Who would've thought it, snow in Central Otago just after New Year, then this long hot dry summer? We are currently watering things often. We are so glad we had room for a 6000 L rainwater tank to augment our town supply, but the weather doesn't bode well for all the people out there with rainwater only. That's where all that mulch around fruit trees will be helping now.
We got to eat a hand full of cherries off our "Stella" tree. We had to cover them a long time before they were even vaguely ripe, so both the humans and the wood pigeons could avoid the temptation to eat them before they were really sweet and ready.
Our "Moorpark" apricot tree dropped all its fruit around Christmas time, and I bet it had wished it hung onto them, now that the summer turned out to be such a hot one. They are of course pretty borderline in this climate, so we may get a crop one year in five, and it will be much appreciated.
There are good crops of apples and pears on the the WOO trees around Waitati, (for such small trees), and I have noticed good crops on the roadside trees everywhere, so it's looking good for the apple crushing market days on the 17 March and 13 April. Bring apples/ buy juice, and note that the April market will be held at the A&P show.
An update on the "War on Fungal Disease": I sprayed downy mildew on the cucumbers with a mild baking soda solution, and even just the slightest change in PH was enough to be surprisingly effective. This would explain why it is suggested to use either mild alkaline, or mild acid (vinegar) sprays. An organic orchardist we spoke to in Earnscleugh told us that they were using a spray based on citrus extracts for fungal disease, and this was totally compatible with organic certifiers.