Broad Valley Orchard

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Summer’s Swan Song

Hello Autumn Fans,
Within a week, the Autumnal Equinox will occur. This is a very busy time up here. Although the Summer apple crop was very light, the berry, pear, and Asain Pear crop made up for it. We have cut out a lot of trees, and are getting ready to plant their replacements.
Twenty years ago we were successfully bringing in harvests of Granny Smith, Empire, Ginger Gold, Gold Delicious, and even Gala apples. These varieties are ‘apple scab succeptible’, but our cool nights, and hard winters in our mountainous valley let us bring them in. Well, Global Climate Change sure screwed that up = not only has apple scab become even worse, but summer ‘soft rots’, and now even cedar apple rust , make it really tough.
So those varieties are gone , cut out (they do make very good firewood) or top-worked, grafted with newer resistant varieties (as well as with heirloom resistant varieties). So, the orchard adapts, and we still had great summer sales due to our “diverse-aculture”.
Melissa, our CSA “worker bee” has really helped us keep our ‘garden monster’ under control. This was one great year for weeds. Due to her wonderful work, I have dubbed her our ‘garden nanny’. She keeps everything neat cleaned, and well-behaved. Our CSA volunteer, Richard, has also really come through, also, doing a lot of the digging and heavy-lifting work that is starting to bother my sixty year old back.
I have to report, that after forty-plus years of doing manual labor – I feel it! I sure wish I had know about those nice garden back braces back when I was a young steel worker, sailor, and carpenter. I recommend them to all young working folks, so you won’t wake up in a couple decades feeling like I do.
I did use the brace yesterday while I rooted out all the “giant-leafed sedge’, whose seeds washed into our drainage ways, and garden wet spots, during this summer’s downpours. I think we also have some brown nut sedge mixed in with it. This is a ‘tougher nut to crack’, since its roots carry aromatic tubers which spread like mad. I have heard that dry molasses meal works organically to get this invader out of lawns, where the sedge out-competes the lawn grasses. I can buy a 50# bag at our local feed mill for $12.55 – I’ll give it a try once I learn more about it.
Well, have a good Autumn. It is supposed to be mild, as is the winter, but such weather can make for heavier snows.
But, for now, I await sun-up so I can pick Lima Beans, red raspberries, Niagara grapes, and Stayman/Winesap appples to deliver to CSA today.
thom

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