After the frost danger passed, we grafted about 100 Galas to Honey Crisps. We also pruned and put down a cloth weedbarrier on our cherries. We planted and straw mulched tomato starts in between the trees. Due to wet weather, we had to apply an organically approved mildew spray to our apples and vineyards this year.
Our grafted apples from last year show good growth where the deer left the trees alone.
May, spring freeze update
Yes, we did have to run the wind machines several times this spring. The temperatures cooled and because of that, our trees lost two of the "three weeks ahead of normal" progress. This is a good thing but we aren't out of the dangerous spring freeze zone yet.
We fixed the orchard bridge across Fire Mountain Canal. The prunings in the background are from the peach orchard. This year we pruned the peaches heavily to lower the height of the trees and increase sunlight penetration.
Our apple orchards have thus far dodged the freeze bombs although Jack Frost thinned for us per usual this spring. We also thinned chemically this year — mostly from guessing at how many good buds are left. Apple trees tend to be one year on and one year off, we'd prefer to have a moderate crop every year. By thinning blosooms instead of later fruit, the tree believes it's having more of an "off" year and will set more buds for next year than it would otherwise.
We are waiting to evaluate the spring frost damage to our vulnerable orchard buds since we are still experiencing sub-freezing temps. The fruit on Rogers Mesa this spring was three weeks ahead of normal.
When springbreak rolled around in mid-March, we enjoyed temperatures in the 60s and higher. Our student farm crew from CC and CSU worked comfortably in t-shirts. They raked orchard prunings which we burned a couple of weeks later during snowstorms.
They also weeded and mulched the asparagus with cardboard between the rows then spent a morning taking soil samples which we sent in for testing a few days later.
Our student helpers removed the last brush pile in the field that we planted to triticale. These were fruit tree carcasses left in the field before we bought the farm. Each year we've let people take what theywanted and we sawed and burned it in our own wood stove all winter. It was truly a celebratory moment when we saw the end of it! (We still have four piles left in another field however.) We have a started a grain page to document the exciting evolution of our triticale field!
We are always grateful to host students who are so passionate about food and ag! Three of them continued on to Utah for the Farm to Cafeteria conference.
We are completing the microjet irrigation we began in 2007. The trees have completed their dormancy and are waiting for spring. We have begun pruning the apples and will be raking the wood out of the alleyways soon. Our goal is to bring down the Gala's height and graft more different kinds of apples onto more trees this spring.
We are cleaning up the prunings and burning this left over pile from last year! Oops.
Hunter (the dog) and Aaron have been installing poly irrigation in all the orchards and vineyards this winter. See more irrigation photos >>