Broad Valley Orchard

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Hello Berry (and summer dessert apple) Fans,
Whew, it has been a while since I wrote. Back then we were mired in a really weird 3 month spring monsoon. Now we have just had a droughty month for berry picking. The black raspberries, black currants, summer crop red raspberries, and especially blueberries have been delicious, in high demand, and very profitable. For beginning small farmers I highly recommend growing all these crops. They are fairly easy to grow, upright to ease your back aches, somewhat disease resistant, and now that they government has figured out theat they can slow the onset of cancer, they are in very high demand.
We are also harvesting a nice crop of summer dessert apples; Pristine and William’s Pride. While the before-mentioned monsoons brought on an apple scab deluge, these new varieties are resistant to scab. Many of our older semi-resistant trees like Jonagold and GingerGold will not have a marketable crop = we’ll use them for saurce, drying, and cider.
Fortunately last year, and this year, I pulled out most of our big twenty year old scab-succeptable Gala, Braeburn and Fuji trees. We were getting good crops on these during the “Five Year Drought of 1998-2002″, but now I am getting tired of yearly pruning bigger trees that don’t produce a crop dependably.
We are re-planting new scab-resistant varieties, as well as heirloom varieties that are resistant. We are planting these on dwarf rootsock from Adams County Nursery, in nearby Aspers, Pa. Now that I am sixty I do’nt feel as nimble doing high ladder work, and also these new trees bear first crop in two or three years, versus six to twelve years for the semi-dwarf and standard trees.
And the nice thing about dwarf trees and berry bushes and rows, is that you can grow then in your yard, instead of growing expensive and useless landscape shrubs. Think about it, but now you have to excuse me – I need to go outside and pick a couple hundred dollars worth of berries before morning coffee break…..
orchardist thom

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