Monday, March 3, 2014

The Early Spring Buzz

Here in Utah we are have had a very warm February.  My overly anxious apricot tree is foolishly beginning to bloom. The rest of the orchard seems to understand that if you wait five minutes the weather in Utah could change These next couple of weeks will be spent in the orchard spraying, pruning and in the garden planting cool season crops. 

Orchard To Do List:
  • Prune bearing trees.  On young trees spread limbs and correct problems
  • Apples bear on spurs on 2-3 year old  wood (short lateral shoots) some are tip bearers.  Peaches and apricots bear on first year wood
  • Remove all mummified fruit
  • On apple trees look for shoots that have dead leaves attached.  Remove these they may have been infected with fire blight.
  • Be sure to sanitized your pruners when moving from tree to tree. I carry a small spray bottle with a 10% Clorox solution
Spray with dormant spray:
  • Horticultural sprays or dormant oil sprays are a very important spray.  I use a plant based spray not a petroleum based spray.  You can also use a double strength Neem oil.  The spray I use is a cottonseed oil spray.  These oils are effective on aphids, peach twig borers, blister mites, and scale.  If you had a problem last year with aphids use a dormant oil mixed with Neem.
  • If you spray too soon they are ineffective.  The perfect time to spray is when sap begins to flow and the buds swell.  The insects become active and are susceptible around the same time your trees decide to break dormancy. So carefully watch your trees and spray when buds swell.
  • I spray all woody shrubs, trees and berries in my yard with dormant spray
I'm a bit like my apricot tree- anxious for spring.  I'm already craving some fresh produce.

Garden To Do List:

When soil temperatures are between 55-75 it's time to plant your cool season crops.  

Just stick a normal thermometer a couples inches into the soil to check.  I also check the weather for the next two weeks and if things look good I plant.

 The first seeds in the garden are peas and spinach.  Plant an open-pollinated variety of peas so you can save seeds for next year.   Designate which plants you are saving seeds from with a colored plastic tape or yarn.  Plant some peas to use the young shoots or peas tendrils in salads.  They are so tasty.

I started cabbage, pac choi, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard and lettuce indoors and will probably transplant them in the garden this next two weeks.  I always have floating row covers on hand to protect my plants from any severe weather.

Start tomatoes and peppers 8 weeks before your last frost date.  For my New Harmony neighbors that is within this next two weeks.

Barnyard News:

Meet the newest nubian to join the herd!

Handsome little buck!

What should we name him?


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