drip lines that irrigated the blueberry bushes and replaced them with pop-up spray heads. The drip lines were not reliably getting adequate moisture to the plants. As a result of the spray heads, the bushes have done much better this year through the summer heat.
We had only a small plum harvest this year. From seven trees, I probably only harvested 15 - 20 fruit. There were several more on the trees, but the varmits got to them. We had a huge crop of plums last year, and I think that caused the trees to take this year off to recuperate.
We will not get many apples this year. The varmits really go after our apples. They got almost all of the early ripening fruit. However, I did harvest a couple of beautiful, small, red Williams Pride apples, which is a very early season variety.
Nevertheless, our peach crop was enormous. That is the benefit of having a lot of different kinds of fruit trees and bushes. Invariably, each year, certain fruits just will not produce anything. As disappointing as that may be if you have some favorites, you are almost guaranteed to be successful with other fruits in that same year if you have several kinds of fruit growing.
Whereas the plums were our banner "crop" last year, the peaches won the prize this year.
We have five mature peach trees and two young trees. The five mature trees really put on a show.
The Jefferson, Springold, and Ranger trees are very vulnerable to varmits because the varmits can get to them easily without being seen or exposed. Consequently, the birds, squirrels, and possums are fat this year from eating so many peaches. However, the Sentinel and Redhaven are more exposed, and we were able to harvest the majority of their peaches before any animals got to them.
The peaches ripened four weeks later than they have in prior years. Dallas had late freezes this year in late March and early April, and I think this caused the later harvest.
The two photographs above are of the Sentinel tree. You can see the branches weighted down by the fruit. I probably should have thinned the fruit earlier in the year, but I did not do it because I did not know how much of the fruit would be shared with with critters. If we get this big of a harvest next year, I will thin the trees more.
The photographs above and below are of the Redhaven tree. One of the main branches really bowed under the weight of the fruit. I also suspect that the weight of a climbing possum caused it to bow even more.
The photograph below really shows how prolific the trees were.
I tend to harvest the fruit when they give a little to touch. The Sentinel peaches below had less red blush than the Redhaven.
Our fig trees were also very prolific. We have five fig trees, but only two of them are very mature. The nursery mislabelled the two mature trees, but as I have mentioned in the past, I think they are Lattarula/Italian Honey figs. They ripened over a three to four week period in July. When ripe, they get bright yellow and have an amber interior. They are very sweet. Some of them weep a milky liquid when picked, as you can see with a couple of them in the photograph below.
We also had a very large pear crop. It was a crop of impressive, huge pears.
We have four mature Orient, Warren, Monterrey, and Moonglow trees. We also have four young Pineapple, Kieffer, Seckle, and Magness trees.
The Warren, Monterrey, and Moonglow all produced only a few fruit, but the Orient tree was the real star of the summer. It probably produced about fifty 10-14 ounce fruit, some of which are in the photographs below.
As with planting a lot of different types of fruit, you also benefit from planting several varieties of the same type of fruit. In addition to helping with pollination, you never know which tree is going to have a good year. If you increase the number of varieties in your "orchard", you increase your chances of success.