Wednesday, June 28, 2017

orchard update

At the farm I have started a small orchard.  It began with a couple of apple trees and then a year later two plum trees and two pear trees.  My goal was to add more fruit every year.  This year was supposed to be peaches and some nut trees but the place where we tried to order them from sold out before our order could be filled. 

Last year I noticed that one of our apple trees was missing a lot of leaves.  It still produced apples and I hoped that it would be better this year.  This year it is even worse.  I did some research online and the suggestions were to fertilize and to try to give optimal care.  So today I spent some time in the orchard.  I mowed under the trees and weeded the area around the trunk.  I tried some of those pound in fertilizer spikes and gave the trees a good drink.  My other apple tree is one that seems to produce apples every other year.  This is the off year and although there are a few apples coming it is not as many as last year. 
sparsely leafed apple

a apple of the other tree
I have not had any pears yet but the trees are only a couple of years old.  My plum trees are not very old either but I have one plum tree that got fruit last year and then the fruit disappeared overnight while it was small and hard and green.  In my research online the consensus seemed to be squirrels. This year I am going to try coating the trunk in several places with petroleum jelly laced with hot sauce.   From my research it sounds like the squirrels do not always eat from the same trees each year but we will see. 
The elderberries are flowering.  Last year I made an elderberry cordial from the berries.  This year I am considering using the flowers for jam or sharing them with Cait and Robb who are budding wine makers for an elderflower wine if they are interested in giving it a try..   
heavenly scent

tiny flowers
The grapes are starting to form
It has been a dry year.  It was supposed to rain overnight, thunderstorms, and heavy thunderstorms even, were predicted and we only received a sprinkle so I am back to watering. 


  1. Wow, lots of work in an orchard for sure. Of course, any farming is a lot of work isn't it? The squirrel mixture sounds funny. I can't decide if it's sillier to think of them slipping off the trunk or complaining about their spicy paws. I could write a children's book about that for sure! I hope it discourages them from eating your fruit and your apple tree regains some leaves!

    1. Thanks Kim. When you write the book will the squirrel be the hero or the villain? When my brother was confined to the wheelchair he spent a lot of time watching Skippy, a squirrel that hung around in his backyard outside of his window. Of course Skippy hung around because Jay had a peanut feeder there but it brought him joy to retell the stories of his antics.

      Not too far from the plum tree is a nut tree, some type of a chestnut that is not eaten by people but the squirrels love them and I have watched the squirrels take the nuts and run to store them away for winter. I am more than happy to share them so it is not like they will go hungry if they leave my plums alone.

  2. Pretty pictures. I hope your apple tree is doing much better!

    1. Thanks Christine, so far it is not looking any worse and I imagine improvements will be perhaps slow to see. Thanks for visiting.