Make hay while the sun shines

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!

April showers brings May flowers

Hello, Friends!

It has been a while since we last updated you as to progress at the farm. After a long winter, and a very wet spring (so far), we are getting a head start at the farm in preparation for a second year research study with the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, and general maintanence like cutting the grass, putting the finishing touches on our new steel building, and contemplating installing a well (finally). We are hoping to complete a gravel road from the county road to our new building and plant a few ornamental trees (like cherry blossom, crab apple, etc.) to create a more beautiful entrance to the farm.

Both the walnut and apple orchards survived the winter, with only minimal loss. Each fall we affix a protective tree wrap to all of our walnut trees and this has played a major part in the overall good survival rates and minimized damage from rodents. We were saddened by the loss of funding for Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Trees program. This subsidy from the Government of Ontario contributed significantly to assisting us plant our walnut orchard in 2016. The loss of this program will be felt.

Here are a few recent photos from the farm for May 2019: