Orchard Blog

A prototype tree identification sign

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2021  Summer Schedule Tasks: 

  • 1st fertilizing of trees, 2nd will be in June, 3rd in August, 4th/Last in Oct or after harvest.  If tree has lost leaves and gone dormant, do not fertilize.  
  • Weeding and cutting back the iceplant, palm trees and sumac around the edge of the garden.  
  • Watch for pests – such as aphids and treat as needed.  Wash off with water, set out more ant bait at the bottom of affected trees, use tacky foot.


September 11, 2021: (Diane)

I stopped by the orchard this morning and was intending to pick mangos, but Rachel had gotten them on Thursday.  So, I spread diatomaceous earth around the base of the trees most affected by aphids.  I was going to do this a couple of weeks ago, but rain was predicted (and we actually got some) so I held off.   I didn’t rinse the existing ants off before I put down the DE so the ground wouldn’t be wet, so the ants on the tree will (theoretically) be stuck there and no other will be able to get there.  We’ll see what happens.  I was listening to a podcast (Epic Gardening  https://www.epicgardening.com/podcast/  – look for the one on 6/26 titled:

Insects Signals – What attracts insects and how to change signal 2021

and they had a guest who talked about the idea of too much nitrogen attracting pests (kind of like the same theme I read about a few weeks ago)  She suggested a foliar spray of 1/2 teaspoon of milk mixed with a gallon of water.    Maybe something to think about trying?

August 14, 2021:

We’ve been picking fruit, weeding and trying various things to control the aphids on 2 of the peach trees.   We’ve tried spraying with water, setting up the ant bait under the affected trees, using safer spray and putting worm castings under the tree, to no avail.   I’ve been doing some more reading and when we use copper spray on the trees this winter, try adding some horticultural oil also which could smother the overwintering insects, including aphids.  Another thing I read was to not fertilize so much, as aphids like nitrogen.  Also mentioned was physical barriers such as diatomaceous earth  and coffee grounds and using Vaseline  (instead of tacky foot) directly on the trunk.  

In case anyone was wondering, we asked Roy about the watering schedule for the orchard and he says (for the summer) it’s 2.5 hours twice a week.  The green drippers put out about 2 gallons/hour, so you should be able to figure out what they are getting.  

Rachel and I did noticed that the peach trees looked a bit off (even those who were not being attacked by ants/aphids) and we found that the valve for the drip lines to that set of trees had been turned off – so we turned it back on. 

In the next few weeks we should do a fertilization (it will be the last of the year for the trees that have already been harvested) and do some summer pruning on the trees that need it.  It looked like that would be nectarines, cherry plums, maybe the pear and Einsheimer apple.  The other apples at the bottom (street) end of the orchard can be pruned too – but wait until after they are harvested.  


June 18, 2021:

Rachel and Diane worked in the orchard.  We installed a new hose, and left it stretched out along the fence to make sure it doesn’t get kinked up.   Rachel helped garden 1 fix a leak in one of there drip tapes.  We sprayed a small section of the easternmost Anna Apple with horticultural oil for the scale.   Since it’s hot, we didn’t want to do the whole tree.  So, we’ll be sure to look next week and see if anything has changed.  We also saw more squirrel (?) damage to the nectarine/peach trees (broken branches).   We also washed aphids off trees that had sections of curly leaves. 

Picture below of scale on apples.  The horticultural oil should smother the insects. 



This is the section of the Anna apple that we put the horticultural oil on.  

June 11, 2021:

Liz and Diane worked in the garden.  We noticed that one of the tree signs had been dragged over to the west side of the garden by the apricots and found a squirrel hole.  We set a trap up there and added peanuts to the trap on the east side by garden 2 and the persimmon tree.  Roy reported that they have caught a couple of squirrels. 

We also looked for aphids and sprayed them off with water and then wrapped the bottom of some of the trees that were having the most problems with ants/aphids with carpet tape (sticky side out) and smeared tacky foot on them as a physical barrier to the ants.  

We’re replacing the twine on the tree signs with wire – something is eating/using the twine.  I’m thinking squirrels.  

Finally we noticed that some of the Anna apples have spots on them.  I took one to Anderson’s and after alot of looking they diagnosed it with scale.  I bought some horticultural oil to use (It smothers the pests).  It’s not good to use it when it is hot, so we’ll see what the temps do before we spray.   Might be good to try it on a small area and see how it does.  

June 5/6, 2021:

Rachel did a walk-through and found:

1) There was a water leak in one of the lines by the Autumn Peach. I marked it with a stake. You can see it spraying in the picture. image0
2) There’s a lot of squirrel / rat activity as evidenced by broken bimage1ranches as well as some half eaten apples on the ground. Not sure if we can do much about that. There are a bunch of squirrel traps out there, but maybe we just need to keep them baited. 
3) Not sure what’s going on with the leaves of this tree (can’t remember if it was a peach or nectarine or plum).  They are super curly.image2

Diane went up to the orchard on Sunday and…

There was a small hole in the drip line from something.  it was in a good place to drop in another dripper head, so I cleaned up the hole with the hole-making tool (that’s the technical name 😜). So now that apricot tree is getting a bit more water.  
I added some more peanuts to the squirrel trap, they might be being eaten by rats though.  
The curled leaves were aphid damage, I sprayed those and some others to clean them off.  The good news is that the damage seems to be limited to the lower leaves, so perhaps the ant bait is doing it’s job and keeping the population down.  
I also noticed that twine for the signs is not holding up, either from weather or maybe pests, so we should replace with wire. 

May 29:  (posted by Diane)

Paul, Liz and I did a fertilizer assembly line and got the entire orchard fertilized.  We did not fertilize the fig or pomegranate because they don’t need much if any.  

While we were at it, we removed suckers from the bottom of trees, refilled the ant bait and cleaned out the old tree signs that had been stashed under the table in the garden.  Noticed two squirrel holes next to garden 3.  We’ll be taking next week off. 

May 1,8,15:  (posted by Diane)

The last few weeks have been spent weeding, thinning fruit and keeping an eye on things.  Our new trees – the Fuyu persimmon, Fig and Pomegranate are looking good.   I did a walk through on the 15th (As we should do every time we visit the orchard before we jump in and start doing things, so we can prioritize our tasks)  and found the following things to do (not listed in order of importance) :

  1. Dorset Golden Apples – some of these look like they might be ripe enough to pick!  Pick one and taste it and if it’s good, you can pick those that look ready. 
  2. Panamint Nectarine and Elberta Peach have some fruit that can be thinned.  Notice how some of the pruning we’ve done has forced the growth up higher.  Let’s remember that and we may want to head off the tall growth and not prune off the lower shoots next year.
  3. Look at all trees, but especially the Babcock Peach.  If you find aphid damage,  such as curled leaves on the ends of stems, use a strong stream of water to remove the aphids.  Then treat for ants as in #4  
  4. Check for ants and wrap trees and put on the tacky foot around the base of the trunk and refill the bait stations.  Move bait stations as needed.  
  5. Look at the damage on the Cherry Plums.  It is mostly on the Sprite tree.  The lower leaves are chewed up and some of the smaller branches/twigs are broken.  I’m not sure what it is, but I suspect some sort of caterpillar, but I didn’t see any signs of them.  Keep an eye out and let’s make sure it doesn’t spread.    20210515_161727See photo online if you want to zoom in and look closer:  https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPMnykCPQxunUWEhlBXLdmcu0A3J1SNAhvGjxhJ
  6. Weed around the base of the fig, pomegranate and persimmon as needed. 

We may have a new team member, I will keep you posted.  

Saturdays April 2 and 9th:  (posted by Diane)

Fertilized remaining trees and pruned the apricots.   Continued to pull weeds and we also thinned fruit on the earliest peach (artic snow, I think).    We saw a couple of lower leaves on the fig which had turned black and after consulting google decided it was fig rust which shouldn’t be an issue as the weather becomes more warm and dry. 

SATURDAYS, January – March 2021  (Had an issue posting to blog!)

We’ve pruned all trees, removed the minature peach/nectarine which wasn’t doing well for the last few years.  Planted a Fuyu Persimmon in that spot and added a Pomegranant uphill from the Mango and ran irrigation to it.  

We’ve fertilized trees as they have broken dormancy – 

4/3: Planned: Apricots and Cherry Plums.  The Persimmon, Fig and Pomegranate trees do not need as much fertilizer as the other trees and some sites say they don’t need any at all.  Let’s put some compost around them and see how they do.  We can always add some later in the season if they look like they need some.   

3/27: Burgundy (2), Santa Rosa and Nubiana Plums

3/20: Gala (2) and Fuji apples

2/27:  Dorset Golden and Anna (2) apples, Tropic Snow Peach, Flordahome pear, Einshimer apple, Manilla mango.

Previous:  Babcock White peach (2), July Elberta peach, Snow Queen, Panamint (2) and Double Delight nectarines. 

SATURDAYS, Dec 5th and 12th (posted by Diane)

Diane brought a truckload of mulch to the garden on the 5th and we unloaded it and then spread it around the orchard on the 12th.  Liz has found someone to make new tree identification signs for us. 

We chatted about what we would like to put in to replace the long gone pear tree and the miniature peach that is not happy…Some ideas were a cherry, a persimmon, a pomegranate.  

SATURDAY, October 3, 2020 (posted by Diane)

Liz, Paul and I met and made a dent in the encroaching pickleweed and cut back some of the flowering pampas grass since it is an invasive plant.  I’ve sent an email to Roy (cc’ing the team and Jane)  asking about the new green waste bin and to see if we can get more bins since we’re filling them up.

SATURDAY, September 26, 2020 (posted by Diane)

Message from Liz:

I was the only one in the orchard today.  Luckily it was nice and cool!  I tackled clearing a path on the North West side of the garden so we could walk around the trees.  I cut and bagged 3 bags of cuttings and left 1 pile which still needs to be bagged.  
See you next week!

SATURDAY, September 19, 2020

Rachel, Liz, Paul and I worked in the orchard, cutting back more of the encroaching plants.

SATURDAY, September 12, 2020 (posted by Diane)

Rachel and I met today and went over placing the tanglefoot at the bottom of one of the fruit trees.  We also adjusted the water on one of the loops, as Rachel noticed that it looked like it was turned off and it wasn’t getting much water!  Since it’s coming to the end of the season, we did not place more tanglefoot, but did spray trees that had aphids with water.  We also cleared out some more pickleweed.

We will continue to meet and cut back the pickleweed and other plants that are encroaching on the orchard as well as bringing in more mulch.  There is still a small pile left by the driveway.  Let’s use that and then figure out how to get more.

The aphid supplies (tanglefoot, single sided carpet tape, gloves and tongue depressors) are in a labeled metal box in the upper right cabinet in garden 1.

SATURDAY, August 29, 2020 (posted by Diane)

The team met today and did the summer pruning of the orchard as well as cutting back some of the pickleweed that is creeping in.  We plan to meet Saturday 9/12 @ 8/8:30ish to go over aphid/ant control. (NOTE – change in time for meeting, we are skipping Labor Day weekend – mostly because it’s going to be beastly HOT!)

Here’s the Before and After pictures:



SATURDAY, August 22, 2020 (posted by Diane)

A group of us met today to form an orchard team!  We went over the basics of what is there and next week we are meeting to work on some summer pruning.   Some resources that can be looked at in preparation:

Dave Wilson’s Backyard Orchard Culture page

Backyard Orchard Basics (Video about 17 mins)

Summer Pruning (Video about 9 mins)

Extreme Fruit Tree Pruning -Winter Pruning (Video about 7 mins)

There are a bunch more videos, but these are what we need for now.

MONDAY, August 3, 2020 (posted by Diane)

No fruit to pick today.  Last week there were many unripe apricots and today all but one or two (still unripe) were gone or chewed on.  #*&%()#*%$ Rats!

I thinned fruit on the apple trees at the street end of the orchard and did some trimming of the amazing growth on those trees so you don’t need a machete to navigate around them.

SUNDAY, July 5, 2020 (posted by Diane)

Stopped by earlier in the week and realized that we had fruit that needed to be picked!  So I returned today and did just that.  I put it in the bin on the garden one work bench for tomorrow’s harvest day.  Did not weigh since I don’t know the combo to the place the scale is kept, but did bag by type of fruit.  I harvested 2 kinds of apples, 2 kinds of peaches (with a couple of nectarines thrown in one bag), Cherry plums and Burgundy Plums.   Also refilled the ant bait and replaced it out by the peaches/nectarines.

SATURDAY, June 6, 2020 (posted by Diane)

Came by on a rainy morning and trimmed trees, pulled weeds, cut back SOME of the encroaching pickleweek, peppertree, sumac and mexican sage from the west side of the garden.  I also picked some apples (Mostly Anna and a few from the tree at the top of the orchard) and left them on the counter in garden 1.  I couldn’t find the scale so I didn’t weigh them.

A big thank you to the folks who cut back the pickleweed on the street side of the garden and laid down mulch there and into the orchard.  It makes getting to the orchard much easier.  If anyone has extra time and wants to help, you can continue to bring mulch into the orchard.  The top part needs it most of all.  If you have questions, feel free to email me. I’m pretty sure my email is posted on the site or Jane knows it.

SATURDAY, May 16, 2020 (posted by Diane)

With the help of Alex from garden 1, we fertilized all the trees and weeded in the orchard.  The apple at the top of the orchard (Einshiemer?) has some blight that needs to be cut off, but I had forgotten my tools and alcohol at home so I’ll need to go back and do that later.

SUNDAY,  April 12, 2020 (posted by Diane)

Happy Easter!  Came by and pulled more weeds at the top of the orchard.  A big THANK YOU to whoever pulled weeds up there too!  Put some ant bait in a couple traps, the blue one and the small green one at the bottom of one of the peach trees.

SATURDAY,  April 4, 2020 (posted by Diane)  What a difference a few weeks makes…

Brought a new bag of fertilizer and put in the bin in the orchard.  Fertilized the last two apple trees and plum tree.  Pulled weeds from the bottom to about 3/4 way up.  There was one gopher trap that had been sprung and was out of the hole.  I wasn’t sure how to reset this type of trap, so I just left it.    Also thinned some fruit and trimmed some blight off of the eastern most Anna apple.

SATURDAY, Feb 29, 2020 (posted by Diane) – Fertilized all trees except the bottom two apples and a plum tree that had not broken dormancy yet.  We’re out of fertilizer, so I’ll pick up a new bag.   Watered in the fertilizer and pulled some weeds and did a bit of pruning on the apricots and where I found places I’d missed.  🙂

SUNDAY, JAN 26, 2020 (posted by Diane) — Pruned  the rest of the trees, except the apricots.   I left a bunch of cuttings on the “table” in the orchard and some by the fence next to garden 2. If you have extra time, would you please bundle them up and put them out for green recycling?  Thanks much!

SATURDAY, JAN 18, 2020 (posted by Diane) — Pruned  the peaches and nectarines.   I  left a bunch of cuttings on the ground in the orchard by the scarecrow.   If you have extra time, would you please bundle them up and put them out for green recycling?  Thanks much!

SUNDAY, JAN 5, 2020 (posted by Diane) — Pruned another apple and applied dormant spray (copper) to the peaches, plums, nectarines and cherry plums.   Thanks to the Sunday team for taking care of my cuttings!

SATURDAY, JAN 4, 2020 (posted by Diane) — Pruned 1 apple and the 4 plum trees.   I left a bunch of cuttings on the “table” in the orchard.  If you have extra time, would you please bundle them up and put them out for green recycling?  Thanks much!

SATURDAY, AUG 17 (posted by Jane) — A big thank you to our shopper Suzanne and our handymen Tony and Paul for giving us a new garden shed, installed today. We plan to store harvest boxes in it, freeing up the Garden 1 sheltered workshop. It probably doesn’t need a lock, but you tell me.

SEPTEMBER  2 – Cyndi

Harvest:  Apples 1 lb.

Aug 26 – Cyndi, Heidi and Sandra

Harvest : Apricots – 1 lb. 1 pear 1/2 lb.

No fruit left on the trees except for the front apples trees (Gala and Fuji)

Aug 19 – Marion and Betty

Harvest : Apricots – 2.5 lbs.

AUGUST 12 – Posted by Cyndi and Heidi

Harvest:  Apricots 6.5 lbs., Apples 3.5 lbs.

Aug 5 – Heidi and Marion


  • Apricots – 1 lb.
  • Plums – 1 lb.
  • Apples 1.5 lbs.

Trees at top of hill don’t look as healthy compared to the other trees.

JULY 29 – Marion, Jill

Harvest:  Plums 3.5 lbs., Peaches 6.5 lbs.

JULY 22 –  Cyndi, Heidi, Marion, and Cindy

Harvest:  Apples 8 lbs., Plums 1 lb., Peaches 5 lbs.  Cleaned up the rotten fruit on the ground.

July 15 – Cyndi and Heidi

Harvest :  Nectarines 1 lb., plums 1 lb.

July 8 – Cyndi and Heidi

Cleaned up fallen fruit.  Harvest – Dorset Golden apples – 7lbs, Anna apples – 5 1/2 lbs, Burgendy plums – 3 1/2 lbs., Nectarines- 3 lbs.

July 1 – Cyndi and Heidi

Harvest- Dorset Golden Apples 2 1/2 lbs  Plums – (2)  1/4 lb.

Thinned a few apples from the Fuji Apple. Picked up fallen fruit. Delivered with the rest of the garden harvest.

June 20 – Ellen

Harvested 6 1/2 lbs of Anna’s apples, 3 lbs of Dorset Golden.  Thinned fruit; cut back intrusive plants.

June 13 – Ellen

Harvested 10 lbs of Dorset Golden apples, 13 lbs of Anna’s apples.

Thinned  some fruit.  Did a little weeding.  Cut back some of the plants intruding into the path to the orchard.

June 6 – Ellen

Thinned fruit & cut back brush on the path leading to the orchard.

May 23 & 30 Ellen

Thinned fruit and removed damaged leaves from peach tree

May 16-Ellen

Fertilized all the trees this morning.  Thinned apples.

I’ve been going every week, but have been remiss with documenting it.  I’ve been weeding & thinning the apples.

May 10 – Diane

Answers to May 3 questions (Also sent via an email, but wanted to document it here too):

The Tropic Snow peach has peach leaf curl.  I sprayed once during the dormant season, but it wasn’t enough given the rainy weather which spreads the fungus.  Please remove the affected leaves and place them in the trash (not green waste).

It is also time to fertilize again.  Let me know if you need instructions and I’ll dig up and forward them.

If the trees are fruiting, please check them out and thin the fruit as needed.  Thin so that there is 3-4 inches between fruits.

On Saturday I visited to check things out.  Has anyone been at the garden since 5/3?  Has anyone done any fertilizing?  I thinned out some fruit on the apricot tree and some of the peaches/nectarines.   I left the thinned fruit under the trees, so if you see it and wonder about it – it was me, not some critter.  🙂

May 3-Stacy

Weeding, cut suckers, removed more ice plant from walkway, removed cut branches. Filled 3 black bags. Ants are in full force. Cleaned & refilled all ant bait stations (missed one, put it by the fertilizer to be filled later). We’ll need to start adding ‘tangle foot’ to tree trunks. I cleaned up the area at the top of the hill by the little shed, where the snake was hiding last year. Removed weeds, debri & trash from the bottom of the concrete water shed area. There is fertile dirt at the bottom of the concrete that can be removed & just spread around the orchard. I started weeding around the Mango Tree. Alot more needs to be done there. If anyone does weed wacking around the garden, can they trim about 10 feet around the mango tree? Thanks

Tropic Snow Peach has a disease. Please advise.

April 10th- Stacy

Did some weeding

March 28 & April 4 – Ellen

Finished cutting the path for the wheelbarrow.  Did lots of weeding.  Still lots to be done.

March 14 – Ellen

A few weeks ago, I battled my way along the path to move mulch to the orchard.  For the last 2 weeks, I have worked on cutting back the pickle weed so that the wheelbarrow can be more easily maneuvered.  Doesn’t look like much, but I’m almost done.

March 2, 2019: Posted by Diane

I fertilized the rest of the trees in the orchard today.  The ground was moist and more rain is expected this week, so I did not water in the fertilizer as the rain should take care of that.  The Anna apples are in full bloom and look lovely!

Feb 13, 2019: Posted by Stacy

Today I did weeding, cleared the base of the trees from debri, & removed tanglefoot from several trees. At the top I fertilized the tiny nectarine, Pear & Eisenhower Apple. Below I fertilized the 2 Anna Apples & the Golden Dorset. Started collecting branches. Noticed a pile of mulch. Is this available for anybody to use?

Feb 8, 2019:  Posted by Diane

I bought a bag of fertilizer for the orchard and brought it to the garden.  It is inside the blue bin under the table in the lower part of the orchard – in the orange 5 gal container with the lid and the extra that would not fit is in the bag.   While I was there, I fertilized the peach that is already blooming and the mango at the top of the orchard.

The rest of the trees can be fertilized at this time.

To do so:  Loosen/move the mulch around at the dripline of the tree and distribute the fertilizer there and mix it in the dirt and then put the mulch back over the top.  If there isn’t any rain due in the next couple of days, then water it in.  There are guidelines on the bag for how much to use – 2 Tablespoons per each foot of height/width of the tree – for our trees it works out to be 1 – 1.5 cups per tree.   That’s real cups – a cup does NOT equal one of those red solo cups!

If you fertilize – please post in this blog or send an email to the group so we’re all on the same page.  Thanks!

Jan 24, 31, Feb 7 – Ellen

Removed some of the tanglefoot; did some weeding.

Jan 13 & 25 – Diane, Ellen and Jen:

We finished pruning the orchard (started by Stacy) on Sunday Jan 6th.  On 1/25 I was able to spray the peaches, nectarines, pear, cherry plums and plums with Liquid-Cop to help with peach leaf curl and fire blight.  I did not spray the apricots as you should not use a copper spray on them.

NEW BLOG EDITOR – Note from Jane on Dec 19 – As you know, WordPress has switched to a new editor.  If you prefer the “classic editor” as I do, you can get it.  After you select “Edit,” click on the 3 dots in the upper right, and select “Switch to Classic Editor.”

Nov 7 & 15 – Ellen

Harvested the small # of apples remaining:  11/7 – 0.5 lbs Anna’s, 0.5 lbs Dorset Golden; 11/15 – 1 lbs Einshemer, 0.5 misc (Fuji, Anna, Dorset combined).

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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