After the wet summer of 2014 and the latest winter when the land didn’t have chance to dry out, the last fortnight of little rainfall and drying winds have come as a welcome break! The only thing we don’t want a lot of now are the cold north and east winds that we sometimes suffer from in our part of North East Lincolnshire. No longer do we need to wear wellington boots to walk around the fruit fields and this has been the first time since last summer that the tractors haven’t made ruts in the fields.
This has allowed us to get on with some important work as everything we do now has a major effect on our fruit yields to produce all the fruit needed for PYO, ready picked and our Fabulously Fruity wine. Our established outdoor strawberry fields have had an application of herbicide to control a wide variety of weeds such as willowherb, groundsel, fat hen and several species of grass. On our newest plants that don’t have such an established root system we use an inter-row spraying machine. This machine just sprays unwanted weeds between the rows of plants, so the strawberries themselves don’t have any contact with the chemical.
All the weed control around our raspberry canes and other fruit bushes is done with a backpack sprayer. This is rather a hard job and involves walking a long way with a heavy load on your back! But it is the only effective way to control weeds close to the canes and bushes.
All the fruit has had an application of nitrogen based fertiliser to promote healthy new growth for this coming year. On all the strawberry beds this is done with a tractor and spreading machine and as before with spraying the canes and bushes the fertiliser is applied by hand.
Overall things look in very good shape for a successful fruit year. We will keep our fingers crossed from now on for some good weather and definitely no late frosts!!