Here a short summary for our friends and customers about the main happenings on the fruit farm in the first half of 2018:
- January – April
- Time for pruning the 1000 fruit trees – this work took most of the daily hours and was greatly helped by the new electric shears.
- Continue the work from late fall 2017 to improve the drainage of standing water in the orchard. In the wet spring of 2017 we weren’t able to reach the lower and back- part of the orchard until it was too late for the early maintenance and spraying work. This year the hundreds of feet of new ditches and drainage tiles did their job already and all parts of the orchard were accessible once the spring work started. We are optimistic that with some further drainage work the good accessibility will also hold up in wet springs to come.
- April – June
- Orchard planting
We continue to introduce new varieties into our orchard in order to have a more exciting and diverse selection of tree fruits to choose from. Also some of the already existing varieties need to be replenished as part of the normal aging process.
After last year’s planting of about 70 new plum-, pear-, apricot- and apple trees, close to 100 young trees found a new home in the orchard this spring. They consist of
- apples: 79 trees of 10 different varieties (new: Scarlett Crush, Kindercrisp, Black Oxford, Baldwin, Early Fuji, Liberty)
- pears: 8 trees of 3 different varieties (new: Seckel, Shenandoah and Red Pear)
- peaches (new): 10 trees of 3 different varieties (Intrepid, Reliance and PF19-7) – this will be a real challenge due to the harsh winters at our location.
- Orchard planting
- Fruit planting
In a similar strategy as with the tree fruits, we are also trying to enhance the variety and amount of our berries. After introducing blackberries last year, we extended those rows this year. Also the raspberries got some new rows featuring purple (mix of red and black) and yellow variants of the fruit. We will see how well they will be doing with our climate situation. Because of the later fruiting varieties of berries, we will face an increased challenge on the insect pest side with the ‘Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD)’ fruit fly, which is coming North in late July and early August.For the strawberries we will be introducing some new variety too (Cavendish, Earlyglow) and also (again) try to get a later Juneberry to succeed – this time the candidate is called ‘Record’.
We have stopped the experiment with the ever-bearing strawberry varieties as we could not create a commercially viable situation.
- Vegetable and flower planting
This years vegetable fields feature Squashes & pumpkins, turnips, field tomatoes, watermelons & cantaloupes as well as peppers.
Sabine re- established the flower garden in front of the store and next to the greenhouse there is a small field of sunflowers.
Finally we got the small greenhouse (12×12 ft) up, which should be helping to get some more of the plants earlier going next year. This hopefully will also ‘un-crowd’ our living room a bit next spring.
- Just moved in: 2 Barn cats, which we picked up from the Bangor location of the Humane Society, are now roaming the farm and providing some rodent management help.