Month: April 2009

Organic Apple Growers’ Hour: April 23 Summary & Download

Our primary role as orchardists is to build system health. Understory management that embraces forest edge ecology is critical when it comes to getting a leg up on fruit tree diseases. Equally telling is the nutrient density—and flavor!—of the apples we then harvest for our families and communities. Our ultimate goal is a “cruise control orchard” that requires minimal off-farm inputs to produce good fruit. In this call Michael explored the components of a healthy orchard ecosystem and then through mutual conversation tried to zero in on the nuance of different methods. Continue reading for more information.

Mason Bee & Leafcutter Bee Management Workshop

In this workshop, participants will learn the basic practices necessary to manage populations of solitary cavity-nesting leafcutter and mason bees. Various members of these species are effective pollinators of all major bee- pollinated Wisconsin crops. This service is of particular importance to many high-value Wisconsin specialty crops, including cranberries, apples, cherries, cane fruits, and forage seed like clover and alfalfa.

Organic Apple Growers’ Hour: April 16 Summary & Download

The choices we make to deal with pest situations begin with the perspective we hold as fruit growers. Ignoring diversity and biological cycles makes insect dynamics all the more problematic without a toxic arsenal. Michael will quickly overview each approach and then through mutual conversation try to zero in on the nuance of different choices. Bringing system health to the fore creates new ways for us to see how to do better.

IPM Conference Call: April 13 Summary

1. Check in and orchard update
2. Orchard clean up—prune and remove brush
3. Late spring – short and dry
4. Spring copper application—avoid freezing nights, works best if there is tree growth
5. Fire blight control—assess where fire blight is of most concern and least concern in order to maximize effort and efficacy
6. Scab control—look for first signs of scab on green tissue
7. IPM scouting—see how many bright red eggs are present

Forgotten Fruits Summit

Dr. Gary Nabhan and the Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT) alliance recently convened the Forgotten Fruits Summit, which was held at the UW-Arboretum on March 19th, 2009. This was a national gathering of apple growers, historians, authors and advocates who came together to talk about threatened apple varieties and discuss strategies for restoring apples in the landscape (and how to train a new generation of orchardists).