Broad Valley Orchard

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Ah, a Little Bit of Rain

Hello All,

Whew, we have had two light rains that gave us 0.4 inches (1.1cm), more than double what we have had so far in July. This may not seem like much, but more is forecast, and the days are cooler, which is reducing the evaporation rate.

I was able to till fours rows of recently harvested beans and cole crops, and plant our final beans of the season, plus the first peas and turnips for fall harvest. In case the drought continues, I cut and dried some “weed hay” (before it seeded)and gathered it to mulch this planting, if necessary. I am rather proud of the fact that we have devised a system, that hauls this hay, cut in our lower field which is 100 yards (approx, 100 m) away from the garden, which requires no fossil fuel.

Jago, our farm dog, is one of those dogs that pull, pull, and pull when walking him on a leash. Over the years, I have trained him to help me pull garden carts, and he is even better pulling a tarp ‘travois’. I tied a rope to the top grommets of the tarp, and I tie Jago’s leash to the rope.

I lift the front of the load slightly, while he used his 4WD, and low center of gravity to pull. I estimate he is doing 1/2 the work. When we return for another load, I let him take the empty tarp, and he threads his way past obstacles, and takes it to the next pile to be moved, without commands. I carry around water for him, and let him rest in the shade while I load the travois or cart. He is a black dog, so we only work in the morning when it is cool. I really can see how the ancestors of dogs and of humans learned to work together. Oh, yes, he gets a biscuit for his work.

The other big project going on is hand turning a 20 ft (6m) X 50 ft (16 m) garden patch. This site was our first garden here. The pioneers here, who cleared this forest at the time of the Civil war, also selected this site for their garden. We double dug it in 1984 -whew, is that a lot of work- and kept it for ten years before we build our first hoop house on that site. We took that house down three years ago, to build a bigger one on a nearby site, and planted rye grass there. Now we are restoring it to hand-tilled garden; we are down-sizing our gardens to require less roto-tilling. I think I will appreciate smaller gardens. I still enjoy tending our orchard, and berry patch, but bending over in a big garden is getting to our aging backs!

Thank You

Thom Marti

PS: The blackberry crop looks great, and the apples are responding to irrigation. Plant Fruit!

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