Spring is the season of hope. And just as the winter citrus crop is gone, we move to the orchard. And this year the orchard is looking very hopeful with cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, loquats, apples and pears all off to a good start. The big question is not if we will have a good crop, the question is who will get to enjoy it- us or the varmints? I hope we get to enjoy the fruit, but the rascally rodents of Putney Farm will certainly come calling, and we will have a fight on our hands. We hope we win.
While we have our share of pests to fight in the garden, the orchard is a totally different deal. The garden is partly caged with raised beds and wire mesh to fight the gophers, moles, etc. We fight the bugs organically, and it works pretty well. In the orchard, we are also (mostly) organic, but it’s a full-on battle. Birds, squirrels, wood rats, gophers and all sorts of blights go after our trees and fruit with gusto. And once the fruit is even close to ripe, the hordes will descend upon us. We get better every year at protecting the crop (and yes that means killing a bunch of gophers and wood rats), but we are far from victory.
But for now, all is beautiful. When we first venture into the orchard, it is hard to see the fruit, but suddenly we see dozens, sometimes hundreds of small peaches, plums and cherries. The colors are just developing and the fruits are small, but we just know how good the fruit can be. It makes us smile, every time. Continue reading