Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Update on becoming sustainable on the farm

So far farming has not been sustainable.   Not having a tractor is a sustainable feature for the farm.   But now part of the plan is to lease a tractor when it is needed.  The farm is 3.5 acres of apples.  The understory of the apple tree area is gradually being planted with perennials.   Where an apple tree has died from disease, there is a sunny spot that can be planted with sun loving vegetable crops.  This can remediate the soil if another apple tree will be planted there after a few years.

Plans for the upcoming apple growing season.  The pruning was done in the high summer, 2014.   So for dormant pruning, there will just be pruning larger branches out of the trees.   Prepare chemical inputs.   The orchard will be set up with traps.   These traps are fedder traps with a weevil cage trap on top.   The traps are trapping curculio's and many tarnished plant bugs.  The government is doing testing, so maybe some of their research is good.   You can only hope that.      So 20 traps will be set up  around the perimeter of the orchard.   The area where the most curculios seem to aggregate, on the north side will have a more dense placement of traps.   The interior of the orchard will be sprayed with Surround at about 1/2 green tip to pink.   The interior of the orchard will also be sprayed again
 after petal fall.  

   Meanwhile, on the home front, I am burning about 120 gallons of oil a month.  This year it costs about $2.65/gallon.   Last year oil cost $3.79/gallon.   And tons of electricity.  It is not so sustainable.

  Countless money has been spent.  The more I spend the more it seems like the less apples there are.
So maybe the key is proper pruning while carefully applying any pest control.

The NEWA system, a weather computer forecasting website for fruit pests.  So that has been one helpful tool for this year.     Thanks.

Some bugs from the orchard

Some bugs under peeling bark on an apple tree


A bug with a good profile on a sticky trap

A coddling moth and an earwig face off