Orchard

Pear Leaf Blister Mites

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in Farm Blog, Garden, Orchard, Pests | 14 comments

Pear Leaf Blister Mites

Many pests, and pathogens, are adept at overwintering among leaf litter, dormant buds, and bark. This means that for fruit trees the dormant season is often the best time to try to remedy pest problems noted in the orchard during the previous year. Last season, as the new leaves were emerging on our pear trees, we found a widespread pest problem with the leaves. At first, from a distance, we initially thought we had an irrigation problem as the leaves on the pear trees all had a wilted appearance. As we got closer we could see the leaves were discolored, and deformed, and we thought perhaps...

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The Bright…and Dark Side of Daffodils

Posted by on Mar 13, 2012 in Farm Blog, Flowers, Garden, Orchard | 38 comments

The Bright…and Dark Side of Daffodils

Daffodils are some of the most eagerly anticipated early heralds of spring here on the farm. When our orchard slope was first cleared, the entire area looked depressingly bare. Even with the newly planted fruit trees in place, there was a definite lack of presence in the orchard.  It would take time for the trees to grow and fill in, and I’m not a terribly patient person by nature. In a quest for some instant garden gratification, I started out by planting a few hundred daffodil bulbs.  They emerged the next spring, but they seemed few and far between, so the following fall I added...

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Scion Exchange 2012: An Abundance of Apples

Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in Farm Blog, Orchard | 21 comments

Scion Exchange 2012: An Abundance of Apples

It’s that time of year again.  Coinciding with fruit tree winter pruning season, the California Rare Fruit Growers host a series of fruit wood Scion Exchanges in the San Francisco, and Monterey Bay Areas. Last year we found scions for some wonderful varieties of fruit that aren’t locally available through area nurseries, not even by special order.  For some of the more truly unique heirloom fruit varieties, scion wood grafting is a way to produce fruit trees that otherwise might be unobtainable, and an excellent way to help to conserve cultivars that have fallen out of favor in...

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Replanting Fruit Trees, and Mitigating Vole Damage

Posted by on Jan 3, 2012 in Farm Blog, Orchard | 36 comments

Replanting Fruit Trees, and Mitigating Vole Damage

Each January, right after the New Year, we turn our attention back to the orchard. It’s bare root fruit tree planting season! Last summer we noted that two fruit trees in our orchard had sustained significant damage as a result of Meadow Voles.  Last spring, for the first time, we had an explosion of Meadow Voles in the orchard and gardens, that caused significant damage to a number of plants. As we don’t use poison baits on the farm, we elected to trap the voles, which is a lot of work, but with perseverance we were modestly successful at decreasing their populations. However,...

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Grafting Fruit Trees: Update

Posted by on Apr 29, 2011 in Farm Blog, Orchard | 21 comments

Grafting Fruit Trees: Update

In January, before the weather was good enough to do much in the garden, we started out the season by attending our first fruit tree scion exchange. A few weeks later we then attended a grafting workshop hosted by the California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG).  Then in mid-March we ventured into grafting 8 apple trees (technically 6 apples, and 2 crab apples). Each scion was cleft grafted to M-111 apple rootstock, and potted into 1 gallon containers.  Since then the grafted trees have been kept in partial sun, receiving sunlight in the early part of the day, but protected from the scorching sun...

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Building Owl Boxes

Posted by on Mar 18, 2011 in Farm Blog, Orchard | 43 comments

Building Owl Boxes

You might be expecting a ‘Fowl Friday’ post, but this week we’ve decided do an ‘Owl Friday’ post instead. In our February Garden Update we were lamenting the fact that hoards of voles (Microtus californicus) have moved into our orchard.  As the orchard is fenced to keep out the deer, it also keeps most of the vole’s natural predators, like the coyotes and bobcats, from reaching them.  Hence, the vole population here has recently exploded. However, not all of the vole’s predators are encumbered by fences.  Especially owls. Shortly after we moved here...

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Grafting Apple Trees

Posted by on Mar 14, 2011 in Farm Blog, Orchard | 26 comments

Grafting Apple Trees

In January we attended a Scion Exchange.  At that time we obtained a number of apple scions to graft to new M-111 rootstock. However, despite the fact that January’s weather was remarkably spring-like, we opted to wait to graft our scions until our rootstocks were closer to pushing their new spring growth. As we didn’t graft our scions immediately, the scions were stored in the refrigerator in an airtight zip-top plastic bag, and occasionally misted with water, to prevent the scions from drying out.  The M-111 rootstocks were stored in the garden, heeled into soil in pots, and...

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Bare Root Fruit – 2011

Posted by on Feb 2, 2011 in Farm Blog, Orchard | 36 comments

Bare Root Fruit – 2011

In our recent Scion Exchange post, I mentioned that we were adding some different apple and crab apple varieties to the orchard.  It will be a while before the grafted scions will be ready to plant out in the orchard though. In the meantime we’ve been adding other fruits to the orchard.  Three new bare root trees have been planted this winter.  A white peach, an antique apple, and an Asian persimmon.   The peach tree ‘Indian Free’ was special-ordered through a local nursery to ensure we’d have one to plant this season.  We have Tom at Tall Clover Farm to thank...

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