Orchard Blog

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2018 Fall Schedule Tasks:

Harvest on Thursdays Only.  Check ant bait stations.
Both teams going every week

Nov 1 – Ellen

Harvested 2 3/4 lbs Anna’s apples, 3/4 lb Fuji, 1/2 Einshemer.  Cut back some of the encroaching plants at the edges of the orchard.

Oct 25 – Ellen

Harvested 0.5 lbs Einshemer apples, 1.5 lbs Anna’s apples and 1 lb. fuji apples.

October 18 – Ellen

Harvested 2.5 lbs of Anna’s apples, 0.5 lb mangos.  Continued removing damaged leaves.

October 11 – Ellen

I harvested 1.5 lbs of mangos, 3 lbs of fuji and 4.5 lbs of Anna’s apples.  Continued removing damaged leaves.

October 10 – Diane – I got a break in my work schedule so I stopped by to drop off some apples from my tree and take a look at the orchard.  It looks great!  You’re doing a wonderful job.  It looks like the aphids may be abating for the season- I looked at some of the damaged leaves and they didn’t seem to have aphids inside of the curls.   As it gets colder, the leaves on most of the trees  (except mango) should start to drop.

Mangos: they get 30 feet or taller. We should be keeping the canopy at 12-15 feet. They flower from the tips of mature branches, so pruning should not be done when flowering in May-June. Pruning should occur after harvest no later than December. Should be shaped to have 3-4 main trunks. Spreading branches are more fruitful than erect branches. Feed 3 times a year. source: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com

Oct 8- Stacy Walked the orchard. Only 2 trees had ants so I just smeared the tanglefoot on their paths. Tried the mangos, they are super tasty. It was a tiny one, so not a lot of flesh & was stringy but the taste was amazing. Hopefully we’ll get more as the tree matures. We’ll have to research how to maintain the branches, as it is not a deciduous tree.

Oct 5 (& Sept 27) – Ellen

Harvested 1 lb Gala, 2 lbs Anna’s, 3 lbs Fuji apples and 1 (approx. 1/2 lb) large pear on the 5th.  Just a couple pieces of fruit were ripe last week – one apple & a couple mangos – not enough to weigh.

On the good news front, the apple trees have fewer ants.  But I cannot seem to get ahead of the leaf damage on the other trees.

Oct 1- Stacy Filled empty bait stations (upper) added tanglefoot to three trees & sprinkled DE. Looks like some apples can be picked. If Ellen can’t make it Thursday, let me know & I’ll stop by. We will need more of the liquid ant bait.

NOTE FROM JANE on Oct 1–Requests for supplies can be overlooked if posted only in the blog.   To be sure our shopper Suzanne gets the message, please post requests on our Supplies Needed page.   I’ll do it this time.  🙂

Sept 24-Stacy Unable to work orchard today but did an early walk to check it.  A couple of Ant baits stations at top need refilling. In lower garden an above ground black irrigation pipe came apart & flooded. The crew at 8 am will see it.

Sept 20 – Ellen

1/2 lb Anna’s apples 1/2 lb mangoes.  I would appreciate advice on how to determine if mangoes are ready to be harvested.  Some are pretty small – does that matter?  I’m checking to see if they feel a bit soft & come off easily.  Some are much too high for me to reach.   NOTE FROM JANE — Are these our first ever mangoes???

I washed ants & aphids off trees.

Sept 17-Stacy

Finished bagging all the cuttings. Left pepper tree branches til leaves dry up & fall off. Refilled some of the Ant bait stations. Trimmed water sprouts. pulled weeds.

Sept 13- Ellen

cut up and bagged some of the cuttings

Note from Lori on Sept 11:  We have a new 1 gal pump sprayer (with a long wand) in the locked tool cabinet. It’s ready to use. Detailed directions are inside the box. But if you’re not sure how to use it, easiest thing might be to look on the outside of the box where it basically shows how it works. We have an old one that looks similar, also in the tool shed. Not sure if that one still works. I’ll check it on Sunday—unless someone else wants to do that first.

Sept 10-Stacy

Pulled weeds & trimmed water sprouts from all tree bases. Cut back ice plant on west side.  Sage bush was growing into a peach tree allowing ants to get on it, so I cut it back. Trimmed the small pepper tree at the top. Trumpet plant was growing on top of the tiny nectarine. I cut & removed a large portion of it so we can move around the tree. All Piles were left & still need to be bundled or trimmed down & bagged.

Sept 6 – Ellen

Picked 1 lb Fuji apples, 1/2 lb Anna’s apples.

Removed some damaged fruit.  Washed off ants & aphids.


August 27-Gina

Checked bait stations. There were still some aphids on some of the apple trees but I noticed a few lady bugs on them(good news) so I didn’t want to spray them off. Picked 1.5 lbs of apples, 1 lb of pears and one peach.


NOTE FROM JANE on Friday Aug 24 — We’ll have one final Monday harvest this Monday Aug 27, then switch to our fall/winter schedule of Thursday-only harvest.  Thank you to our Monday team.

Aug 16 & 23 – Ellen

Did battle with ants & aphids.  Removed some damaged leaves, washed off ants & aphids, removed ruined fruit.  Thinned some of the apples.  (Sorry I forgot to enter last week.)

Monday Aug 20- Stacy

1.25# apple & 1/8# nectarine

I worked on widening the ice plant path. Filled 3 black bags with ice plant.

Monday Aug 20 – note from Jane — as you’ll see when you come to the garden, I hired a tree trimmer to trim the pepper tree.  It’s looking a bit stark at the moment, but I hope it will come back looking nice while interfering less with the garden.  AND — we had them leave the shredded trimmings to provide mulch for the orchard.

August 13 – Gina 

Check all ant stations. Washed quite a few aphids & ants off the apple trees. The Fuji was especially bad.

August 9 – Ellen

Roy said he hasn’t removed the snake because he hasn’t been able to locate it.  I stomped around & stirred things up a bit with a hiking pole & did not see it.   COMMENT FROM JANE:   Cindy in Garden 3 called for assistance with the snake on Monday.  The Fire Department came and killed the snake.   Sorry – – I mistaken thought this had been posted in the orchard blog, but it was posted only in the Garden 3 blog.

Harvested 1 1/2 lbs of nectarines.  Washed lots of aphids & ants off the apple trees.

August 6-Stacy

Beware of Rattlesnake! It’s about 3 feet long. I combed the area at the top of the hill in-between the tiny tree & the Eisenhower Apple to its right. Picked from the Eisenhower, walked back down between the two trees, turned & he was crossing my path to go hide in the trumpet plant. I really don’t know how I missed him, but am lucky I didn’t step on him. I’m guessing he was coiled. Since I didn’t see him, suggesting that anyone up there should sweep the area with a stick or rake instead of relying on sight, since he is so well camouflaged. Also, maybe wear boots. Roy was aware of him last week & said he would come back for him. If someone would remind him, that would be GREAT!

Picked: 1#Anna Apple,  1/2#Eisenhower Apple,  1/4# nectarine, 1/4#Plum

Refilled all Bait Stations. Composted fallen fruit.


July 30-Stacy

I picked 2.75 pounds of Anna apples.  I received a nice reminder today, to watch for snakes. There is a rattle snake at the top of the orchard. It went under the small shed at the top. I was trimming the trumpet plant, clearing around the tiny tree, when a gardener had seen it. I trimmed half the bush, & bagged it. I trimmed water sprouts under trees & also sprinkled the diatomaceous earth under most the trees. Ant baits were about half full.


July 23 – Gina 

Well that why all the bait stations looked good. I must have just missed Diane. I thought things were looking a little better also. I sprayed some of the ants off a couple of the trees. I didn’t want them to not have a way down:)


July 23 – Diane

Checked all the bait stations and refilled those that were empty.  While there are still ants on some of the trees, it appears to me (maybe wishful thinking?) that there are less.   I also added a couple more bait stations in areas that had lots of ants.

Picked some apples, 1 peach, 1 nectarine and left on the counter in garden 1.  I was there early to beat the heat, but the teams had not shown up by the time I was finished.

July 19 – Ellen

Washed off ants & cut off lots of damaged leaves.  I did not renew the tanglefoot because it doesn’t seem to be working.

July 16 – Diane

Filling in for our vacationing Monday folks.  I picked 2 lbs of Anna Apples.  Hit the most infested trees with water to wash off ants.  The number of ants seemed to be less than I remember, but maybe that is hopeful thinking.

I received 12 smaller ant bait stations and set up 7 of these close to trees that have the most ants around them.  They are small green posts with a bait reservoir on them and look like this: Ant Bait Stations  I filled them with 1/2 water and 1/2 bait mix.   The lids have to be lined up with the small triangle on the reservoir to be able to be removed or put on again.   Please check the stations to see if there are ants on them and if they need more bait.   There are 5 more of these up in the cupboard if you feel there are more locations that they can go.


July 12 – Ellen  (Posted by Diane, bc Ellen was just getting a blank page with the WoodPress logo when she hit edit..)

Spent all my time spraying ants off trees and renewing tanglefoot.

July 9-Stacy

I harvested 17lb of Anna Apples. A few had dropped & they were easily pulling from the tree even though they seemed a bit green to me, so I picked them. Some were also getting soft on the bottom.  I refilled the ant bait station. I trimmed the Aphid Leaf Curling damage of one of the Plum Burgundy trees. Smeared tanglefoot in areas the ants made paths. Sprinkled diatomaceous earth in some places.

July 5 – Ellen

Harvested 3lbs of Anna’s apples.  Used the rest of the tanglefoot, so I got another container of it at Lowe’s & dropped it off.

July 4 – Diane and Gina-

Gina will also not be at the orchard the week of 16th and 23rd also (if I remember correctly!) so I’ll stop by and fill in those days.   (Diane)

Gina and I worked on the aphid problem on 2 of the plum trees.  The Burgandy plum closest to the garden and the Santa Rosa next to it.  We redid the barrier by first removing the old and then putting down the carpet tape, then the vet wrap on top of that and then new tanglefoot.  We’ll see how long that keeps them at bay.

The blue ant bait station is doing its job, we saw lots of activity going on.  I checked and it looks like it will be due for a refill next Monday.  The 50/50 water/bait solution seems to work fine, so let’s continue with that.

Here’s a photo of damaged leaves and what the branch looked like when we trimmed it.

Before trimming:


After trimming:


We placed the cuttings in the green waste container.  It might be easier to take the can over to the orchard so you can throw the cuttings directly into it.  You’ll get enough ants crawling on you without having to handle them multiple times.  We filled an entire bag up and placed it by the green waste container.  New bags for the container are in the big wooden box.

After trimming the tree we sprayed it off, avoiding the new tanglefoot.

It would be helpful if the crews could do another tree or two each time.  Just let us know which ones you worked on.  Priority trees are plums, nectarines, and peaches.  Don’t worry about apples, pear, and apricot as they don’t seem to be affected.  We’ll keep an eye on them just in case the ants change preferences.

We also picked up some apples that had been munched on but did not pick any because the Thursday crew will be there on harvest day.

July 2-Stacy (Will not be at the orchard the week of July 16 & the beginning of July 23)

Checked tanglefoot on all trees. The ants have pretty much figured out how to conquer the tangle foot. Every week they manage to walk across it by either sacrificing themselves or bringing up dirt & leaves to create a path. Each week we just need to smear the tangle foot again to make it sticky again. I sprinkled diatomaceous earth around ALL trees. Once diatomaceous earth gets wet, it no longer works & will have to be reapplied. Do not apply on the wet ground if the trees have been sprayed with water. Maybe next year, early,  we can spray the tops of the trees weekly with SAFER to kill the aphids? Or maybe we should get more of the blue ant bait stations? While under the trees, I pulled weeds & removed some water sprouts. Removed netting from peach tree.

June 30 – Diane

Stopped by the orchard on Sat.  Ants and aphids are taking a toll on the plums, nectarines, and peaches.  You can see the damage as the curled up leaves on the ends of the branches.  I spent some time spraying off leaves with the hose in an attempt to get the ants and aphids off, but it is so bad I’m thinking it might be best to go in and re-do the tanglefoot making sure we have a good barrier and then cutting off the damaged leaves.  Most of the trees do not have fruit this year (I think it was a warm/dry winter) so we won’t be affecting our yield.

Since I have Wednesday off, I can meet anyone on the team on that day to do this.  Please email if you want to join me and we can arrange a time to meet.

Other things of note:

1) Netting can be removed from peach tree that has been harvested.

2)  I saw that the tanglefoot had been put directly on the tree trunk on the dwarf nectarine at the top of the orchard.  This is not good for the tree.  It needs to go on top of a barrier such as the carpet-tape or the brown paper tape.

3) Do we have someone going to the orchard twice a week?  I haven’t seen many postings so I’m not sure if people are not going or if it’s a learning curve with the new blog. It’s not quite as straightforward as the old way, but it’s not too bad.  Let me know if I can help or even just email me your blog and I can post it.

4)  I also refilled the ant bait station and put it in the area between the 4 plum trees since there is alot of ant activity there.  Please check the station and add more liquid if needed.  There is a bottle of bait in the center upper cabinet.  I mixed it 50/50 with water as that was an option on the bottle.  It also said to put it in an area that was more shaded than sunny, so the new location works for that also.

Note from Diane – The small tree at the top of the orchard is a dwarf nectarine. There is a map of the orchard here:

June 28 – Ellen. Harvested 8 lbs of Anna’s apples; 1.5 lbs Dorset Golden.

June 21- Ellen Harvested 6 lbs of Anna’s apples. Applied more tanglefoot to almost half of the trees. Thinned some fruit & disposed of damaged fruit.
June 14 – EllenHarvested 3 lbs of Anna’s apples, 4.5 lbs of Dorset Golden apples, and 1 lb of peaches. Removed damaged fruit from peach & apple trees. Thinned some of the apple trees.
June 11-Stacy

Reapplied Tanglefoot where needed. Removed partially eaten, damaged fruit from peach tree to detour ants.

June 7 – Ellen

There were lots of ants on the peaches. I hosed them off & added more tanglefoot. Didn’t see any other ant problem. Thinned a couple of the apple trees.
Note from Jane on Saturday, May 19 — We’re beginning Monday and Thursday harvest this coming Monday. Probably nothing from Garden 1 yet, but Gardens 2 and 3 have a lot of zucchini. The Garden 1 Monday team and the orchard can join in when appropriate. Not sure where things stand in the orchard.

June 4 Gina & Stacy

Picked 3.25 pounds of Tropic Snow Peaches. (I do not understand where to log this in, Stacy)Reapplied tanglefoot where needed. Trimmed some ice plant on west side. Cut water sprouts. Sampled a Golden Dorset that was yellow & pink. It looked ready but was FAR from being ready.
May 31-Ellen

Inspected for ants; sprayed them off & reapplied tackyfoot on the dwarf nectarine & 2 other nectarine trees. Thinned some apples.

May 29-Stacy

Birds were feasting on the peaches. Placed net over the tree. Finished moving the remainder of the bark mulch.

May 28- Gina
Finished fertilizing the rest of the trees followed by a good watering. I put some of the tacky foot on the dwarf nectarine and the peach tree. The ants are still pretty bad on the nectarine tree. Also picked 5 lbs. of Anna apples which I recorded in the Project Results.(correct?)BTW I love the trumpet vine growing at the top of the orchard. I think we should keep it. It gives the orchard a nice focal point when looking that way.

May 26- Diane

Fertilized down through the peaches. Start at the Anna Apples next time.Sprayed off the dwarf nectarine and put tackyfoot around the base.Moved the ant bait (blue container) to the base of the dwarf nectarine since there are so many ants in the area.Also sprayed aphids off of several other trees, but didn’t have time to do them with tackyfoot.Let me know if we need more tackyfoot stuff.Looks like we’re staying lucky with the birds not going after peaches. Some may be ripe enough to pick this week. There are also some Golden Dorset Apples that look ready.
May 23 – Stacy
Fertilized the orchard from the top Mango Tree down & finished with the 2 Nectarine Panamint trees. Next one who goes to fertilizer would start at Nectarine ‘Double Delight’ & Nectarine ‘Snow Queen’ and work their way down.


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