Orchard News and Updates!!
|Posted on July 18, 2013 at 10:35 PM||comments (0)|
This time of year all I get to do is weed the gardens. Thank Heaven for some really wonderful inventions. First is the Mulch layer that allows me to keep a neat and clean garden without hoeing and weeding every day, Yea!!
If anybody is interested in pickling cucumbers, here they are on the plastic mulch, along with some peppers and melons!!
Second great invention is the Eco Weeder. This wonderful, fabulous device was invented in Canada, where the winters are long and they have lots of time to design things in the shop. These Canadian farmers devised a mechanical weeder that allows me to ride behind the tractor and weed between the plants. Chan says it does the work of 4 men. I believe that!! It took us all day but we weeded an entire field of pumpkins. A little hand hoeing and the plants will soon over-power any weeds that want to try to grow. I love how the pumpkins turn from a two leaf plant into a monster vine in such a short time.
The last weeding I get to do is the least fun. I have to pull all the kosha weed that has sprung up around the buildings. I started the other day and it looks better around here but I have lots more to do. Soon we will look presentable around here again.
|Posted on June 23, 2013 at 8:55 PM||comments (0)|
Will we ever have any produce to sell this year? Yes we will!! Planting and transplanting are all but finished and there are even some leaves peaking through the plastic mulch. Pumpkin patch is planted and the water is flowing to them. It's been a tough spring and our phone is ringing off the hook with people looking for cherries. I wish we had some, but look on the bright side, with a year off from producing our trees should be really loaded next spring!!
Pickling Cucumbers should be right on schedule in August along with peppers, squash and tomatoes. Guess what else is right on schedule for the middle of my bussiest season.... My 7th grand child. Shortly after the "Corn and Pickle Festival" at Vogel Farms on August 10th, I will be traveling to Lewiston to greet the newest member of the family. Don't worry about the farm, The kids will be helping keep it going while I am gone.
WIth the combination of a tough economy and a rough spring on the farm we find it necissary to look to outside sources of income. Working away from the farm leaves things un-done on the farm so we have to be flexible. Cathy is begining a new adventure as a Tupperware consultant. Be sure to visit her Tupperware website or call her for more information. Lets have a party!!
|Posted on June 12, 2013 at 1:45 PM||comments (0)|
It’s funny how we go from, “it's too cold to put anything in the ground,” to, “it's hot and we are behind schedule.” It happens every year. Last week we laid the plastic, garden much at our farm and at Vogel Farms and Debi and I cleaned the brooder room to prepare for the baby turkeys. Now I can now say the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, melons and pickling cucumbers are planted. I spent yesterday over at the Vogel’s helping with their plastic garden.
Yesterday the baby turkeys arrived. They are in the brooder now. Soon they will be big enough to run in the orchard. Just a note: Remember that the supply of Thanksgiving turkeys is limited this year and we are already taking orders. If you want one, place your order early.
The greenhouse is still full of beautiful plants and we have them on end of season clearance. Everything is $1.00 and we cover the tax!!
Still lots more to do so off I go to get something accomplished!!!
|Posted on June 2, 2013 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
As of this last Friday all the strawberry plants have been in the ground for over a week. They are still really slow about proving they are alive. I am thinking that after this week of warm weather we should be starting to see some life. I have received a few calls about their availability and hope to have some encouraging information soon.
Friday morning I finished transplanting all of our raspberries to their new home. We now have over 400 feet of raspberry plants. If they take well, we will open them for u-pick this year, but I will not promise that. As of now the plan is for them to be available in 2014.
Chan finished prepping the ground for the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and melons. We will start laying the plastic mulch tomorrow morning while it is still cool, so that the plastic doesn’t stretch out of shape. Our mulch laying machine is a wonderful tool to have. We lay underground drip irrigation at the same time as the mulch. After we hook up the manifold I start planting through the plastic and we are off and running!
|Posted on May 22, 2013 at 10:10 AM||comments (0)|
It has been almost 2 months since the apricot tree blossomed. There was a beautiful fruit set on the tree, too. But Mother Nature had other plans. There were several hard freezes during the next few weeks. The result was a complete loss of all of our apricots, cherries, peaches, plums and prunes. There are a few apple trees on the outer rows of the orchard that also lost fruit, but since the apple trees blossom later we still have apples just not as many as usual.
On the bright side we delayed planting our strawberries until this week so they did not freeze off. They are not expected to produce this year as they have to establish their root systems. I might let a few grow just to get a taste. The raspberries and blackberries look good so far this year.
Since we lost a great deal of our early produce, our farm stand, may be delayed in opening, I will keep you posted. We do have a beautiful greenhouse with flowers and vegetable plants for you to wander through at Vogel Farms on Robinson Road, see you there!
|Posted on May 14, 2013 at 10:00 PM||comments (0)|
2013 is going to be a short water year. What does that mean? Well, first of all there was not enough snowfall in the mountains this winter followed by no rain this spring. Upon measuring the available water the Irrigation district had to make some restrictions. Our water allotment was cut to 1/3 of the amount we get in a regular year. It is also possible they could shut it off early, maybe even in August.
How does that affect the crops we grow? The first thing we had to do was evaluate how we need to use the available water. We had to make some decisions about a few crops that we could eliminate so that the others would have enough water. We determined that the fruit crop and pumpkin patch are the most important to our sustainability. We dropped some of our vegetables and severely cut back others. If you are one of my pickling cucumber customers, rest easy, we didn’t cut those.
Turkeys are one of the biggest cuts of all. After doing all of the calculations we realized that because of the limited water allotment we would not be able to grow enough grain to feed 800 turkeys. We will only be ordering 400 birds this year. What does this mean to you? It means that if you want a turkey you will have to place your order early or face our saying “we are sold out.” It also means the price will be higher.
We have already seen the price of hay jump over $200/ton and many cattle ranchers are selling off their herds because they will not be able to produce enough feed for them. We are thankful we still have water available and you can help us; pray for rain.
|Posted on May 5, 2013 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
What a couple of weeks we have had since my last blog. We had a hard freeze that threatened to kill all our tomato and pepper plants. As a precaution Debi re-planted just under 2000 new seedlings. At one week from the freeze we realized that the plants were going to survive so we did some careful pruning. As of yesterday the original plants are sending off lots of beautiful new leaves and I finished transplanting 32 new flats of tomatoes.
Meanwhile Our beekeeper Brian has captured 4 new bee swarms in the orchard, our new strawberry plants have arrived, I have pruned the blackberries and started some new cuttings and I dug up all the raspberries so that we can start a larger patch for u-pick.
The apple trees started blooming about a week ago. There are still lots of trees with blooms. We welcome anyone who would like to take a walk in the orchard to stop by the farm. If you do just let us know you are here.
Today is my oldest Grandson's First Holy Communion. We will be celebrating at the church this morning with a breakfast after Mass and again this evening here at the farm with the family. Deanna is making a Prime Rib for dinner!!!
|Posted on April 17, 2013 at 5:30 PM||comments (0)|
Late last week Brian Wiggins showed up here with his honey bee hives. He unloaded them into the back of the orchard. Early this week he brought new queens for each hive. His bees spent the winter in California pollinating the almond orchards. Knowing how much I like almonds and almond extract I thought that that would be delicious honey. How wrong I was. Brian informed me, it tastes bad and he will not sell it. Brian takes the bees to California for two reasons, first is income from pollination and second is to keep the bees active. His bees are used as pollinators in the mint fields this summer but for now they are waiting (just like we are ) for warmer weather. Our hope is that when the apple trees blossom the bees will have warm weather and be able to produce some apple blossom honey.
Now we wait for the apple blossoms.
|Posted on April 10, 2013 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
Sometimes it seems like an eternity ago and sometimes it feels like just a few days since Debbie and I ordered the Seeds for this year’s greenhouse. That was early in January and now it is April. We use trays that hold 200 plant starts each and I planted 50 trays in the first go round. (That’s right a possible 10,000 plants, but they never all germinate.) I finished transplanting the first round about a month ago and started the second. Today I finished the second round of transplants. The greenhouse and the annex are full. Many of the flowers have started budding and blooming. The tomatoes are getting tall and the peppers are filling out. I still have most of the herbs to transplant but they need to get a little bigger. I plan to take a 4 day break from the greenhouse and go back on Monday to see lots of new flowers opened!!
We plan to open the greenhouse for the season on April 15th.
|Posted on March 31, 2013 at 4:15 PM||comments (0)|
Just yesterday morning I looked up from raking and noticed the apricot tree had burst into bloom. As we left for Easter Mass I saw the daffodils had opened this morning. This afternoon we walked out to the apricot trees and listened to the bees that were busy pollinating. Now the buds on all the trees are swelling, the days are longer than the nights and noticeably warmer, spring is truly here. Happy Easter!!