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Cultivate Simple 21: Organic Orcharding

March 11th, 2013

This week on Cultivate Simple we attended an organic orcharding workshop presented by CJ Walke at the Belfast Free Library.
the organic orchard
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Books to check out:

Do you have an orchard? What varieties of fruit do you have in it?

12 Comments to “Cultivate Simple 21: Organic Orcharding”
  1. Maybelline on March 11, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Very small: plum, peach, apple, pear, nectarine, apricot. Citrus : grapefruit, orange, mandarin, lemon.

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  2. Joan on March 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Apple (many), pear (2), peach (1). Our blueberry bushes never took, but we’d like to replace them. We also have some wild concord grapes. I want to add apricot, nectarine, asian pear, and maybe another peach tree or two. And I’d love to add a lemon tree, but would have to move it inside in the winter.

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  3. whit on March 11, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Can’t wait to listen to the podcast some day!

    The farm we bought has a pond, and around it is planted something like 8 blueberry bushes and 4 apple trees. We have 8 more apple trees scattered around the property, a Hawthorne berry, hazelnuts, ginko, and medlars. There are also some aronia berry trees mixed in too. It’s amazing!

    We do have plans to add pears and plums at some point. Wish peaches and nectarines did better here.

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  4. Marina C on March 11, 2013 at 8:52 am

    We have a small 5 year old orchard.
    Apples: Macoun, Gravensteins, Spitzenburg, Honey Crisps, Northern Spy, Rome, Calville Blanc d’Hiver
    Pears: Bosc, Comice, Seckel, Bartlett
    Peaches: 2 Red Haven, freestone, extremely productive, even at a young age.
    I have to say that for the last 3 years in Southern NH, we lost our apple and pears buds due to a May frost after an early warm up spell. Oh well! The fruit will be all the sweeter when we finally get some!

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    • KimH on March 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Oh Marina.. your apples are some of our most favorites.. especially the Esopus Spitzenburg & Macoun… Yum!!

      The best apple butter I ever made was a combination of mostly Northern Spy,with some Spizenburg & Mcoun… It flew off my shelf too.. everyone loved it & came back for more..

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  5. Ann on March 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

    We moved into our house 4 years ago and immediately started to fill the 3.5 acres with fruit and nut trees. We have pretty much everything, to include some unusual stuff. But we have yet to get much. Some due to immaturity, some to freaky weather but a lot to a horrible pest, the Asian Fruit Moth. Our peach trees have been loaded 3 years in a row and we have yet to get 1 peach because we refuse to spray. There is an organic pheromone disrupter in the pipeline but at this time, the only way I can find to buy it is in a lot of 550 of the little twisty things and it is quite expensive. I would be willing to try these things out but I only need about 1/5 of the number they are selling according to the info they give. I have looked on line and no one else seems to be selling them in any quantity at all. So maybe next year another option will be available. The Asian fruit moth attacks so many different fruit trees and pretty much destroys both the fruit and then also the tree itself.

    But we also have blueberries, grapes, hardy kiwi, berries ect. All of which have their own pests, mainly Japanese beetles. But I can hand pick them and feed them to my chickens who will follow me around the yard to get them as I take them off the plants!!

    I am hoping for some hazelnuts this year along with maybe our first almonds. Time will tell.. We love our orchard even if it has not produced what we would like. I think eventually everything will find a way to balance itself out. Hopefully some of the correct predatory bugs will show up to deal with those pesky Asian fruit moths. I figure nothing will ever predate those Japanese beetles but me!

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  6. KimH on March 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

    No orchard for me, though I do have 3 blueberry bushes, a Chicago Hardy fig and 3 table grapes tucked in here & there. As of yet, none have put any fruit on, but Im hoping they will one of these years. ;)

    I had small orchards in the last 2 houses I owned.. One was there when I bought the place, and my mom & I planted the other.

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  7. Sam on March 11, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    We have a rather informal orchard here in south Mississippi with lots of blueberries (over 50 bushes), apples, pears, plums, peaches, persimmons (Japanese and native), figs, pomegranates, and citrus that we’ve been keeping in pots until they get more acclimated to our zone. Many of them are still getting established, but even so, we enjoy an abundance of really fresh fruit throughout the year!

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  8. DebbieB on March 12, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I have no orchard, no fruit trees – just two old magnolias. I found this fascinating, though – organic pest control is an idea that can be adapted to the home garden as well.

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  9. Chris on March 14, 2013 at 5:44 am

    I look forward to listening to the podcast. I have found with very young orchards, fruit is sporatic and prone to pest invasion. The “fruits” of our labours (so to speak) often have to wait several more years. This is simply because trees tend to be planted in the open, with very little diversity going on around them.

    The only trees which have done well for us, are the super hardy citrus and those trees we didn’t plant in the open. We try to make it a practice of planting slow growing fruit trees, with fast growing plants now. We even welcome weeds!

    So much trial and error is involved in evolving our orchard. It’s not as simple as sticking plants in the ground and watering. You need to welcome the pest eaters with other forms of dense shrubbery too. It has been a slow labour of love (with very little to show for it thus far) but one I hope we keep persevering with. You really have to lower your expecations, when developing an orchard which has not been established.

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  10. Gunny on March 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    After hearing the phrase ‘compost does not supply any nutrients’ from the recording, I shut it down. That is a load of bunk. Square Foot Gardeners only use compost to supply their gardens. Read the ‘All New Square Foot Garden’ 2nd. Ed. to find out more. Compost is the key to your garden and homemade is best because you know what is in it. All those vegitable scrapes from the kitchen and your yard waste make up black gold and you can have it in 14-18 days using the Berkley method. Do not take that persons word for it. As my great grand father would say “taint so”

    Reply to Gunny's comment

    • Susy on March 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      There actually is a lot of debate about the nutritional value of compost. It really depends on how it’s made and whether or not it’s protected from the rains. Having a cold compost pile that gets rained on does make for lower quality compost that can’t really be counted on for much more than adding humus to the soil. I think that’s why he said this.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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