Broad Valley Orchard

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Strange Weather – So Far No Problems Here

Hello All,

We got relief from the drought last weekend when 3.7 inches (9.4 cm) fell steadily over 24 hours. This steady rain did not cause run-off and erosion, in fact, the dry ground absorbed it. Our deeper well’s water level barely went up, and our lower springs (which had been dry) went up a two feet (50 cm). This fact is reflected in the mountain brooks, which went up a few inches, but did not flood. I took our ‘wonder-dog’ Jago ( and I do wonder about him) for a mushroom hunting walk in the forest, and the stumps and logs are showing while mychorrizae, which will soon bring a flush of delicious autumn ‘shrooms; Chicken-in-the Woods, Beefsteak, Oyster, and the rare truffle Jago finds and digs up, are my favorites.

Even though it has stayed drizzly and foggy for a few days after the deluge, the crops still look good. The blackberries are not molding, and the apples are not getting ‘scabby’. We sold the Ginger Golds, and Sansa, at CSA and farm market. I picked 8 bushels (25.6 DL) of Galas two days ago. These also graded out to 80% acceptable for CSA and market. This is our highest quality yet on Gala, which is very scab succeptible. I did spray them once, before a rain two weeks ago, with ‘Serenade’, (BT ‘subtillus’). This benevolent bacteria prevents scab spores from landing, and also ( I think) eats them. The local large conventional orchards are also spraying this = their chemical toxins were merely encouraging new super-resistant strains of scab.

This hopeful trend among orchardists also includes “pheremone disruption”. Spraying neuro-toxins to control Codling and Oriental Fruit Moths, was no longer working = the critters were evolving resistance. Now farm crews hang out pheremone strips in the branches, and the Invasive Fruit Moth males can’t find the females. This has reduced damage from 90% to a few percent. I walk through the orchard each morning with a bucket and a ‘pickin-up’ stick. Most of the invaded apples fall from the trees; I clean them up and feed them to the goats who enjoy that added little bit of protein.

But now I have to figure out how to mow the wet orchard grass, with heavily burdened branches hanging down to the ground. Hmmm, maybe I did enjoy that aspect of those 3 droughty months.

Thank You

Thom Marti

PS: We put up 2 cases of apple sauce, and dried a couple pounds of ‘apple snitz’, from our #2 Ginger Golds. We will have plenty of #2 Jonagold, Gold Delicious, and Early Fuji available for canning, drying, and juicing, in 3 weeks. If you live nearby, please contact us thru this site, and we can arrange pick-up. We will also have plenty of #1 apples, too. The Jonagolds store quite well, and are our favorite multi-purpose/mid-season apple.

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