News and Blog

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Posted 5/10/2010 10:46am by Bill Oyler, Mary Ann Oyler, Sara Baldwin, Jacob Oyler, Katrina Oyler.

Apple Cluster 05-10-10

Since there are no approved chemical thinners for organic apple production, our thinning is completed by hand.  This is an extremely labor intensive and costly practice.  If all 6 apples in this apple cluster were permitted to mature, the apples would be small and poorly colored.  This is because the apples are in close proximity to one another.  In addition, if the trees have an excessive amount of apples on them there will be a light crop the following year. We started thinning last week. 

Sara

 

 

Posted 5/1/2010 3:02pm by Bill Oyler, Mary Ann Oyler, Sara Baldwin, Jacob Oyler, Katrina Oyler.

Planting Windbreak Trees

We have been busy planting more trees this week, only this time we are planting windbreak trees and not fruit trees.  The trees that we are planting include eastern redbud, white pine, and sugar maple.  In this picture, Bill and Jerry (Bill's brother) are working to hammer in a stake to hold the shelter in place.  The shelter will help to protect the tree from deer.

Posted 4/30/2010 7:40am by Bill Oyler, Mary Ann Oyler, Sara Baldwin, Jacob Oyler, Katrina Oyler.

Looking for something to do this weekend?  You might be interested in attending the Apple Blossom Festival in Arendtsville, PA.  It is from 9 am to 5 pm this Saturday and Sunday, May 1st and 2nd at the South Mountain Fairgrounds.  The address of the fairgrounds is 615 Narrows Road, Biglerville, PA  17307.  You can find more information at http://www.uasd.k12.pa.us/upperadams/Fruitgrowers/festival.htm

Even though the blossoms are all gone now, the festival is still lots of fun!

Posted 4/25/2010 3:24am by Bill Oyler, Mary Ann Oyler, Sara Baldwin, Jacob Oyler, Katrina Oyler.

Planting New Trees April, 2010

We are extremely happy to say that our new apple and peach trees are in the ground!  We were very fortunate to have gotten them planted before the rain.  The rain will give the newest additions to our farm a nice drink.  In this picture, Bill and two of our helpers are planting one of the baby trees.  It is exciting to drive up the road and look at the next generation of trees planted in the new orchard.  Jacob is looking forward to when the Pink Lady trees will bear fruit; he really enjoys that apple variety.

Sara

Posted 4/19/2010 1:28pm by Bill Oyler, Mary Ann Oyler, Sara Baldwin, Jacob Oyler, Katrina Oyler.

Measuring for Planting Baby Trees

In the spring of 2008 we began a new orchard on our farm with the planting of baby peach and apple trees.  Since this is a large investment, we only planted part of the orchard.  In the spring of 2009 we purchased more varieties and added to the orchard.  This year we purchased more trees to finish the orchard.  This afternoon Bill and Mary Ann are measuring before we start to plant the last section of the new orchard (see photo above).  Can you see the baby trees we planted in 2008 and 2009 in the background?  We are super excited to plant more trees and have more varieties available for you! 

This year we are planting three peach varieties from the Flamin' Fury series.  The fourth variety is called Redstar.  The apple varieties that we are planting this year are GoldRush, Pink Lady, Royal Court, and Redfield Red Braeburn.  (The Royal Court is a Cortland apple.)  Don't they sound delicious?!

Sara

 

Posted 4/16/2010 3:18pm by Bill Oyler, Mary Ann Oyler, Sara Baldwin, Jacob Oyler, Katrina Oyler.

Putting Up Mating Disruption

CM/OFM Twin Tubes

Our first method of defense against potential worms is through the use of what is called Isomate CM/OFM twin tubes (see picture of a twin tube above).  When female moths are ready to mate, they emit what is called a pheromone (the equivalent of a perfume).  The male moths are attracted to this perfume.  We purchase Isomate CM/OFM twin tubes and put them in the orchard.  The twin tubes have the pheromone on them which confuses the male moths because they think that the females are everywhere!  They either don't find the females or it takes them longer to find the females.  When they do not find the females, there is no mating and therefore no eggs.  When it takes the males longer to reach the females, the females are not as fertile and therefore do not produce as many eggs...therefore less worms.  The mating has been disrupted, which makes the use of these twin tubes known as mating disruption. 

The two moths whose pheromones are on these twin tubes are codling moth (CM) and oriental fruit moth (OFM).  These are two moths who, when in the worm stage, enter apples and consequently are known as internal feeders.  We like the mating disruption because it is a no spray option.  Since it is not killing the moths, it is not a poison of any kind.  The picture on top above is of Katrina putting a twin tube in one of our apple trees.  Aren't bugs interesting!?

Sara

Posted 4/10/2010 8:01am by Bill Oyler, Mary Ann Oyler, Sara Baldwin, Jacob Oyler, Katrina Oyler.

Bumblebees April 9, 2010

The extremely warm weather that we have been having has accelerated the spring growth on our apple trees.  As a result, the flower buds are coming into bloom earlier than normal (see the pictures of some pretty apple blossoms in our photo gallery).  We generally pollinate with honeybees.  Things are abnormal with the weather this year and we cannot rent the honeybee hives until Sunday night so we purchased bumblebees to put in our orchards.  We distributed them yesterday morning so that they can work until the honeybees arrive. 

The above picture is one of the bumblebee quads that we put in our orchards.  The crates are to encourage air circulation around the unit and keep it off of the ground.  The plywood on top is to help protect the bees from the afternoon sun.

Pollination is a somewhat stressful time, because if the weather conditions are not correct the bees do not work very well, the blossoms do not get pollinated, and there are no apples.  Bees do not work as well in windy, rainy, cold, or extremely hot weather.  The apple blossoms smell soooo good; it's easy to see why the bees are attracted to them!

Sara

Posted 4/3/2010 6:49am by Bill Oyler, Mary Ann Oyler, Sara Baldwin, Jacob Oyler, Katrina Oyler.

March 31, 2010 Apple Bud Opening

Welcome to our blog!  I thought it would be appropriate to begin our blog with an exciting picture from our orchard.  This is a picture of a tiny apple bud opening up in response to the warm weather that we have been having.  Aren't the tiny leaves adorable?!  The center of the bud is where the flower (apple blossom) is developing.  Did you know that one flower bud will produce on average four to six apple blossoms? 

The weather has been very warm so far this spring.  If the warm weather continues, the blossoms will open up earlier than usual.  I love apple blossom because the orchard is buzzing with activity as the bees pollinate the heavenly smelling blossoms!

Sara

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