Broad Valley Orchard

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2011 – The End is in Sight


I’m sorry I haven’t been able to write an essay for quite a while.  I won’t make any excuses, other than to report that we have already had over 78″ of rain this soggy year.  Our previous record was in 1996 (the Pinotuvo Year) when all the volcanic ash in the atmosphere lead to record snowfall, and a summer hurricane season that lead to flood after flood.

This year has featured at least five sheet wash floods.  I’m am guessing that several years worth of carefully built-up, organically rich top soil, washed away.  In some places the standing water drowned plant roots.  Then in late October (a time we often get our first snow flurry of the season), we got 14″ of wet heavy snow and ice in a gale force wind.  Trees went down under this barrage, and many limbs and tops sheared off under the weight, and some folks had hoop houses collapse.  We also faced serious foundation and flooding problems.    Fortunately I’m a pretty good carpenter, and a passable stone mason, and we got the basement flooding under control with no structural damage.  This 160 year old log house still stands, and now has a dry basement.  Months of digging and filling HugelKultur interceptors and drains stabilized the erosion, and thee mounds will make wonderful raised beds.

So, that is the kind of year it has been.  I must admit, at age 62, this has been rough on me.  So Broad Valley Orchard is slowly downsizing.  We will put a lot of the garden under long-term cover crop, but we plan on operating our down-sized farm and CSA for 2 to 4 more years.  If anyone out there is planning on buying a small farm, get in touch, maybe we can work out a mutually beneficial deal.  The soil will be rested and waiting for you, and the house and outbuildings will be maintained.

Thom Marti

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