Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

A shift from ladders to illuminated platforms allows pickers to work day or night.

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Wanted: Endangered apples

  • May 15th, 2010

Walking through the Maine Heritage Orchard in Unity, Maine, is like walking through a Noah’s Ark for apples. The orchard, maintained by the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association, is filled with endangered apple varieties grafted onto stock apple trees, sometimes up to ten varieties on a single tree. [...]

  • Exploring tunnels

Exploring tunnels

  • May 15th, 2010

To best use valuable space, Greg Lang planted rows close and trained trees tall and narrow into a fruiting wall. Above is the solid-set canopy delivery spray system that replaces conventional tractor-pulled sprayers.

Dennis Hoxsie has both moral support and helpful advice from Dr. Greg Lang, the Michigan State University [...]

  • Maine apples wanted

Maine apples wanted

  • May 15th, 2010

John Bunker examines an apple at the Sandy River Orchard, Mercer, Maine, with 90-year-old Francis Fenton, owner (in blue).

These are some of the varieties John Bunker is seeking:

Briggs Auburn: Originated on the farm of Thomas Record of Minot (then part of Auburn). The fruit is large and yellow with [...]

  • You hear that buzz?

You hear that buzz?

  • May 15th, 2010

SweeTango orchards like this one at Pepin Heights produced enough fruit last year to start the buzz, which could rise to a crescendo this August if a good crop and the marketing plan come together as planned.

SweeTango apples will, nature cooperating, begin flowing to market in commercial quantities in [...]

  • Cherries with stems

Cherries with stems

  • May 15th, 2010

The challenge is getting the cherry to separate at the upper abscission zone at the twig.

In the complex world of sweet cherries, one market is calling for light-colored sweet cherries with stems on for processing, and is willing to pay three to four times the normal processing price to [...]

  • Geneva releases FOUR new rootstocks

Geneva releases FOUR new rootstocks

  • May 15th, 2010

This rootstock, commercialized as Geneva 214, is one of four newly released from the New York breeding program. Growers on tour with the International Fruit Tree Association waded deep snow to look them over at the Wittenbach farm in Belding, Michigan, in early March. Resistance to fireblight is one [...]

What are compost teas?

  • May 1st, 2010

Compost teas have been promised by some companies to be a wonder-all product, protecting plants from disease, increasing growth, breaking down toxins in the soil, enhancing taste of fruits and vegetables, and more. Though few of the claims are supported by science, there may be something to learn from [...]

  • Good Job

Good Job

  • May 1st, 2010

Apple Blossom Queen Margaret Robinson presented a plaque to WSU Extension Educator Tim Smith when he was named Apple Citizen of the Year 2010.

Tim Smith is Apple Citizen of the Year
Tim Smith, a Washington State University Extension educator for the past 25 years, has been named Apple Citizen of [...]

  • Compost tea recipes

Compost tea recipes

  • May 1st, 2010

Tweaking the aeration time, handling, and changing additives can create diverse compost teas—even though they were made with the same compost. Washington State University researchers saw differences in the microbial organisms, nutrients, pH levels, and salt concentrations of compost teas that all started from the same compost and water.

CeCe [...]

  • Constructing a trellis

Constructing a trellis

  • April 15th, 2010

When planting an orchard, don’t forget to leave room for the anchor, which is the most critical component of a trellis. It should be as far away from the end post as the height of the post, and the end post should lean slightly towards the anchor.

Anchors are the [...]

  • Organic fertilizer calculator

Organic fertilizer calculator

  • April 15th, 2010

Oregon State University has developed a tool to help growers compare the cost, nutrient value, and nitrogen availability of organic fertilizers.

The Organic Fertilizer Calculator is an online Excel-based calculator designed to help farmers compare organic fertilizers and plan the most balanced and cost-effective fertilizer program for their farm. Growers [...]

  • Options for weed control

Options for weed control

  • April 15th, 2010

Good weed control is most important early in the season, but fall may be a better time to get the job done.

Good weed control is essential in modern orchards, where trees are planted at high densities on weak, shallow-rooted rootstocks and can’t handle much competition for water and nutrients.

Given [...]