PYO – 2022 opening January
Last year we enjoyed some excellent weather and great PYO conditions. Many visitors had a lovely social time with family and friends while picking blueberries. We expect to open for 2022 in January, depending on weather and seasonal conditions.
We recently made hay, which is great as this paddock doubles as our customer car park.
Decembers New Season Cultivar – Prepicked berries make a splash
In December and early January our new cultivar comes ripe and we frantically pick these to sell directly to our customers and through Moore Wilsons Fresh Wellington branch. We use a larger than normal 500g container. Sales via Moore Wilsons will continue again this year as this was a great success.
In order to preserve the early fruit from the greedy eyes of hungry birds we invested in cloche covers. The advantages are that we get to retain all fruit. The disadvantage is the area contained by the cloche is small and picking is challenging. For this reason Shelley and her family do all the picking.
Bumble bees cruise their way up and down the rows of flowers that dangle waiting for them. Bumbles are joined by their less resilient mates the honey bee. We now have a bee hive to improve pollination rates. Honey from this hive is sold in our shop, and is very popular.
Sustainability and Mulching
We mulch all plants at this time of the year. This has two benefits, one water retention in summer, reducing the amount of water we need to use, and two, it improves the organic content of the soil. Mulching is an essential component to healthy soils and healthy plants.
Winter is a time for us to spray, prune, replace unhealthy plants and propagate new ones for the future on the berry farm.
In winter we prune all our blueberry bushes – this is done by hand. Our plants are relatively free of damaged and diseased branches. They can now put their energy into growing new leaf and fruit buds as spring approaches.
Copper Sulphate Spray
All plants received a copper sulphate spray in early winter prior to pruning (this helps to reduce fungal spores wintering over in the plant understory or on the berry bushes themselves) and reduces the incidence of rust which saps the leafs energy.
We will wait (fingers crossed) until threat of frost is over and add some of our special organic fertilizer.
Update the Website and Planning
Shelley gets busy updating the website and plans for the new season. Who knows – one day our shop may also be a studio b and b with spectacular view of blueberry rows.
In mid winter sales of hay cut the previous summer become popular at the farm. We have some regular customers who are delighted to find a hay source so close to Wellington. As some extremely cold weather was also experienced this winter, feeding out was very necessary.