Broad Valley Orchard

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Orion Rising -First Breath of Autumn

Hello All,

It is 5 am. I am up early to start getting ready for the Old Pomfret Farmers Market, in Carlisle. We used to go to market every Saturday morning, but now we only attend occasionally when we have surplus beyond our CSA needs. This year, in spite of drought (perhaps because of the drought) we are having a good apple harvest. Our dwarf and semi-dwarf orchard is on soaker hose, and trickle irrigation. This gets water to the roots, and yet no moisture in the canopy which prevents fungal spores from growing. Without apple scab, and mildew, our apples look very, very nice. The blackberry canes are also putting out a nice second crop of sweet, yet tart, fruit.

Judy drove off to Lansing, NC, yesterday, for the Ola Belle Reed Fest, which celebrates Ola Belle’s life and music. Judy was Ola’s last apprentice in 1989. After Ola’s stroke, Judy got a Pa. Arts Grant to interview her, and compile the story of her life, and her claw hammer bamjo picking style. Judy just published Banjo Pickin’ Girl, and will be selling copies at the festival, as well as playing some of Ola’s music. You can learn more about this by visiting Judy’s part of this website.

I picked our first crop of Sansa apples, and am very pleased with this variety. It comes just afrer Ginger Gold, and before Gala. Even though Adams County Nursery does not indicate that Sansa is a resistant variety, I find it to be quite resistant to apple scab and to other apples maladies. If you are ready to plant your backyard orchard, I recommend this variety on M-9 rootstock. You need to trellis it (it bears so heavily (1 1/2 bu per small tree) that it needs the support. Also plan on giving it a couple of gallons of water per day in dry spells – those dwarf roots can burn out.

A lot of folks who visit our farm ask if we practice permaculture. The short answer is “NO”, but a couple years ago when I got around to reading Bill Mollison’s Handbook of Permaculture, I realized our ideas converged with his ideas. Nature has proven the system of multi-level plants, it is an elegant solution, that we have merely copied, in homage.

Well, I have to get outside and tend to chores, and then drive up to market, where I will repeat my market mantra to each customer: “These apples were picked fresh in Adams county. and have never been sprayed”. I wonder how many customers I have made this pledge to in the last 15 years????

Thank You

Thom Marti

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