Broad Valley Orchard

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The Galloping Spring Thaw

Hello All,

I sit here typing while the sun rises late. I am not really sure why the government keeps fooling around with the time. I hear they expect to save energy. I think the small amount of energy that this ‘time juggling’ will save is a smidgeon of what we could save by getting Americans out of huge hulking SUVs, and into high efficiency small vehicles. I have a feeling that we would all be a lot better off if we eached used 50% of the fossil fuel energy we use now.

The ice is finally melting even off our shaded north roofs. I woke up hearing a forecast for 70F (21C) tomorrow. This means I have to put everything else aside and get our orchard top pruning done. I’m running a month late on this, and need to get it done before I can spray Lime Sulfur/dormant oil on the trees. This spray is the most toxic I use ( even ‘organic’ controls are still ‘poisons’). I use this mix to control apple scab, and to kill overwintering insect larva. I don’t use the lime sulfur when the trees are in leaf, in the late spring, because it is toxic to our beneficial insects, and pollinators, too. I make up for this by practising strict orchard sanitation, since any scab- infected leaves from last fall, are safely composted which kills the apple scab ascospores. I caution against using copper to control scab – it is deadly on earthworms.

Judy is continuing to pot up seedlings in our solar room; another planting of spinach, and first broccoli and cabbage, for planting outside in early April. We discovered this year, that our old source of organic potting soil, which we get from a local greenhouse supply, is no longer available. The replacemant not only contains ‘wetting agent’, but artificial fertilizers. So read the label of your mix, and look for little blue and green dots in it. We went back to making our own, using this recipe:

15 gallons (60 lt) vegetative based compost – double screened to 1/4″ (0.5cm).
5 gallons peat (20 lt) – again, make sure it has no artificial additives’
2 gallons (8 lt) – perlite

I need to get out to our local seed company to get more seed potato and fall onion starts. I will give our outside gardens a few weeks to dry out, and let the cover crop of winter rye grow a bit. This way when I till it under, I will get the maximum allelopathic benefit..

And that is your pop quiz #1- “what is the allelopathic effect, and how do we use it?”
I will answer that in my next farm journal entry.

Thank You

Thom Marti

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