This is a place for orchard volunteers to communicate with each other.

......To post a message, click on EDIT, put the cursor below this box, click the mouse,
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June 18 - Gina
Applied more Tanglefoot where needed. The ants still seem to be a problem.



NEW2018 Spring ScheduleTasks: Ants are a priority! Thin fruit when about 1 inch big. Netting on trees.

(Note from Jane on June 30: Feel free to post on this website if you're not yet comfortable posting on the new website. I'll copy all postings at either site to the other site until everyone gets used to it. )

July 2-Stacy (Will not be at the orchard the week of July 16 & the beginning of July 23)
Checked tanglefoot on all trees. The ants have pretty much figured out how to conquer the tangle foot. Every week they manage to walk across it by either sacrificing themselves or bringing up dirt & leaves to create a path. Each week we just need to smear the tangle foot again to make it sticky again. I sprinkled diatomaceous earth around ALL trees. Once diatomaceous earth gets wet, it no longer works & will have to be reapplied. Do not apply on the wet ground if the trees have been sprayed with water. Maybe next year, early, we can spray the tops of the trees weekly with SAFER to kill the aphids? Or maybe we should get more of the blue ant bait stations? While under the trees, I pulled weeds & removed some water sprouts. Removed netting from peach tree.

June 30 – Diane -

Stopped by the orchard on Sat. Ants and aphids are taking a toll on the plums, nectarines, and peaches. You can see the damage as the curled up leaves on the ends of the branches. I spent some time spraying off leaves with the hose in an attempt to get the ants and aphids off, but it is so bad I’m thinking it might be best to go in and re-do the tanglefoot making sure we have a good barrier and then cutting off the damaged leaves. Most of the trees do not have fruit this year (I think it was a warm/dry winter) so we won’t be affecting our yield.

Since I have Wednesday off, I can meet anyone on the team on that day to do this. Please email if you want to join me and we can arrange a time to meet.

Other things of note:
1) Netting can be removed from peach tree that has been harvested.
2) I saw that the tanglefoot had been put directly on the tree trunk on the dwarf nectarine at the top of the orchard. This is not good for the tree. It needs to go on top of a barrier such as the carpet-tape or the brown paper tape.
3) Do we have someone going to the orchard twice a week? I haven’t seen many postings so I’m not sure if people are not going or if it’s a learning curve with the new blog. It’s not quite as straightforward as the old way, but it’s not too bad. Let me know if I can help or even just email me your blog and I can post it.

4) I also refilled the ant bait station and put it in the area between the 4 plum trees since there is a lot of ant activity there. Please check the station and add more liquid if needed. There is a bottle of bait in the center upper cabinet. I mixed it 50/50 with water as that was an option on the bottle. It also said to put it in an area that was more shaded than sunny, so the new location works for that also.

June 4th-Resume both teams going every week

Note from Diane - The small tree at the top of the orchard is a dwarf nectarine. There is a map of the orchard here:

June 28 - Ellen -Harvested 8 lbs of Anna's apples; 1.5 lbs Dorset Golden

June 21- EllenHarvested 6 lbs of Anna’s apples. Applied more tanglefoot to almost half of the trees. Thinned some fruit & disposed of damaged fruit.
June 14 - EllenHarvested 3 lbs of Anna’s apples, 4.5 lbs of Dorset Golden apples, and 1 lb of peaches. Removed damaged fruit from peach & apple trees. Thinned some of the apple trees.
June 11-Stacy
Reapplied Tanglefoot where needed. Removed partially eaten, damaged fruit from peach tree to detour ants.
June 7 - EllenThere were lots of ants on the peaches. I hosed them off & added more tanglefoot. Didn’t see any other ant problem.Thinned a couple of the apple trees.
Note from Jane on Saturday, May 19 -- We're beginning Monday and Thursday harvest this coming Monday. Probably nothing from Garden 1 yet, but Gardens 2 and 3 have a lot of zucchini. The Garden 1 Monday team and the orchard can join in when appropriate. Not sure where things stand in the orchard.

June 4 Gina & StacyPicked 3.25 pounds of Tropic Snow Peaches. (I do not understand where to log this in, Stacy)Reapplied tanglefoot where needed. Trimmed some ice plant on west side. Cut water sprouts. Sampled a Golden Dorset that was yellow & pink. It looked ready but was FAR from being ready.
May 31-EllenInspected for ants; sprayed them off & reapplied tackyfoot on the dwarf nectarine & 2 other nectarine trees. Thinned some apples.
May 29-StacyBirds were feasting on the peaches. Placed net over the tree. Finished moving the remainder of the bark mulch.
May 28- Gina
Finished fertilizing the rest of the trees followed by a good watering. I put some of the tacky foot on the dwarf nectarine and the peach tree. The ants are still pretty bad on the nectarine tree. Also picked 5 lbs. of Anna apples which I recorded in the Project Results.(correct?)
BTW I love the trumpet vine growing at the top of the orchard. I think we should keep it. It gives the orchard a nice focal point when looking that way.

May 26- DianeFertilized down through the peaches. Start at the Anna Apples next time.Sprayed off the dwarf nectarine and put tackyfoot around the base.Moved the ant bait (blue container) to the base of the dwarf nectarine since there are so many ants in the area.Also sprayed aphids off of several other trees, but didn't have time to do them with tackyfoot.Let me know if we need more tackyfoot stuff.Looks like we're staying lucky with the birds not going after peaches. Some may be ripe enough to pick this week. There are also some Golden Dorset Apples that look ready.
May 23 - Stacy
Fertilized the orchard from the top Mango Tree down & finished with the 2 Nectarine Panamint trees. Next one who goes to fertilizer would start at Nectarine 'Double Delight' & Nectarine 'Snow Queen' and work their way down.
May 17- StacyTook 3 loads of mulch to top of orchard. 2 more to go!I know its a lot of work, but if we can get another load of mulch or 2 by the next rainy season, that would be great. There will be less weed pulling for the following year.The metal stakes were hanging on the fence again. I moved them to where they store the rest of them.I used diatomaceous earth on 'tiny' (unnamed tree) at the the top of the hill.
May 16 - StacyCleaned up the top of the orchard for the guest to arrive. There is a plant that has trumpet flowers. Can this be pulled? or is this a native, that needs to be left alone?Garden crew placed metal horseshoe stakes on the green netted fence. It was to heavy for it, so to I had to put the fence back up. Need to zip tie in a few spots.Dried ice plant & weeds bagged. 3 bags ready to be hauled away. Tarp rolled & put in bin with food. All wood stakes were placed under the table.Weeds pulled throughout orchard. Thinned fruit. Some branches were getting to heavy.I was only able to take one load of mulch to the top of the orchard.Ants are out of control. The tiny unnamed tree at the top of the orchard by the mango is infested! That needs to be a major focusalong with feeding the trees. I'll go again this week to work on it but if anyone else can go as well, that would be great!
The teams should probably go back to the original schedule once Ellen gets back.
Is it okay if I spread diatomaceous earth at base of trees until we can get the tangle foot sticky stuff around the base of the trees?
May 11 - DianeThanks for your work!Stopped by the garden to see how things are coming along. (I'm working full time these days so I don't have a chance to stop by too often.) Noted the following:

  • Einsheimer Apple at top of grove needs thinning.
  • Weeds and plants at top of grove could be cut back from around the mango tree.
  • There are a bunch of weeds put on top of the drying ice plant. Let's put weeds in the green waste bin when we pick them. If they dry out in the garden, there is a chance the seeds will blow around and reseed themselves.
  • Saw aphids on peach trees (tropic snow, July Elberta and Babcock white) as well as some of the nectarines and some of the plums. Look for the groups of leaves that are curled up, usually at the end of a branch. I sprayed them off with water to set them back a bit, but it will need to be done again and the sticky stuff should be reapplied at the base of the trees. There should be supplies in the middle top of the workbench. Let me know if you need anything.
  • Have we fertilized again lately? That needs to be done and please hand water thoroughly when you do so since we ain't getting any rain to help it soak in.
  • Let's keep an eye on the peaches, we should put a net over the tree with fruit so the birds don't get it. There should be a net in the wooden bin. Let me know if you can't find it.

April 30 - GinaWeeded top of garden
April 30, 2018 - Diane

  • Delivered some mulch for the garden! It is in the same place the other mulch was, close to the driveway by the street. Please use this to cover the spots in the orchard that are bare dirt.

April 26 - EllenWeeded, thinned apple trees. Checked new leaves for ants & aphids.i will not be available from May 9-29.

April 20 - StacyWorked on weeds mostly at top of orchard-April 12 - EllenWeeded for about an hour (but there are still lots there). Thinned fruit on 3 apple trees & took just a few off the peach tree.
March 29 - EllenI thinned fruit on 2 apple trees and the peach tree. Spent the remainder of the time weeding.
March 22 - Posted by DianeStacy (and I came for the very end) fertilized all the remaining trees. The plan is that the coming rain will soak it in. If that doesn't materialize, we'll have to water it in, but I think we'll be OK. :-)
March 1 - DianeEllen and I met at the orchard this morning and did a few things.We fertilized the following trees that were either starting to get leaves, flower, or even set fruit:

  • Mango
  • Einshemer Apple (top of orchard by Mango)
  • Flordahome Pear
  • Cherry Plum (Delight)
  • Tropic Snow Peach
  • Both Anna Apple trees
  • Dorset Golden Apple
We also refilled the fertilizer bucket (in the bin) and left a partial bag in the bin. Use the stuff in the bag first since the bucket protects it from getting wet.
We did a little bit of pruning where we had crossing stems and things looked a bit too thick.
Trimmed the last Mexican sage and the seed heads off the pampas grass. We bundled up the stems and put the seed heads in a bag and left them in the trash/green recycling area.

Feb 21-Stacy
I pulled weeds today. They weren’t flowering so I left them to decompose. We should probably get more mulch for the top of the orchard. I also broke off dead branches of the sage bush. Another one needs to be done as well.
Feb 19- Stacy
I walked the orchard last week. Everything looks good. Some apple trees & a peach tree have leaves. I will go back sometime this week & work on the weeds popping up.

Feb 1 - Ellen
I pulled weeds, disposed of some previously cut small branches that were in a pile by the Mexican Sage.

Jan 18 - Gina
I picked & bundled the branches that we earlier trimmed. Also picked some apples that were still on the trees. It was Thursday so Elliott took care of the fruit.
Jan 7- By Diane
  • We had 4 of us (Jen, Stacy, Gina and myself) at the garden today to do pruning.
  • We pruned all the trees (except the mango, which doesn't need to be pruned)
  • We also did dormant spraying (copper spray) on the plums, peaches (except for the one in bloom) and nectarines.
  • We picked up most of the cuttings and bundled them and put them by the trash/green waste bins. If there are cuttings that we missed, they could be put in the green waste (not compost).
  • There are some small apples on one of the Anna trees and the apple at the very top of the hill (just below the mango) If they are still there, could Thursday's team pick them the next time they are there?

Jan 4- Ellen
I spread the mulch & started to cut back the Mexican Sage.

sorry, Diane, I didn’t read the blog until I was on the way out the door, so I didn’t have time to let you know I’d be there.

Dec 28 - Diane
Walked the orchard and found that the warm weather has one of our peach trees trying to bloom! The rest of the trees (with the exception of the mango) appear to be dormant (or close to it).
I'm not sure which team is working next week, but the mulch still needs to be spread and the Mexican sage can have the dead flower stems cut off. Please let me know when you plan to be at the orchard and I'll see if I can meet you so we can do the dormant spraying. I'll also be sending an email to the team to organize a pruning day in the next few weeks.

Dec 7- Stacy
Showed up today around 9:45. Looks like others were there working on the mulch.
I finished moving the last of the mulch pile to the orchard. It still needs to be spread out, but I believe I am due to go next week, so I will work on it then.
There are a lot of eucalyptus leaves & pine needles left. If you want those moved to the orchard, please advise. Thank you.

Nov 30-Stacy
Moved mulch to the upper orchard this afternoon. Still needs to be spread out.
Note from Jane -- when I stopped by this morning, Ellen had been busy hauling wood chips to the orchard.

Nov 20 - Gina
I helped the ladies in Garden 1 to harvest until the truck with the mulch arrived. We unloaded the mulch near the road. One girl and her mom showed up to help for a bit. Someone in Garden 3 needed some mulch so they moved a couple of wheelbarrows up there.

Nov 12 - posted by Lori (Garden 1 Sunday team)
When you prune the fruit trees, please do not put the branches (even the skinny ones) in the precompost bins. They 're too hard and decomposition takes too long. Please bundle the branches for green waste or chop them up and put them in the green waste can. Thanks very much.

Nov 9 - Ellen
Removed ants from a few branches, removed some dried leaves near the base of a couple trees that were allowing ants to avoid the sticky stuff. Nothing else was needed.

Hard to see this as a worthwhile endeavor at this point.

Nov 2 - Ellen
We did a check of the orchard, found nothing needed to be done.

October 30-Stacy
Gina & I helped the garden crew pick green tomatoes, remove the row of tomatoes plants, cut them up for composting & carried tomato cages to the shed at the top of the hill.

October 26 - by Ellen

  • We picked 1 lb of apples
  • cut back more ice plant & put it on the tarp
  • looked for ants & aphids; wiped off the few I found

October 23 - Posted by Diane
  • Cut some more ice plant and some of the palm and thistle west of the orchard. We put the ice plant on the tarp that is in the orchard just outside garden #2.
  • I've asked Roy if he can get us some wood chips/mulch to replenish the orchard area. He's going to ask his tree guy on Thursday.
  • Thursday team - can pick apples if any are ready and continue with ice plant. Help out in the other gardens if you want also. Thx

October 19- by Stacy
Apples that were picked Oct 9th were weighed in on Thurs. Oct 19, 3 pounds.

October 19 - by Ellen

Most apples were picked on Monday; the few that are left didn't seem ready to be picked.

Wiped a few ants off by hand, but there were far fewer ants this week than last.

Helped out in garden.

Notes from Jane on Oct 17 --
1. I've added a Wish List at the top of the blog. You can use it to identify garden supplies needed for the orchard. Our volunteer shopper is Suzanne in Garden 3. She shops about once a month.
2. I've noticed that the orchard harvest is often reported in terms of number of items picked. That's fine, but I also need the weight(s) since I keep our project records by weight. Any of the Garden harvest teams would be happy to show you where we keep the produce scale(s) and how to use them. Or maybe they do the weighing for you I think that's been happening since fruit weights are reported in the garden blogs. Thank you!

October 16, 2017 - by Gina Let us know if you need us to do anything special in the next few weeks. It seems things are slowing down. Thanks.
  • cleaned up surrounding area around trees
  • checked trees for ants/aphids

October 12, 2017 - by Ellen
  • Removed a few water sprouts under one tree
  • checked the apples, but they didn't come off easily so we left them
  • removed lots of ants by hand

October 6, 2017-by Gina
  • Checked all the trees and no signs of ants or aphids.
  • Removed and bagged some pickle weed by the apple trees.
  • I picked 12 apples but the ladies in the bottom garden said that Jane posted something regarding harvesting on Thursdays ONLY due to animals getting into the shed. So I brought the apples home and will drop the off at the shed on Thursday. There are still a few apples left on some of the trees.

Sept 28, 2017 - by Ellen
We refilled the ant bait. There's about an inch of liquid left in the bottle.

A couple trees had a lot of ants on new growth. We wiped them off by hand.

Removed & bagged some more pickle weed.

Sept 25, 2017- by Stacy
  • Inspected under trees. Where ants had managed to bypass the tanglefoot, I just used a small stick to smear the tanglefoot in those area.
  • Worked on removing iceplant from the path that leads to the orchard. Filled 3 black bags to be put out for yard waste pickup.

Note from Diane: I looked at the orchard and determined that the leaves that Stacy had sent pictures of are doing their normal end of season color change. Everything is OK. Looks like the ant bait could be refilled. The liquid to refill it is in the garden 1 workbench. If we are getting low, please let me know and I'll put it on the shopping list on the garden 1 blog.

Sept 18, 2017 - by Stacy
  • Inspected under trees, pulled weeds while down there & added more tanglefoot where needed. By hand, removed aphids from tips of branches.
  • I took pictures of some leaves that I'm curious if they are diseased. I will email the photos to Diane. I do not understand how to share them on this site.
  • 3 apples picked

September 14, 2017 - by Ellen

I bagged up the pickleweed cuttings; stripped dried leaves off the cuttings & put the branches in the compost bin.

Washed ants & aphids off the trees.

September 11, 2017-by Stacy
  • We worked on cutting water sprout to below the dirt line. Some were very thick & we were unable to do so with the cutters we had, but we did the best we could.
  • We bagged iceplant that was already in a pile & then proceeded to cut more back in the lower part of the orchard. 4 bags total were placed at the compost bins.
  • QUESTION FROM JANE -- Do we need to acquire a better tool? I don't believe so,need to check tool shed. My cutters just needed sharpening. (Checked shed, there are larger cutters in there that can be used)

Things that can be done

There are still piles of cuttings and ice plant/pickleweed in the orchard.

If the cuttings have dried enough so that the leaves can be stripped off the branches, pick up the branches and put them in the green waste bin or bundle them up with twine. Dried leaves may be left on the ground.

I don't think that Kim's kids are working very quickly cutting up the pickleweed so it can be dried and put in the compost. So let's bag up the pile we have and put it out for pickup. (there will always be more! :-) )There should be black trash bags in the big wooden box by the compost bins. 1. Bag it up and put it by the trash area or ask the garden crew if you should put it out at the curb. I don't remember which day trash is picked up, and what day and where it gets put out on the curb - so asking is best.

By Stacy: Things that I noticed that could also be done. More cutting back of iceplant along border to allow for easier access to the trees for picking next spring/summer. Spraying the aphids with water at the top of trees. Or I like to just put on gloves & rub them off. You have to be delicate with the leaves because they will tear easily. And where there are aphid, there are ants! So check to see how they are making their way up the tree. Check the tangle foot. Sometimes its just from a branch that may be touching the ground or the iceplant next to it. I also noticed some more water sprouts that need trimming at the base of the trunk.

September 7, 2017 - Reported by Ellen - posted by Diane
  • Cut off a few small shoots near the tree trunks, checked for aphids & ripe fruit (no apples came off easily). There were no trash bags, so we left the pickle weed. We stripped dry leaves from the recent cuttings, cut up the branches for compost.

September 4, 2017 - by Diane
  • Gina and I walked through the orchard and then bagged up one of the piles of pickleweed and stripped the leaves off of a pile of cuttings.
  • We spread the leaves on the ground, placed the bags of pickleweed by the trash bins and tied up the branches with some twine.
  • Black trash bags are in the large wooden box near the compost bins. Slide the lid back and they are on the left hand side (as you are facing uphill)
  • Twine is in one of the drawers in the Garden 1 workbench.
  • There are still a couple of piles of pickleweed and cuttings that can be bagged up.

August 28, 2017 - by Diane
  • I paid a quick visit to meet Gina.
  • Gina and Stacy did the last fertilizing for the season - They also deep watered all the trees to soak in the fertilizer and we figured a little extra water for this week wouldn't hurt.
  • Additional detailed information, by Stacy: per Diane, with gardening tools, we pulled back the mulch just outside the drip line circled around each tree. In the bin located next to the wood table in the orchard, there is a bag of fertilizer with a low nitrogen content, to help the root system grow during the winter/dormant season. We sprinkled the fertilizer granules around the tree using a cup. We then watered in the fertilizer and covered it back up with mulch. Took the full hour to accomplish.
  • We also checked all the tanglefoot & the ants found a few spots to bypass, so I took a piece of mulch & smeared tangle foot in those areas.

August 21, 2017-by Stacy
  • We have a new member of the team that joined us today. Welcome Gina!
  • 14 apples picked
  • Added tanglefoot where needed.
  • Hosed off aphids.
  • cut off some new water sprouts
  • worked on cutting back ice plant on the north side and bush on west side.
  • I trimmed one tree a bit shorter. Diane, some of the trees still seem a bit tall, would you please advise if they need to be shorter. Thank you!

August 10, 2017 - by Diane
  • I met up with Gerry and Ellen today and we took on summer pruning the trees. We got through the plums, peaches, most of the nectarines. Waiting on Apricots until they are harvested
  • There are 8 more apricots out there, we left them for next week. I may check on Sunday and pick them because Stacy may not be there Monday morning in time for the harvest crew.
  • We refilled the ant bait and placed it down by the plums as we noticed lots of ants there.

August 7, 2017 - by Diane

Stacy was at the orchard today and here's her report:
  • Cleared a large amount of the ice plant on the right side. It's a huge pile so I left it there. Also cleared weeds on the right side & threw them in the trash.
  • Picked 5 apricots. There are a couple left on the tree that are still hard.
  • I noticed that some ants are able to trail through underneath the tape & tanglefoot because of creases in the trunk. We'll have to put it on the ' to-do' list to add some tanglefoot to those spots.

  • She said that the tanglefoot in the tube is much easier to work with - so I'll get that from now on.

Note from Diane - I don't think the tanglefoot is supposed to go directly on the trunk of the tree, so I'll do some research to see if a little is OK or what else we could use to block those ant pathways. Any ideas welcome!

August 3, 2017 - by Diane
  • Gerry and Ellen worked the orchard today, trimming water sprouts, looking for aphids and wrangling back some of the pickleweed that is encroaching.

July 31, 2017 - by Diane
  • Dropped off a few new items for the orchard. A new hose end sprayer for our hose. More tanglefoot, tongue depressors for spreading it and some vinyl gloves so you won't get all sticky. Except for the sprayer, these are all on the top shelf of the middle upper cabinet in the garden 1 workbench.
  • Met Stacy at the garden this morning, we picked some apples and apricots and she was going to spray off aphids and continue putting tanglefoot on the trees.

July 27, 2017- by Diane
  • We welcomed Gerry and Ellen to the orchard today.
  • After the orientation, we spread some tanglefoot on the apples and plums at the street side end of the orchard.
  • Picked a few apples.
  • We also cut water sprouts, sprayed some trees for aphids (still more to do) and summer pruned one of the plums, which took off the aphid damaged ends of the branches too.

July 24, 2017 - by Diane
  • Stacy and her son Ethan started today and I showed them the lay of the land. They have some fruit trees of their own and are going to make great volunteers.
  • After the orientation, we picked the last of the nectarines (4) and pulled weeds at the top of the orchard.
  • There are some wonderful looking apricots that may be ready Thursday or next Monday. Let's keep an eye on them.

Message from Jane on Friday, July 21
We're delighted to welcome four new volunteers to the orchard. With the orchard coming into its own this year, Diane asked me to recruit a regular Monday team and a regular Thursday team to tend and harvest the trees. We're pleased to welcome Debi Miles and Stacy Traynor as the Monday team, and Ellen Pilsecker and Gerry Poole as the Thursday team. Diane will show them the ropes this coming week and get them started.

July 13 by Janice
  • Judith and I picked apples, pears, and nectarines and I delivered to Lutheran Church. Judith has the weight.
  • Some small fruit left on nectarine, should be harvested Monday no matter how hard it appears.
  • Lots of fruit lost to rot or vermin pecking. Left it on the ground so it will need to be picked up.
  • Set up the turquoise ant bait station under the most affected tree to get the ants started. Should be moved more toward center of orchard in a week or two.
  • Bad news: the sticky double sided tape is no longer sticky. The regular single sided duck tape, sticky side out may have worked better.
  • Good news: The tape is ready for someone to apply Tanglefoot. I'm really not up to the task.

July 7 by Janice
  • Wrapped all the trees with double sided tape, think it should work
  • Found the Ant Bait Station and put it under the large manifold cover in the orchard. Needs the liquid bait last purchased at Grangettos
  • Pruned some of the green water branches to open up some of the trees
  • There is still confusion by pickers: fruit should be picked by how it looks, not by its size. The fruit will not get any larger, just more mature, and eventually overmature.
    • The peaches are hard now but will ripen 1-2 days after picking. They should be picked.
    • Apples will not get any larger, anything with color could be picked. Yellow means it is getting old unless it is a Yellow Delicious
    • Pears should be picked, they ripen off the tree. Starting to get unflattering spots on them.
    • Nectarines are rotting on the branches or falling off the tree. I took a hard one home and it was delicious the next day. Please don't let these go to waste!
  • Noticed the big green Fruit Beetles flying around the garden. They are attracted to the rotting fruit in the orchard and are laying eggs in the nice moist garden soil. There should be a nice crop of grubs next spring. Cleaning up the rotting fruit should minimize the problem.
  • Most of the fruiting should be done except the apricots, which are still green.

  • Friday June 16 by Janice
    • The peaches and Anna Apples are ready for harvest. From what I read, Annas are ready in late June and early July. A touch of yellow and red is perfect, all green might not be ready. The peaches continue to ripen after being picked, so pick them by color not by feel….
    • Pears might also be ready.
    • A plum near the mango was dead so I gave it a tug and pulled it out of the ground. Afraid a gopher breeched the wire basket. Everything else looks good.

Wednesday, May 3, by Diane

Wanted to check on the blighted trees and am happy to report that they are all doing OK.
I thinned fruit on the nectarines and peaches and put bird netting over the early peach since the fruit is starting to ripen on it.

Wednesday, April 19, by Diane

I found myself in the area so I stopped by and cut off the blighted material from the apple trees. I was able to get it all except on one tree where I needed my loppers. I'll get back there shortly.
Placed the cuttings in the trash bin since they should not be recycled. If there is anyone else on the orchard team that is working, please let me know if you see any more brown, areas on the apple trees. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 18, by Diane
    • Stopped by orchard to see if any trees needed developing fruit thinned. I thinned the nectarines, peaches and some apples.
    • Bad news about some of our apple trees. There are at least 3 trees that have developed fire blight. This normally affects pears and can effect apples too. From the research I've done, it appears our cold and wet spring is to blame. I need to cut all of the blighted areas off the tree, 8-12 inches below the area. I will get back to the orchard on Friday to do this. We will need to be careful about any pruning in the future - cleaning our tools between cuts so that we do not spread the bacteria that causes fire blight.
    • The orchard didn't get any of the mulch that was spread by the students a couple of weeks ago, so we'll need to do that and it is getting to be time to wrap the trunks of the trees that where ants are attempting to plant aphids.

Monday, April 3, by Diane
    • Was at the orchard this morning when the school group visited. Gave a few short tours of the orchard, talking about the different types and varieties of trees, the backyard orchard philosophy of planting them close and keeping them pruned small and how we have early, mid and late ripening varieties so that we get fruit throughout the growing season.
    • Bob was supervising the group in spreading mulch around the garden, but he didn't think they would put any in the orchard. :-( So we may have to get a load ourselves and spread it. Stay tuned.
    • For those of you who have not signed up to walk the orchard, if you are still interested in volunteering, please do. It looks like it's justJanice and me, so I will put out another call for volunteers in a few weeks.

Sunday, March 26, by Diane
    • Took a walk through the orchard today. I thinned some fruit on the Anna apples and a few other trees. Some are still in bloom, some are still waking up, it's Spring.
    • The Hood Pear is not looking good. This is the tree that had a hole by its roots - see Feb 4th note. The ends of the branches are dying back and the tree is very loose in its hole. I poked around the bottom of the tree and I'm pretty sure we have a gopher down there. Do we have any of that gopher "deterrent" that we used before? I will be out of town all week but should have intermittent access to email, so let me know.
    • If you look at our Orchard walking schedule, you will notice that it is sparsely populated. :-( We've lost a few of our volunteers, so if you are interested in being on the orchard team, let me know. We could use your help. Thanks! (diane at visionmetrics dot com)

Friday, March 10 by Janice
    • Everything looked under control, weeds at a minimum, no sign of rodents or snails
    • Trimmed some sprouts below graft, pulled prickly weeds near trunk
    • Early pear has pea sized fruit clusters or 4-5, not sure thinning procedures

Sunday, February 26, posted by Diane
    • Since rain is forecast for today and tomorrow, I took the opportunity to fertilize the rest of the trees so that the rain will help soak in the fertilizer.
    • Starting to see leaves and buds on some trees. The Anna apples, both pear trees are in bloom and it looks like the apricots are almost ready too.
    • All looks good. Thanks to the team for all your work!

Sunday, February 19, posted by Diane
    • Janice and I met to tackle the mango tree. We've never pruned this one because we simply didn't know what to do. But Janice found a guide on the internet and we followed it.
    • We also fertilized the mango and added a couple of new supports and bagged up the cuttings from tree and left them by the trash/green waste cans. Mangos have a sap that can irritate skin, so we thought that was the best thing to do.
    • Lori was at the garden and told me that she had noticed that the top to the blue bin that we keep our fertilizer in had blown off and rainwater had gotten in. No problem since our fertilizer is in a covered 5 gallon bucket inside the bin. :-) We cleaned out the bin, recovered and shoved it under (partway) the table that is in the orchard. Hopefully that will keep the lid from blowing off. Can this week's orchard walker make sure it's OK? Thanks
    • For this week - check for weeds and cut back the pickle weed that is encroaching. You may leave the pickle weed in a pile and Kim's students from garden 2 will be cutting it up and letting it dry so it can be placed in the compost bins.
    • Pears are starting to bloom as well as some apples.

Tuesday, February 14, posted by Linda, with orchard help from her husband, Steve

*bagged up pickle weed and bundles up remaining branches
*hauled all bags and bundles out to the "soil" area, hopefully Thursday team can put some of them out to the curb....there are many
*cut back more pickleweed
*weeded around nectarine tree
*trees look nice and healthy

Friday, Feb. 10 posted by Janice
    • pulled prickly weeds
    • cleaned debris from around base of the trees, saw many snails
    • weeded around mango, noticed a suspected gopher hole next to the tree support, outside the cage
    • Mango could use some corrective surgery to restructure for strength. Not sure about pruning mangoes
    • all the trees look great, nice height, well balanced pruning

Sun, February 5 2017: Posted by Diane
    • Pruned the remaining trees.
    • Fertilized the peach (or nectarine) that is in bloom as well as the 2 pear trees as they are breaking dormancy and we have rain expected tonight/tomorrow.
    • What I did to fertilize: pulled back the mulch in a circle under the drip line of the tree. Sprinkled in 1 red solo cup of fertilizer and worked it into the soil. Put the mulch back in place. The Fertilizer is in the green bin that is under the wooden table at the fence line between square 1 (in garden 1) and the orchard. There is a 5 gallon bucket w/lid that contains the fertilizer and a red solo cup (as well as a small measuring cup you can use to scoop with) . The fertilizer was in it's paper bag, but the bin lid blew off and it got wet - so now it's in the bucket. You may need to use a small trowl to break up the fertilizer since it was moist, but it'll still work fine.
    • Also cut back all the suckers off the pixie dwarf peach (up at the top of the orchard next to garden 2.
    • Lastly, I found that something (a gopher?) had dug under the Hood Peach (closest to the garden 2 fence). It doesn't seem like it is eating the roots, as the tree looks good. I filled it all in with compost. Please keep an eye on this to see if it comes back. Thanks!

Wed., February 1, 2017 -posted by Kim
Picked up some of the pickle weed pruning's and cut into smaller pieces. We are going to let them dry out a bit before putting them into the compost bin. Next week my students will continue with this as well as start bundling up the tree pruning's.

MON, January 30, 2017 - posted by Celeste
Pruned Autumn Glo apricot; added cuttings to existing piles. (Used other trees as measure of how much to cut back, but stopped at one tree until sure that it's done right.) Pickaxe not sharp enough to hack out pepper tree sprouts, but cut back tree to clear some room; piled cuttings off to side of it. Double Delight nectarine has buds.

SAT, January 28 - Posted by Diane

Pruned the peaches and 3 of the 4 nectarines. I was pretty thorough, bringing the height down to a manageable level and taking out some of the larger branches. The trees that remain to be pruned are 1 nectarine, the apricots and the cherry plums. One of the peaches is starting to flower.
I also spoke with Kim. She and her students will spread out the pickleweed cuttings along the orchard side of garden 2 and let them dry so they can be composted. They will also bundle up the pruning cuttings, so it is OK to leave these things in piles in the orchard.

THURS, January 26, 2017 - posted by Judith
Pulled weeds. Tore out/cut back pickleweed that is encroaching on the trees, far enough to expose the irrigation pipe. Did a few odd bits of pruning. Picked up prunings throughout the orchard. Cut out old wood from Mexican sage, just because it needed doing! I didn't have the right tools with me to tackle the pepper tree sprouts - probably needs large fork.

TUES, January 17, 2017 - posted by Diane

This is the first weekly blog for the orchard. Each week we'll have one member of the orchard team walk the orchard and do small things and tell the rest of the team if there is something bigger that we will need multiple folks to help with.
    • I used the copper dormant spray on the Peaches, nectarines, cherry plums and plums today. We should spray at least once more before the trees break dormancy. We noticed that one of the trees was already starting this weekend, so I figured I'd better get them sprayed. Especially since we have a stretch of rainy weather coming up later this week. For future reference, the copper spray is located on the top middle shelf of the garden 1 workbench. You will need to have a hudson sprayer (I brought mine from home) and mix what you need. 2 gallons of mixture is about right. I used 4-6 teaspoons of mix per gallon of water. There are instructions rubber banded to the container. This will help with peach leaf curl on the peaches and nectarines.
    • I also continued to prune the orchard. At this point all apples, plums, cherry plums, and pears have been pruned. We still need to work on the peaches and nectarines. I left cuttings in a few piles around the orchard. Kim's group will bundle those up for us. (Thanks Kim!)
    • Next week's walker can pull weeds or cut back either the pickleweed that is encroaching (Especially around some of the apples) or the pepper tree that is has sprouted up again. The pepper tree is on the west side toward the top of the orchard. (Top = furthest away from the street).
    • If you are on the orchard team and haven't signed up yet, please sign up in the list above. Thanks!

SAT, January 14, 2017 - posted by Diane
    • Had a good crew show up for the pruning and made a dent in our project, but some still needs to be done. Thanks to everyone who showed up to prune and/or cleanup the area. Will try to schedule another day soon.
    • Found out that I should be more specific when talking about the orchard as there is at least one school garden that has an orchard too. So whenever I talk about our orchard I mean the trees that are directly west of the Backyard Produce Garden at Sunshine Care on Monte Vista Street. :-)
    • Noticed that one of the trees is already trying to put out flowers. Will need to dormant spray very soon! I'll do that on Tuesday when I do my weekly walk through.
    • We bundled up the cuttings and placed them by the compost bins. Would Thursday's team please put them out on the curb for green waste pickup? Thanks!

THURSDAY, August 25 and September 1
    • Fertilized the orchard on these two days.

WEDNESDAY, July 20, 2016
    • With help from some awesome folks who wanted to help out with the orchard, we summer pruned the orchard. There was alot to cut back, and now we can actually see through the orchard and have brought the trees down to the height that we want to keep them at. We may need to do another summer pruning in another month or so, especially on the very vigorous nectarines, apricots and peaches. We stacked the cut branches and will let them dry out, leaving the leaves for mulch and then removing or cutting up the stems.
    • We also replaced and added tanglefoot to the trees where ants were tending little aphid farms.

FRIDAY, May 6, 2016

    • I stopped by the garden to fertilize the fruit trees (taking advantage of the rain to help soak it in). I also thinned the developing fruit on the trees - I took off almost a 5 gallon bucket worth's of apples, plums and peaches. Also trimmed the suckers on the bottom of the trees and chopped some weeds.
    • The orchard is now in it's 3rd year and we are starting to see some good fruit production on the plums and some of the peach trees too. Apples are continuing to produce well and I even saw a couple of pears.

    • The trees have lots of growth, so I plan to do a summer pruning after we harvest in order to keep the trees a size that will be easy to work with.

Saturday, March 5, 2016:
    • Since we are supposed to have rain starting tonight, I took this opportunity to fertilize the orchard. The rain will help it soak into the ground. It seems I am always doing something around the rain schedule. :-) Anything to save water. Used up the last of our fertilizer, so will need to get some more.

Monday, January 11, 2016:
    • Since we are predicted to have a reprieve from the rain for the next week, I took this opportunity to spray the peaches, nectarines, plums and cherry-plums with copper spray in order to reduce/prevent peach-leaf curl..

Saturday January 9, 2016:
    • We had our annual pruning workshop this weekend. Most of the trees were pruned, but there is more to do so Jenn and I along with 2 others from the class will meet next weekend to finish it up.
    • Almost everything has lost it's leaves and gone dormant, except for the apples, which just seems to be normal.

Saturday September 5, 2015:

    • Fertilized the orchard and watered it in.
    • Also trimmed a few branches and some water sprouts from the base of trees.
    • Looks like things are done fruiting for the season.
    • We did not do any major summer pruning this year, as most of the trees were not yet fruiting. Once the trees go dormant, we will do a good winter pruning and see how things look next spring and summer.
    • Big producers this year were the apples, and the early peach. We had a few plums and nectarines. I'm hoping that this coming year with the predicted abundant rainfall and the fact that the trees are now maturing, will give us more production.
    • Left over fertilizer is in the bin under the sprinkler table.

Saturday, May 30, 2015:

My weekly-ish visit to the orchard.
    • Made a note of what is ready to harvest and posted to the Garden 1 blog.
We have Dorset Golden, Anna and Ensheimer apples as well as the Tropic Snow Peaches ready.
    • Trimmed back the water sprouts from the bottom of the trees. These sprout up from the root stalk and don't serve any purpose. They take energy away from the main tree, so it's good to take them off.
    • I also trimmed a little to open up a tree to light and air and cut back branches that were invading the space of a tree close by.
    • I checked the irrigation to make sure it hadn't blown off any emitters. Tightened up a few leaky connections.
    • Do not see any aphids and very few ants. This is unusual based on previous years, but perhaps it is because the winter was so warm.
    • Trees to keep an eye on:
One of the apricots looks leggy and not as healthy as the other right next to it. Perhaps it's being overpowered by the trees next door.
The Mango looks stressed. It has a large hole on the uphill side of it. I'm guessing it's a squirrel hole - perhaps it connects to the hole underneath the Garden 3 workbench. I'll fill it in the next time I'm by and see what happens.

Thursday, May 14, 2015:
Fertilized the orchard to take advantage of the predicted rains to help the fertilizer soak in .

Monday, March 16, 2015:
Now that I'm not leading the Saturday team, I will post more often about the orchard. :-)

We pruned and sprayed earlier this year - in January and with the warm weather we are mostly in bloom and out of dormancy.
I read a report of aphids in the orchard earlier this week and came prepared to wash off the trees and apply the sticky goop to the trunks. However, I did not find any aphids. There were some ants, mostly on the pixie peach (Farthest up the hill, just below the mango) but since it looked like they were just crawling around and perhaps helping with pollination I chose to leave them for now.
The orchard did look and test out somewhat dry, I will ask Roy what the watering schedule is. Perhaps it hasn't been turned back on, but with the lack of rain and high temps I think we need to.
I watered the trees, pulled some weeds - there are plenty more.

I also thinned the peaches on the one peach tree that is fruiting.

Tasks on the TODO list are:

Check Irrigation timing and drippers to make sure all is working well.
Wrap trunks and apply 'tacky foot' when needed.
Continue to thin fruit as needed.
Weed and add more wood chips (if we have more)

Saturday, October 4, 2014:

Just checking in. We're coming to the end of a very strange season. Successful fruit this year has been Apples and early peaches. All the rest of the trees were confused and didn't know if it was still winter or not. The prevailing thought has been that things were wonky because of the warm dry winter. Our trees did OK because of the regular water, fertilizer and the mulch (my opinion). We're hoping for more rain and cold weather this winter.

Saturday, August 3 -
We are making some headway against the aphids! They seem to be leaving the plum trees and heading for the apples - however we are seeing many ladybugs, ladybug larvae and mating ladybugs - so nature is trying to bring things back in balance.
I fertilized all the trees today (1/2 cup Gro-Power, Bloom&Fruit?) and watered that in. It appears that our newest trees - at the top (Mango, Apples, and Pears) may need a bit more water. I hand watered them more than the others and will move the irrigation lines closer to the trunks and perhaps add additional dripper heads to these. One of the pear trees looks somewhat sad - I'm hoping the fertilizer and extra water will perk it up.
I re-wrapped a few more trees and put tacky-foot on them - it seems to be doing a fairly good job, but the tacky-foot needs to be refreshed every few weeks. I ran out of vet-wrap and will have to get more. We will have to remember to remove the vet-wrap from the trunks this winter - it could girdle the trunks if we don't.
I also sprayed aphids off most of the trees - except for the apple that had all the ladybugs on it because I didn't want to disturb them.

Sunday, July 14-
We continue to fight aphids...
I stopped by this morning to re-do the support on the Mango and check out the battle.
Decided to redo the tanglefoot barriers on a few of the trees to see if they work better. My dog Clyde had a broken toe recently and we had to bandage it up - I thought that the "vet-wrap" or the self-stick bandaging would work better than the paper stuff I had on there. So I used that and it is much better. Next time I'll buy the stuff on-line where it is MUCH less expensive than getting it at Target. :-)

I saw more than a few ladybugs, so they are doing their job, slowly but surely.

Aphids at work on the Anna Apple - Before I removed them.


New Wrap

Wednesday, July 3 -
Stopped by the garden to run the last drip line to the the new mango tree. However I forgot to bring the tool to pierce the drip line to install the drippers. I'll buy one for the garden and bring it the next time I come.

I also removed the supporting stake from the Mango and moved it a bit away and reattached it so that the Mango is still supported, but can move a little. This will help it develop a stronger trunk.

I did not see the water running at 3pm, which Mark said was the time one of the schedules should run, but garden 3 was being watered while I was there, so perhaps I have the day/time wrong.

Checked on our ants and aphids. The tanglefoot seems to be working on most all the trees except the original Burgundy Plum and the Anna Apple. They are just walking over a sacrificial bridge of ant bodies on those.
I used a water spray to wash off the existing aphids and ants and while I was doing that, I noticed that we have some ladybug helpers - so I didn't wash them off and put the safer spray back on the shelf without using it. Hopefully Mother nature is going to bring things back into balance. I'll check again on Saturday and work on my patience.

Saturday, June 29 -
Unfortunately the ants seem unfazed by the tanglefoot. They were back on the Burgundy plum and also taking on one of the Anna Apples. Jenn hosed off the aphids, but I need to find something else to discourage the ants...

We had the Orchard Celebration today and planted the last tree (at least for now). This is a Manila Mango and it's at the top of the orchard. We watered it in well, but I'll have to get up there to run a drip line to it and change it's support. It's currently tied tightly to a little pole, but I want it to develop some strength, so we'll untie it from there and give it another support that will give it a little room to sway and still support it.

Tuesday, June 25 -
Mark checked our irrigation and it turns out that the bottom part of the orchard was not getting watered. That should be fixed now, along with a dripper that blew off on of the lines toward the top of the orchard. Mark also increased our watering time to be 3 hours x 1 time per week (Wednesday afternoon/evening). That should be good for the summer.

I applied "Tree Tanglefoot" (otherwise known as "that sticky stuff" and it's totally ironic that I don't remember it's name)
to several trees in the orchard. To do this, you first wrap the trunk with something to protect the tree - I used a brown paper tape that I secured with some gorilla tape. Then you spread the tanglefoot so it completely encircles the trunk. It's about the consistency of vaseline and the ants can't cross over it and that keeps them from planting the aphids.

After stopping the flow of ants, I blasted the affected trees with water to wash the aphids off. We'll keep an eye on these trees to make sure it's working and on the other trees to make sure the ants don't move to them.

Saturday, June 22 -
The Orchard looks great.
Bruce enlarged the hole for the new tree and lined it with chicken wire.
We fertilized all the trees and rinsed down all the trees.
One plum tree is being infested by aphids - planted by ants. I hosed them off, but need to stop the ants from climbing up the tree with sticky stuff...
Another plum tree has one little plum hidden in it's leaves that I missed when I was removing fruit - It's almost ripe, so I'll leave it until it's ready to pick.


June 16, 2013
Saturday, June 15 -

We're spiffing up the orchard for the festivities on 6/29 - so that means hauling more wood chips and picking up miscellaneous stuff that has appeared.
Chris and John Gleason and Kim from garden 2 helped out this morning and the orchard is looking pretty well covered.
I ran some water into the hole we are digging for the new tree and was surprised to find the water draining out almost as fast as it was going in. Perhaps I discovered an entrance to an new world underground Poway, but more likely we have happened upon a gopher tunnel. We need to enlarge the hole a bit and amend the soil for the Mango, so I'm thinking putting in a double layer of chicken wire to protect the tree will be a good idea.

The lower trees seemed drier than the upper group again this week, so I manually watered. I'll have to have Mark D. check the schedule.

Saturday, June 8 -

Trees continue to do well. The fertilizer seems to have helped out the pear trees, as well as the other ones too.

I'm not sure the lower trees are on the watering schedule - as they seemed somewhat dry this morning. I manually turned on their valve for a bit, but need to keep an eye on this.

We are receiving one more tree, a gift from the Rancho Bernardo Gardeners club. So we are digging one more hole uphill from the rest. There will be a celebration on 6/29 where we will plant that tree and then have a BBQ.

Our new tree is a Manila Mango tree, so it has different care requirements and is not deciduous - so we'll have to take those things into acccount - But from what I've been reading on the internet, we should be able to make this work.

Saturday, May 25 -

The irrigation is complete and running for 2 hours once a week on Wednesday afternoons.
We continue to haul wood chips to the area to mulch around the trees. Many thanks to the teams that are helping out with this!

Most all the trees look great - but the 2 pear trees look a bit sad. I'm hoping that they just need time to get adjusted. They were the largest trees that we put in and they most likely were in their pots for multiple years.

We have an interesting comparison between the 1st 18 trees (starting from the street and going up hill) which were bare root trees and the next 8 trees which were already potted when we got them. The bare-root trees are adjusting and thriving much better than the potted trees.

I fertilized all the trees today, using 1/2 cup of fertilizer for each tree and soaking it in. I also sprayed off the leaves of the trees at the same time to wash off any accumulated dust and possible bugs. I also removed fruit from one of the pear and one of the apple trees. There is no need for the tree to use it's energy for fruit while it's getting it's roots established.

Wednesday, April 24 -
Took advantage of the gray, cool weather and some unexpected free time to finish running the drip lines. I was also able to flush all the lines and install drippers on all the lines on the upper 4 of the 6 shut-off valves that run along the east edge of the orchard. I ran water to all those lines and everything held together. (Well, I had a couple of drippers blow off, but they just needed to be re-seated on the drip line.)

I've located a "Sprite" Cherry-Plum tree, which is needed to pollinate the "Delight" Cherry-Plum that I bought. Hopefully I'll pick that up this weekend and we can get it planted.


April 20, 2013

Saturday, April 20-
The Saturday team planted all but one of our new trees. We also ran almost all the drip line and will finish that in the next week. The trees all look very happy and are leafing out nicely.
Mark Devlin also found a garter snake in the garden (in one of the irrigation boxes) - It was nice to see it here - it'll eat pests and is not dangerous. It's black with a yellow stripe - please don't be scared if you see it, just let it go on it's way. Click this for more info...

Friday, April 19-
Mark D. has installed the irrigation for the garden. We have 6 outlets along the side which we will attach 1/2 inch drip hose to and run lines to each tree. I pruned up our new trees and used the first 100 ft of drip line and then made a shopping list and headed for Home Depot...

Sunday, April 14-
Today I went to a sale put on by the California Rare Fruit Growers of San Diego. They have a bunch of trees that belonged to a private party that they are selling. I was able to get 8 more trees - so our orchard is now full.

I got 2 apples, 2 apricots, 2 pears and 2 cherry-plums.
external image einshemer_sm.jpg
external image einshemer_sm.jpg
Einshemer Apple
Heavy-bearing, very low chilling requirement. Sweet yellow apples in early summer (late June in Central CA). Excellent pollenizer for Anna. 100 hours. Self-fruitful.
external image autumn_glo_sm.jpg
external image autumn_glo_sm.jpg
Autumn Glo Apricot
Zaiger Variety
Zaiger Variety

Zaiger Variety
Late season apricot with tremendous flavor. Ripens in the first two weeks of August. Fruit is medium-sized with good color. One of the highest scoring apricot varieties to date at Dave Wilson Nursery fruit tastings. 500 hours or less. Self-fruitful. USDA Zones 7-9. (Zaiger)
external image flordahome_sm.jpg
external image flordahome_sm.jpg
Flordahome Pear
Low-chill pear from Florida. Very nice quality: sweet, smooth-textured, juicy, flavorful. Harvest July/August in So. Calif. Early bloom. Chilling requirement less than 400 hours. Partly self-fruitful.
external image hood-2010_sm.jpg
external image hood-2010_sm.jpg
Hood Pear
Very low chilling requirement, interfruitful with Flordahome. Large, early season fruit has yellow-green skin and sweet, mild-flavored flesh. Reported to be highly resistant to fire blight. 100-200 hours.

external image delight_sm.jpg
external image delight_sm.jpg
Delight Cherry-Plum Interspecific Plum
Zaiger Variety
Zaiger Variety

Zaiger Variety
Japanese plum x cherry-plum. Flavorful, tangy, clingstone. Heavy crops. Very productive, even under adverse conditions. 400 hours. Pollenizer required. Pollenized by Sprite. (Zaiger)
The only problem is that I only got one type of the Cherry-Plum and then figured out I need a Sprite to pollenize it, so I'm trying to find if they have any Sprite trees left or if somehow I can do something like a graft...stay tuned.

Saturday, April 13 -
Weed-wacked the upper 2 sections of the orchard since the weeds are happily growing because we haven't mulched that area yet. We might have new trees, so I needed to uncover the area so we can see the holes we dug. :-0

Saturday, March 23 -
We fertilized the trees today and hauled more mulch to help keep the weeds under control. We need to put about 200 more wheelbarrows of mulch over at a time... :-)

Saturday, March 16--
We've been taking a small break now that the orchard is in. We supplemented our free trees with 2 more apples of the Anna variety so we have a total of 18 trees. We are waiting to put in our irrigation system until Mark has some time, but can hand water in the meantime. We've been mulching around the trees in the meantime. We are placing 3-4 " of woodchips around the entire area, except for a few inches around the trunk of the trees. This will help keep moisture in the soil and keep the weeds down.

Friday, March 1 -- The past few days have been a flurry of activity. The trees were delivered on Wednesday afternoon and they were much bigger than I anticipated. So - that meant we needed to enlarge our holes a little.
While digging holes, I discovered a gopher tunnel running through the orchard area. It doesn't seem to be occupied, as I ran water down it - but it told me I needed to contemplate what I was going to do about protecting the trees from gophers. After spending too much time online reading and viewing videos, I decided to use chicken wire to line the holes. It will rot out after 1-2 years, but in the meantime it will give the trees a chance to get established.

Bruce and Bernadine helped dig out the holes on both Thursday and Friday. That was a ton of help!

We received 4 different types of trees, and 3 varieties of each type.

Here's what we have:


Dorset Golden
Mid Sept
Outstanding sweet apple for warm winter areas. Firm, very flavorful, sweet like Golden Delicious. Productive throughout So. California and Phoenix, Arizona. Good early season sweet apple for Central Calif. 100 hours. Self fruitful.
We have 2 of these.
Early Fall?
Wonderful dessert apple from New Zealand. Crisp, nice blend of sweetness and tartness, rich flavor. Skin reddish-orange over yellow. Early harvest, 2-3 weeks before Red Delicious. Good pollenizer for other varieties. 500 to 600 hours. Self fruitful.
< 400
Mid Sept
Recent introduction from Japan that quickly became California's favorite apple. Sweet, very crisp and flavorful, excellent keeper. Dull reddish-orange skin, sometimes russeted. Ripe mid-September. Excellent pollenizer for other apple varieties. Chilling requirement apparently less than 600 hours. Self fruitful.
We have 2 of these

Remarkable fruit for mild-winter climates in South California, South Arizona. Heavy crops of sweet, crisp, flavorful apples even in low desert. Fresh/cooked. Keeps 2 months in refrigerator. 200 hours. Self-fruitful or pollenized by Dorsett Golden or Einshemer.

Tropic Snow
Delicious white freestone for mild winter climates. Balanced acid and sugar, superb flavor. Harvest begins mid-June in Central California. Showy blossoms. From Florida, introduced in 1988. Very low winter chilling requirement, about 200 hours. Self-fruitful.
We have 2 of these.
Babcock White
Long-time favorite white-fleshed freestone. Sweet and juicy, aromatic, low in acid. Very high-scoring in taste tests. Ripens mid-July in Central Calif. Widely adapted: (low chill requirement, yet not early blooming). 250-300 hours. Self-fruitful.
July Elberta
Also called Early Elberta. Reliable heavy crops. Juicy, sweet, very flavorful yellow freestone. Very high-scoring in taste tests. For canning, freezing, or fresh use. 500 hours. Self-fruitful.

Double Delight
Sensational fruit consistently the best-flavored yellow nectarine - plus magnificent, double pink flowers. Dark red-skinned, freestone fruit is sweet, with unusually rich flavor — very high-scoring in taste tests. Heavy bearing tree. Harvest early-to-mid July in central California. Estimated chilling requirement is 300 hours. Self-fruitful. (Zaiger)
We have 2 of these.
Attractive red-skinned yellow freestone. Aromatic, intensely flavored, nice acid-sugar balance. Dependable, long-time favorite in warm winter Southern California climates. Late July/early August. 250 hours. Self-fruitful.
Snow Queen
Sweet, juicy, early season white freestone. Late June harvest in Central CA., 2-3 weeks ahead of Babcock peach. Estimated chilling: 250-300 hours. Self-fruitful.

Santa Rosa
Most popular plum in California & Arizona. Juicy, tangy, flavorful. Reddish-purple skin, amber flesh tinged red. Late June in Central Calif. 300 hours. Self-fruitful.
Purplish-black skin, amber flesh. Large, firm, flattened shape. Sweet, flavorful, very little tartness at skin or pit. Favorite fresh market fruit, excellent for home orchard. Late July. 4-500 hours. Self-fruitful.
We have 2 of these.
Maroon-colored skin and flesh. Sweet, with little or no tartness and a very pleasing, mild flavor. Prolonged harvest, mid-July to mid-August in Central Calif. Very productive. Narrow, upright habit. 400 hours. Self-fruitful.

We have planted 1/2 the trees so far and hope to finish tomorrow. The remaining trees are hanging out in compost heap number one with their roots covered by wet leaves so that they stay moist until we get them in the ground.

Sunday, Feb 24 -- The Sunday team finished digging the holes. We have a few more dug than we need for the trees we are supposed to get - wishful thinking on my part that there may be some left-overs or that we can purchase a few more after we see what we get for free from the California Rare Fruit Growers. Waiting with much anticipation to see what varieties we get. This time next week we should have some sticks in the ground that will turn into wonderful fruit trees.

Saturday, Feb 23 -- Since we are getting the trees this week, Jenn and I spent our time in the garden today digging holes and creating the berms to slow, spread and sink any water that will come through the orchard from uphill. Lori offered to have the Sunday team dig holes too..

Wed, Feb 20 (Jane) -- Good news! We've been awarded the fruit trees we applied for! They'll be delivered to the cul-de-sac side of the garden on Tues, Wed, or Thurs (along with the trees for all the other awardees). Diane is planning another Orchard Prep Day this Saturday.

Saturday, Feb 9 -- Orchard Preparation Day!

Mother Nature gave us a wonderful day to clear the area in preparation for our Orchard.
We had soft soil due to the rain in the previous 2 days and a wonderful cool day to work in.
Our Crew was: Bruce, Garth, Mike, Dave, Bob, Roy, Patty, Sherry, Lori, Ruthanna and Kim.
In about an hour we pulled up weeds and LOTS of pickleweed and trimmed (Way back) a sumac bush at the edge of our 15' x 70' foot planting area.
As soon as I can figure out how to post pictures, I will post before and after shots. :-)

Paradise Nursery are fruit tree growers specializing in many persian plants and exotics rare fruit trees