Right Now in the Ambrosia Apple Orchard
Countdown to Harvest at Raza Orchard
It may be boring but when it comes to farming, ‘normal’ is one of the best ways for a season to be. That’s the case so far this year for the Ambrosia apple growing season.
According to Tahir Raza of Raza Orchard in Vernon, everything is just as it should be in the orchard right now. The weather has been perfect this summer with warm days and mild nights which allow the apples to grow at a steady pace.
The Okanagan Valley is known for having extremely high temperatures in the summer (sometimes over 40° C) which is not always good for the apples. Plus, if it’s too sunny, the apples may get a sunburn. But this year, the weather has been perfect. Most of the days have been in the high twenties and low thirties.
“With the weather, I like to see warmer days, mid twenties, and cooler nights. I hope this continues until harvest,” says Tahir.
This year has also been good for bugs. Pests can affect how well Ambrosia apples grow. For example, mites like to eat the leaves of an apple tree. This causes the tree to send its energy to the damaged leaves and that takes energy away from the apples.
Tahir says that the mite count has been low this year and he’s also happy to report that the codling moth count has also been very low. Both of these bode well for the upcoming harvest.
Speaking of harvest, Tahir says that he expects the Ambrosia apples to be ready for picking right on time. Ambrosia apples are usually harvested in late September and that looks to be the case this year.
In the next month, Tahir will be watching the weather, keeping an eye out to make sure there aren’t any mites or codling moth issues, and he’ll be watching for the Ambrosia apples to acquire their signature rosy red and yellow colours.
“They are still totally green,” reports Tahir, “we will start to see colour in a few weeks.”
Over the next month, the apples will grow in size and change colours. Once they do, he will start testing maturity so that he can harvest them at the optimal time.
If the weather remains good, and the pests stay away, we should have a wonderful Ambrosia apple harvest this September. Knock on wood. Or, should we say knock on an Ambrosia tree?