1431 Foulk Rd, Wilmington, DE 19803

Open Tue-Fri 9-6, Sat 9-5

Rain is good…right?

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We had an amazing strawberry season with beautiful weather. Not too hot or too cold, barely any rain. It was great.

But now that strawberry season is done, the rain decided no more Mr Nice Guy, it is time to be wet, wet, and more wet.

But rain is good, right?

Ehhh. Kinda. Yes, the plants need water. But they also need to dry out. Moisture is the number one thing that leads to infestations (bacterial, viral, fungal, and insect).

The zucchini already has fusarium wilt (and it’s not even getting rained on; it’s in a tunnel! The air has just been too damp for too long). Fortunately, we always have multiple plantings of squash planned as fusarium wilt is kind of a foregone conclusion… usually not as fast as this though.

And it may mean the end of the raspberries until August. And a week of small harvests of the other berries.

Rain and berries are not friends. They’re not even frenemies.

You can’t harvest berries when they’re wet, because they won’t dry off in the container. And wet picked berries mold almost immediately (think within hours).

And even if you do manage to dry the berries off (within an hour of picking), they are sooooo full of water from the rain, they’ll mold faster than normal, giving you a 1 day eating/storing period instead of 3.

But you can’t leave the berries on the canes/bushes because the wet berries will also mold there. And if they mold on the bush, the mold will spread and you’ll have an entire patch where the berries mold before they’re even ready to pick.

So we do a lot of picking and tossing when the weather doesn’t give the berries a chance to dry on the bushes. It’s better to have a week or two of tossing the harvest rather than fighting mold the whole season.

(If you have your own raspberry plants, there are antifungals you can spray just before it rains. They help keep the mold from growing and spreading. We don’t use them though, preferring to just keep up with the picking).

And if you have a basil plant, it is probably throwing a fit right now. If you can put a cover over it so it doesn’t get rained on anymore, I highly recommend it. Basil does not like wet leaves. And unlike the raspberries where they “just” mold, basil completely gives up.

We grow our green basil in the hydroponics house where it is under cover, so it is happy as a clam (well, happier actually because a clam wants to get wet).

The purple basil is outside. It’s less fussy than the green, and so far it is holding strong. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Some seasonal inspiration:

Happy Eating!

Elizabeth

Open Tue-Fri 9-6, Sat 9-5. 

Closed Sunday & Monday.

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About Highland Orchards

Completely surrounded by suburbia, our small farm has been growing beyond expectations since 1832, just north of Wilmington, Delaware.

Growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, Highland Orchards provides true “farm fresh” for the community all year. If you want to shake the hand of the farmer who grows for you, here is the farm! With plants in the ground or under cover in tunnels, we grow for every season. A family farm, we have three different generations involved in running the farm right now.

Come see us to eat fresh, eat local, and eat well!