We’re going to have an orchard work day on Saturday, June 15 from 1:00-4:00 to thin apples and hang insect traps. Join us!
Both of these activities are a bit labor intensive because of our preference to avoid using synthetic chemicals. Sevin is what most conventional orchards use to thin apples, and we’ve always been able to avoid using it to thin — though to be fair, the apples we sell in the fall usually do tend to be smaller than other orchards’ apples, since a larger apple is the result of thinning.
Thinning is one of the most important cultural practices we use to manage the orchard. To learn more about it and how to employ it on your own apple trees at home, read a couple of posts we wrote, both back in 2011: Post 1 | Post 2.
When it comes to apple maggot flies, we’ve always used red sphere traps but have never tried to rely on them as much as we’re going to try to rely on them this year. When all is said and done this year, we’ll have about 400 red sphere traps covering a 900-tree orchard. Sounds like it should be pretty good coverage, right? But in case the insect pressures prove to be too much to bear, we’ve purchased an organic insecticide to use as a back-up. Between the cold winter and the red sphere traps, our hopes are high!
Read more about our approach to apple maggot flies, which is the insect we’ll try to trap out with the red spheres.
Our work day is relatively kid friendly, especially if your child is entertained by watching chickens and playing fetch with Fletcher! We’ll have some snack and drinks too. Let us know if you plan to come!
Despite an entire day of rain today, it’s really been a lovely spring for us. There was a slow, long warm-up and, of course, no sign of the spring weather craziness that we observed last year. Even though spring was abnormally cold this year, the trees seem to have moderated the effects of that cold weather and aren’t blooming all that much later than normal. With this week’s wetness, it reminds me of the spring of 2011 — cold, wet, and late — and in 2011 we had a bumper crop of apples.
It’s likely we’ll have a bumper crop of apples again and lots of thinning to do in June (stay posted for news of an orchard work day planned for June 15) because the blossoms are crazy! Especially on varieties that hardly bore anything last year, like Prairie Spy and Chestnut Crab, the trees are covered with blossoms. It’s truly incredible. If you’d like to see it for yourself, get in touch and make plans to stop by because although the orchard’s soggy at the moment, it’s gorgeous and it’ll only last through the weekend.
If you can’t manage a visit, here are some pictures to help you imagine what it’s like down here at the moment.