April brought a cool wet spring that put the trees almost two weeks behind last year (an exceptionally warm spring). April also brought a scramble to purchase the sprays and equipment I would need to make my first foray into organic apple production. A twenty-six gallon sprayer, a 19.5 horsepower used lawn tractor and lots of kaolin clay were among the purchases. Now in these final days of April, I have made my first application of sulfur and piled up most of the branches left strewn around the orchard from winter pruning. After an exceptional burst of April showers that will no doubt bring a plethora of may flowers, the rivers and streams are swollen and the ground saturated. Small ponds and mud abound in the orchard, making walking a messy business and getting around with any type of equipment almost impossible.
The early varieties have reached Tight Cluster, with the laggers still showing only a green tip. With scab season off to a wet start, the possibility of drier days ahead brings hope. The first plum in in full bloom, setting the stage for a symphony of pink and white which will grace the orchard in the coming weeks.
|The first plum blossoms|