It has been a strange season for weather. It appears we have gone from winter straight to summer without a spring. Our fellow farmers have had a tough slog with excessive rains, flooded fields, and the inability to plant for the season as early as before. The first cut of hay only happened this past week. We too have fallen behind our schedule at the farm. Our black walnut trees are in fantastic shape, thankfully. The water has done wonders for the young trees but we have been challenged to keep up with general orchard and farm maintainance. You can see just how fast the grass in the orchard has grown and how much work is still to be done.
As mentioned in a previous post in May, we are continuing with a second year research study with the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO) on the best organic herbicides and pesticides to use with black walnut. We have applied our first round of organic spray in the test area and have diligently made obsevations. We have luckily experienced minimal loss over winter and, as mentioned, the orchard is stronger this season as the roots establish. We have not seen the level of catepillar infestation as last year and so very few leaves have been affected. The early application of organic sprays certainly played a positive role as well. If we can get caught up on orchard maintance then the trees will be strong next year when first pruning will need to occur.
It is a wonderful site to see our black walnut orchard grow each year. It is hard to imagine that we planted 2,000 walnut saplings back in 2016. More to come!