We achieved organic certification this year. Throughout the whole season, we experienced a range of most unusual conditions. There was hail, fires and rain, well designed to upset something that started out so good to turn out to be a year we couldn’t wait to see over. It’s true, when mother nature slaps you in the face and leaves your fields decimated in the week before your first pick, it’s demoralising.
Then, the bushfires that stole the sun. As I look back on our drone photos and general farm photos (of which I have more of than of my children) I see the smoky haze that hung around for about two months. No bees, hot, dry, not much life because of the heavy smoke, and not much fruit.
We gathered momentum after the smoke finally left and the sunshine came, with a light trim of our plants and ready to welcome in the beautiful Autumn flush of fruit, where we could possibly recoup some crumbs for winter, mother nature had another plan.
Somehow those beautiful Autumn days didn’t happen. The still weather, the cool mornings and warm days just disappeared. Our warm days where the fruit was so close to picking turned cool very quickly, Covid turned up and the rain – well, over a 24 hour period we receive 137mm of rain and just like that – winter was upon us.
We didn’t get around to cutting the plants back like we normally do, and struggled throughout the season getting enough days to prepare the fields for next season, but the plants looked in great condition given the most unusual weather we’d had over the last 9 months.
This season started slow, the ground has been very cold. Come late October where we are, and our October glory maples still haven’t got all their leaves. The fruit is just starting to show signs of picking and the they are showing themselves to be the most heavily loaded plants I’ve seen.
Getting regular leaf testing and working closely with an agronomist would be our best decision we’ve taken as we work with people who understand nutrition of the plants and further, understand how timing is everything in getting the highest yields.
It’s been a remarkable few weeks and fingers crossed, there’s another post coming sharing some more of the new season.