Right Now in the Ambrosia Apple Orchard
The Ambrosia apple blossoms have all dropped, the bees have done their job, and it’s time to make sure that the fruit has an opportunity to grow to its full potential.
We connected with Railou Gill of Gill Paradise Orchard to find out more about what’s happening right now in the orchard. He chatted with us after a long day of thinning and spraying.
“Very good,” says Railou of how things are looking so far in his Ambrosia orchard. “Seems like it’s all good. We’ve got a good crop on.”
By that, he means that a good number of blossoms were pollinated by the bees and he is starting to see the little fruitlets form. You have to get up close to really see what he’s talking about. Little tiny green knobs (that don’t look at all like apples yet) have formed where the blossoms used to be.
However, many of Railou’s Ambrosia apple trees don’t have any fruitlets. This is intentional because they are young trees from the nursery that were just transplanted last month. Railou and his workers are putting in posts and stringing wire to support these new trees. This new section of his orchard will not bear fruit for at least three years. The trees will try but Railou removes the flowers and any subsequent fruitlets so that they can put all of their energy into growing.
“We feed them, fertilize them to make the roots develop,” he explains. “They have to have good roots for a good foundation.” Once the trees have that, and they have grown tall up the wires, then they will start to contribute to the crop that the rest of his orchard produces.
It’s early to say what the crop will look like at this point, but so far Railou likes what he’s seeing. He’ll continue to thin (remove some of the fruitlets to make sure the trees aren’t over- burdened by too much fruit) throughout the summer.
As a farmer in BC, he’s a bit worried about forest fires which have been a problem for the past few years. Last year, there were fires very close to his property that left some ash on the leaves of the Ambrosia apple trees. But, there isn’t much he can do about that so he stays focused on keeping his trees happy and his apples growing until harvest.
As far as he can tell, things seem to be on a similar timeline to last year so we can expect harvest to be mid to late September. It all depends on how hot it gets this summer.
Want to learn more about Railou and his family orchard? Take a look at this video.