Thursday, April 5, 2012

Growing strawberries at Fifer Orchards. How we do it...

 Fifer Orchards strawberry production timeline
We start by creating raised beds in our fields.  The tractor pulls an implement that mounds the soil up and lays down plastic and irrigation drip tape at the same time.  The plastic helps to control weeds, provide proper moisture and allow the soil to warm up faster in the spring.

This is what the beds look like when complete.

Next, we plant the young strawberry plants in late August. 

The plants are in small containers and are called “plugs”

The tractor moves very slow as the planters gently place the plugs in to the holes in the raised beds.

Our strawberry patch is now fully planted and we can turn on the irrigation when needed to supply water directly to the roots.  This method of irrigation helps conserve water usage and reduce disease pressure on the leaves.  The plants enjoy the late summer and fall sunshine and begin growing. 

Once winter comes, we cover the strawberries with fibrous blankets that keep them from freezing during December-March.  In April, we uncover the strawberries and let them continue growing and blooming.

Here are the plants in April uncovered and enjoying the spring warmth.  You can see blossoms forming. 

 Strawberry blossoms are white with a yellow center.  This yellow part of the blossom becomes the strawberry. 

Honey bees and bumblebees are used during bloom to pollinate the strawberries. 

Here you can see the stages.  White blossom, to green berry, to red berry.

When ripe, strawberries are picked in to green quarts and then placed in white flats for easy transport.

Strawberries are very delicious and nutritious.  
Did you know? 
-8 medium sized strawberries have more vitamin C than an orange
-Strawberries are high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and folate
-All 50 states produce strawberries.
-Strawberries are a member of the rose family along with apples and plums.
-On average there are 200 tiny seeds in each strawberry.

You can pick your own strawberries straight from the patch at Fifer's in April and May!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Around the Farm - April 2012

1st harvest of asparagus - March 23rd!
 Asparagus cutting
 Healthy, delicious, nutritious
 Crowns are sprouting
Peach blossoms 
 On fire
 Beautiful Red Haven Peaches

 Peach thinner uses plastic strips to remove some of the blossoms
 Too many blossoms means very tiny peaches that are unsellable
Peach pruning has been completed for the winter now.  Looking forward to a fantastic peach harvest starting in June.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Around the Farm - Late November and December 2011

The Delaware Wreath
  Santa and Mrs. Claus visit Cider Fest
 Local all-natural soaps made by Little Hill Soap Company, Laurel DE
 Cider Fest hayrides
 Smores by the fire
 Abbott's Grille cooking demos at our Holiday Open House
 Getting ready for Christmas 
 Wreath making demos at our Open House
 Live music at Fall Fest
 Harvest Hustle 5K start
Harvest Hustle 5K awards
 Fresh local wreaths
 Old 1935 Ford dressed up for Christmas
 Local Christmas trees
 Store front
 End of Fall 2011
 Fifer Gift Baskets
 Fifer apples
Harvest Hustle 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Around the Farm - Late August 2011

First pumpkin picking of the year

CSA box pickup - Matt Tappan

Green beans and tomatoes = summertime

A view from our new corn maze observation deck

Constructing the observation deck

Summer squash

CSA flowers

U-pick peaches

Summer produce on the deck

Summer apples

2011 pumpkin patch

pumpkin blossoms in the sun