Late Winter Update from Brookside Farm

Flavor King pluot in bloom, photo by Welling Tom

Flavor King pluot in bloom, photo by Welling Tom

Here’s a report from Welling Tom of Brookside Farm in Brentwood, CA:

There wasn’t as much rain this year, but there was fog for most of January, so that constant wetness and lack of sunlight caused much of our broccoli to rot during that time. The soil has also remained too wet and sticky to allow for much planting of new crops. We did manage to sow some sugar snap peas during the past 3 weeks, and can only hope that it hasn’t been too cold for the seeds to germinate.

Last Saturday’s cold snap in the Bay Area affected Brookside Farm in a completely unexpected way. For the past couple of years, we’ve been ordering our tomato seedlings exclusively from Kassenhoff Growers, located in Oakland. The owner/operators have been our friends for many years, and Oakland has always had much milder winters than Brentwood or any other inland areas, so things have always worked without a hitch. But last Saturday morning, it was just as cold in Oakland as it was in Brentwood, so much of the earliest tomato plants were killed. A relatively small loss for Brookside Farm (as we will be getting more tomato plants that were started at a later time, and were thus under heavier protection), but a major loss for our friends at Kassenhoff Growers.

Tomato season will probably be getting another late start this year.

As of this week, many of our fruit trees (pluots, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and Asian pears) are beginning to bloom. Our trees always seems to bloom later than others of the same type located not too far from here. For this year, late-blooming may be advantageous. None of our trees were in full bloom last weekend, so perhaps we have avoided any frost damage there. It just remains to be seen after the petals drop whether any damage was done or whether the rain will have caused any significant interference in pollination.

Welling Tom

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