Tag: Orcharding

More Than Just Apples: A Polyculture Orchard

By Jacob Mentlik There is a lot more than just apples growing at the Maine Heritage Orchard. While most commercial orchards lean toward monoculture, featuring long even rows of one particular species of fruit tree, the goal at MHO is to create a polyculture orchard, with many species growing together in harmony, mimicking the diversity

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Growing Apricots in Maine: It’s the Pits

By Lauren Cormier Even with the best intentions of buying local and avoiding produce from many miles away, it can be difficult to resist the temptation of apricots when they’re sitting on the grocery store shelf. It might be our only chance to eat them! Apricots are a stone fruit along with peaches, plums, cherries,

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Working Together as a Family at Farr Homestead

By Sonja Heyck-Merlin In Denver, Colorado, Steve Farr was a full-time computer systems engineer at a university and later at a consulting firm. “Being gone 10 to 12 hours a day, I felt like I hardly knew my children,” he says. “I wanted to do something different, and my wife Kari and I came to

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Wild Apples: Novel Pippins and Tough Trees

By Jacob Mentlik “Most fruits which we prize and use depend entirely on our care … but the apple emulates man’s independence and enterprise … making its way amid the aboriginal trees.” -Henry David Thoreau It is believed that the origin of the apples we all know and love can be traced back to south

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Apple Sleuths Get a Boost from DNA Testing

By Jacob Mentlik For decades Maine’s apple expert and pomological detective John Bunker has been hunting for and rediscovering rare old varieties of apples. Using all of the clues he can gather, he pieces together the history and possible locations of ancient trees, finds and collects fruit and then spends hours poring over old books

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Scionwood & Fruit Trees

Grafting A primer on Grafting from the MOF&G archives. These are very clear directions about how to graft – here and here. Both of these are printable for keeping close at hand. Here are clear directions on Bud Grafting. Thoughts on grafting from MOFGA’s Landscape Coordinator, Jack Kertesz: Grafting apples, pear and plums is not

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In The Orchard: Get Ready for Winter

Apple scab on fruit and leaves. Photos by C.J. Walke. By C.J. Walke Autumn is an exciting time in the orchard, because you get to taste the fruits of your labors and share the harvest with your family and community. Autumn is also the time to clean up the orchard, prepare trees for winter and

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Mixed Orchard Crops

Jesse Stevens of Sy’s Trees in Sweden, Maine, grows a “hyper-diversified” orchard of more than 1,000 varieties of woody plants. Photo courtesy of Jesse Stevens Honeyberry, Lonicera coerulea, is an underutilized species that Stevens believes is well suited to organic culture in Maine. Photo by Opioła Jerzy, from Wikimedia. By Jean English Farmers from Sy’s

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Spring Orchard Work and then Ice Cream

Delton Curtis grafting at the Seed Swap and Scion Exchange. English photo By John Bunker Springtime in central Maine was designed for orchard activity. The long days and the warming sun lure me out the door like the Pied Piper’s flute. Get up early and cook up a saucepan of apples from the last bushel

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Biological Control of Fire Blight Bacteria

Early symptoms of fire blight in a Liberty apple tree. The branch is just starting to make the shepherd’s crook and blacken. Photo by C.J. Walke By C.J. Walke Managing disease is often a challenging task in organic farming and gardening because pathogens can be very aggressive, additional hosts often exist outside farm boundaries, and most materials

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