December is the month when I can finally pause for a moment, take a step back and breathe. With my orchard tools cleaned and stored away, it’s also the perfect time to take stock of my fruit orchard’s productivity for the past year, take a closer look at challenges I encountered, and reflect upon the successes.
2014 was definitely a productive year. Only a few quick flips of the pages in my orchard fruit harvest record book is enough to reconcile my memory of last year with the actual harvest numbers. Not to brag or anything, but my fruit trees ROCKED their first full year of production. Only three years old and such abundance! Well done, trees! Well done.
As I sit here in awe, I feel compelled to give thanks. Thanks to God for blessing us with such wonderful fruit trees and a place to plant them. Thanks for the phenomenal increase in nutrition that was easily confirmed by the brix numbers I recorded this past year. Thanks for the health of my fruit trees, soil, and abundance of good soil bacteria that was confirmed through soil testing. Thanks for all the wonderful natural healthy amendments that made my fruit tree and soil health possible and for the resources to obtain them. And thanks for the abundance in my life and for you, my wonderful friend and faithful blog follower.
So can you guess the first task item for the month of December?
- Take time to reflect on the abundance in your orchard, garden and life. And by all means ~ give thanks
- Review your orchard’s harvest record and journal.
- Identify the challenges faced throughout the season in addition to your successes and develop a strategy to resolve/address the challenges in the upcoming season.
- Estimate next year’s harvest dates, jot down your goals, and develop a strategy to achieve your goals.
- Make a “leaf storage bin” using wire mesh to form a barrel-shape then anchor it to the ground. Any leaves you collect this fall/winter will come in handy for use in homemade compost and/or for making rich humus in early spring.
- Begin putting together your Orchard Harvest Record pages for the next harvest season, now. When January comes along, you’ll be hitting the ground running again.
- After the fruit trees have dropped most of their leaves, start removing any mummified fruit.
- Irrigation ~ reduce watering to every 7-10 days.
- Continue to pick up any fallen fruit ~ that is, if you’re still harvesting fruit.
- Fruit you could be harvesting this month:
- Citrus (lemons, mandarins, etc.)
- The cold and frosty weather is here! Be prepared to protect your frost sensitive trees at a moment’s notice. Frost sensitive trees include most citrus, avocados and other exotic sub-tropical fruit trees. It’s also important to keep an eye on your trees throughout the winter months to ensure that your chosen frost/freeze protection solutions continue to work for you and your trees. For frost/freeze protection ideas, be sure to review last month’s task list.
- Protect sprinkler/bubbler heads, water–lines, hoses and spigots from freeze damage.
- Spray a microbial inoculant on fallen leaves ~ when 50% of the leaves have fallen off your fruit trees, spray the ground underneath each fruit tree as well as the bottom portion of each trunk with either a fresh brewed microbial tea or by using a mother culture. Be sure to target fallen leaves on the ground to help populate the area with microbes and facilitate leaf decomposition (making a wonderful rich humus for your trees, to boot!).
- FYI ~ the first day of Winter is December 21st @ 6:03 PM EST
- Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the Christmas holiday with your family and friends!
Give yourself the gift of health… plant a fruit tree next spring!