Lakeview Farms

January 14, 2008 Newsletter

strawberry Strawberries
Events in 2007 reinforced my opinion that Strawberries are becoming a very risky crop in Missouri .  Cold temperatures of the Easter Freeze damaged even strawberry buds that were a week or two from opening.  An extended wet spell during hot temperatures later in the season caused additional berry loss.

While the Easter Freeze may be just an isolated event that may not occur again for the next 25 years, the berry damage problem in hot, wet weather seems to be a reoccurring event.   In addition,  root rot problems are increasing to the point where only one good year of production can be achieved before plant vigor and size are dramatically reduced and the strawberry patch must be plowed up and replanted.

Raspberries
raspberry Despite the Easter Freeze we still had a satisfactory crop of red raspberries in 2007 that seemed to meet customer demand.  In 2007 we removed all but two rows of our winter injury plagued Camby variety with Nova and a newer, slightly smaller, variety called Prelude.  The fall harvest of Prelude in 2007 in mid September to mid October was particularly impressive and it now appears that we finally have a replacement for the smaller Heritage that used to fruit in the excessively hot weather of August and early September.

While the fruit of Prelude is larger than Heritage, the flavor is not as pronounced as Heritage.  Prelude should, however, be an excellent raspberry for those of you (like me) who think the Nova is too tart.  We have pruned the new Prelude to fruit in the summer of 2008 (June) to see how it stacks up with the other summer raspberry varieties that we grow.

Pumpkins & Fall Decorations
Like last year, 2007 was a difficult pumpkin year and we ended up shutting down about 10 days before Halloween when our supply of  orange carving pumpkins was exhausted.    We continued to have serious difficulties growing the larger carving pumpkins due to early season root rot problems and Watermelon Mosaic Virus (WMV) later in the season.  Post harvest rots due to internal breakdown and Phytophthora were unusually high considering the dry weather that we had throughout the season.  I would appreciate hearing  from my pumpkin customers on how well (or poorly) their 2007 pumpkins held up before carving.

On the plus side, we had one of our best crops ever on the decorator pumpkins like Cotton Candy, Fairytale, and Orange Smoothie.  Nearly all of the newer items like Full Moon giant pumpkins,  Gold Dust mini pumpkins, la Estrada, and Galeux d'Dysines Squash performed well and appear to have excellent home decorating potential.

Dried Gourds
Giant Bushel Gourd While we did experience some difficulty with seedling root rots on some of the smaller decorative gourds, overall 2007 was an excellent year for gourds.  We had our best crop ever on the xxx-large size African Kettle Gourd and Giant Bushel Gourds.

By spring of 2008 we should also have an excellent supply of canteen, birdhouse/kettle, martin house, cannon ball, mini Nigerian bottle, apple, snake, basket ball, and speckled swan dried gourds.  Serious gourd crafters should consider attending the Missouri Show Me Gourd Society Festival in Sedalia, Missouri on April 26 & 27.  For more information see www.showmegourdsociety.com. 

September 4, 2007

Pumpkins and Fall Decorations
With the very warm weather we have had throughout the month of August, the fall decorations are ripening much earlier than normal so Lakeview Farms will be opening for decorative corn, gourds, squash, pumpkins, corn stalks and straw sales starting Wednesday, September 5.  For the hotter first half of September we'll probably only stay open until 1 PM. 

Most items are now available but there are some exceptions such as Fairytale Pumpkins, Wee-Be-Little mini pumpkins, Red Warty Thing gourds ...which probably will not be ready until later in September. This looks like a good year for our huge prizewinner pumpkins and the best season ever for the white Cotton Candy and Orange Smoothie painting pumpkins.  Some of the new squash items like Galeux d'Dysines and the Giant Pink Banana are spectacularly colored!  The new huge white pumpkin Full Moon should be a big hit since it is easily carved.

Pictures of new Items for 2007

 Galeux d Eysines Squash Pink Banana Squash  Full Moon Pumpkin

Dried Gourds
For 2007 we have only a very modest collection of dried gourds due to the early October freeze in 2006 which damaged the gourds before they were able to harden off for winter.

Fall Raspberries
We should have a limited supply of red raspberries for those who arrive early each day.  While our supply of fall fruiting red raspberries has grown from 600 to 1500 feet, the berry size on the established three rows of fall fruiting Nova is small which means much slower picking than normal.  The size on the one row of new Nova and two rows of new Prelude planted this spring still looks OK.  For those individuals who find the Nova excessively tart, the relatively mild favored Prelude should be a big hit. For more information and a picture of Prelude check out: RaspberryVarietiesCombined.htm.

Our golden yellow raspberry, Anne, is still available but unfortunately peaked during the 90-100F weather of mid August which took a heavy toll on the total yellow raspberry crop.  Like last year we'll operate on self check-in & check-out and no recorded crop report on the phone or website.  If you have a question about up-to-the-minute picking status call me on my cell phone (636-387-2695) during the day. Picking is on a first come/first served basis and as usual I would not recommend making a special trip to our farm just to pick Raspberries. 

Fun Things for Kids
Most of the fun things for kids like the corn maze, troll's trail, sorghum maze, diamond digs, and treasure hunts are available during normal business hours. The Hay Pyramid should be complete about mid September--way ahead of our usual schedule. Gold & silver prospecting in our creek probably won't begin until the first weekend of October since we are taking new steps to limit access and better supervise this activity to insure that children are more likely to find something.  Keep in mind that we are closed Sundays in September and closed Mondays in October. The Pumpkin Troll will be on duty starting the first weekend of October on Saturday & Sunday afternoon from 12 Noon to 4 PM.