December Orchard Tasks

 

December Orchard TasksHi friends!

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.

Home Fruit Orchard

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.

Eversweet Pomegranate

Bees and Pomegranates

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.

Flavor Delight Aprium

So can you guess the first task item for the month of December? o_O

  • 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.

Chojuro Asian Pear

  • 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:
    • Pecan
    • Persimmon
    • Citrus (lemons, mandarins, etc.)

Fruit tree in fall

  • 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, waterlines, 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!).

Flavor Delight Aprium leaves

  • 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!

God Bless,

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8 Comments

Filed under Monthly Task Calendar

8 responses to “December Orchard Tasks

  1. ~Kat

    I’m enjoying the beautiful contrast of golden leaves of my Wonderful Pomegranate to the remaining fruit and the rest of my yard–just like the pics you shared of your Poms. Unfortunately, Eversweet didn’t thrive in my yard…among other “experiments”. I love seeing how abundant and productive your trees are…you are truly an inspiration! I’m thankful that my Fuyu Persimmon buds didn’t all fall off this year. I was able to let them grow and ripen on the tree…delicious! Thanks for your To-Do lists, they are so helpful!

    • I just love the change of colors on my fruit trees. Makes me feel worlds apart from where I actually live… the desert. Sorry to hear about your Eversweet ~ they are delish. As a home orchardist, you win some and lose some. Unlike veggie gardens where you can easily pull something and replace and be eating from it within the same season, home orchards require patience and a “positive can-do” attitude. I applaud you for experimenting and keeping your chin up when things just don’t work out. Just keep moving forward 🙂

      Mmmmm… Persimmons. Fuyu’s are quite yummy. I just pre-ordered a Hachiya for my front orchard (we’re replacing our leaning Pink Lady Apples).

      Thank you for your kind words and I’m so glad you found the Monthly Orchard Task lists helpful 🙂 Here’s to a “fruitful” 2015 for both of our orchards.

  2. Poes Email

    Hey have you ever been to John Mulls for BBQ? Amazing! Give me a call one of these days when you have time and let’s catch up. I think of you and Ted so often? Hugs.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Paula! Never been ~ it’s been quite a LONG TIME since I’ve eaten out and even longer since I’ve eaten BBQ. These days my diet consists of veggies, more veggies, fruit, a little chicken or fish, nuts and seeds. Will be calling you very soon! 🐻

  3. Beautiful post! I love the photos of your gorgeous trees. This is my peach tree’s first winter and the bare tree with buds is also beautiful. Question – you mention inoculant. Is this something I can easily purchase?

    • Peaches are so beautiful in winter… just wait until spring ~ they cover themselves in big beautiful puffy pink flowers 🙂

      Yes, you can easily purchase a microbial inoculant on-line. Haven’t seen this at the local big box stores or local nursery so on-line is your best choice. A microbial inoculant is basically a “living” compost tea that can be brewed using an air stone to encourage the growth of good bacteria and microbes or by you can use a liquid mother culture that is already teeming with the good bacteria and microbes and use as is. It can also be “fermented” to multiply the microbe numbers. I just use it as is.

      A lot of people like the Boogie Brew product http://www.boogiebrew.net/boogie-brew-compost-tea/ but I believe it’s in dry form and must be “brewed” prior to use. I haven’t used this product and I’ve only heard of its application in veggie gardens. I prefer to use a liquid mother culture called Pro Bio http://www.scdprobiotics.com/ProBio-Balance-Original-p/a102-1.htm ~ it’s truly a winner in my orchard and is recommended by professional orchardists. Because my orchard is quite large, I buy a gallon at a time. If you only have a couple of trees, the smaller size would work well for you. Keep in mind that a little goes a very long way with this product and is quite cost effective per application (I use 6 ounces in a 4-gallon sprayer with uncholrinated water to do all 27 of my fruit trees ~ so 1-2 fruit trees would require a lot less). 1-2 trees, the small bottle should last you for most of the year. You can also use this in your veggie garden, too!

      • thanks so much for all the information!!! i will check these sites and see about acquiring some. last year, i put in a peach, a grafted pluot, a pomegranate, a persimmon, and 2 european plums. this winter, i’m expecting 2 pears, 1 quince, a few apple rootstock i plan to graft, and 3 cherries. these are all for a northern california property. food producers for las vegas include 4 pomegranates, 2 rosa rugosas, and 2 flowering quinces(i’ll se how those do!). those have to do well on their own because we are out of town most of the year. i wish i had more land, but for now i’m thinking espalier for a few to create more space! thanks again i love your blog and look forward to reading your posts!

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