Wow, what a crazy year

Wow, what a crazy year

Wow, what a crazy year. 2020 was not quite what I expected. Despite the pandemic, the fires, and the political distractions, Birdsong Orchards had an unexpectedly wonderful rotation around the sun. More than ever I was reminded that a farm can be a place of solace, of safety, a source of sweet scents, tastes and joy.

We harvested 5000+ pounds of fruit, 100s of buckets of flowers, and welcomed so many people over the year. Plus emus, now we have the emus, which I never imagined owning even in my fever-crazed, animal-loving dreams. A huge thank you to all of the readers of this newsletter, purchases of our fruit and kind encouragers of our dream. Thank you all so much.

I am super excited about 2021. In a rare spell of timeliness, I have sweet peas, ranunculus and anemones planted for a very early spring show of flowers. The you pick roses field was the perhaps the highlight of the year for me and many visitors, so I ordered 200 more roses we are planting this winter as well.

Roses

I am going to end all fruit sales in the next week. To clear out our cold storage, I put on sale all persimmons purchased for pickup at the farm. Please take my persimmons away!

Persimmons

Jason asked me the other day to write up a very high level monthly guide to farm chores on the farm. I think he said, if you were abducted by aliens, what must I absolutely positively do each month to keep the farm running? I came up with the list appended below, and I am sure I forgot some tasks. I thought I would share it with all of you who might be curious what it takes to keep a fruit and flower farm going over the year.


JANUARY
- Jan 1: second (of 3) sulfur sprays for peaches and nectarines
- First (of 4) citrus fertilization of the year
- Prune apples and pears
- Spray cherries and apricots with copper at bud swell/first green
- Business taxes

FEBRUARY
- FEB 1: third (of 3) sulfur sprays for peaches and nectarines
- Spray cherries and apricots with copper at bud swell/first green
- Prune prunus: cherries, peaches, plums
- Fertilize all trees that aren’t citrus in the orchard (could be in march too)
- Granular rose fertilization
- Optional: plant new barefoot trees and shrubs

MARCH
- Harvesting of spring bulbs and sweet peas begins
- Spray cherries and apricots with copper again if not too late
- Optional: start fig and rose cuttings
- Optional: order fall bulbs and seeds

APRIL
- Second (of 4) citrus fertilization of the year
- Begin flower harvest of ranunculus, anemones and roses
- Harvest green walnuts and ume
- Start marketing you pick flowers
- Thin pomme and stone fruit
- Foliar feed roses

MAY
- Open you-pick roses to the public
- Run additional irrigation in the orchard as needed
- Thin pomme and stone fruit
- Foliar feed roses
- Optional: fertilize peaches again

JUNE
- Start apricot pruning on June 15, window closes on aug 15
- Cherry and apricot harvest, if lucky
- Thin pomme, persimmons and stone fruit
- Foliar feed roses
- Optional: add mulch to orchard and perennial gardens

JULY
- stone fruit harvest begins
- Thin any remaining persimmons
- Third (of 4) citrus fertilization of the year
- Optional: midseason rose pruning
- Foliar feed roses

AUGUST
- Select and order any trees or barefoot perennials for winter planting (could be in sept)
- Pomme fruit harvest begins
- Stone fruit harvest continues
- Foliar feed roses

SEPTEMBER
- Pomme harvest continues
- Foliar feed roses

OCTOBER
- Fourth (of 4) citrus fertilization of the year
- Foliar feed roses
- Pomme fruit harvest continues
- Persimmon harvest begins

NOVEMBER
- Complete persimmon harvest
- Plant sweet pea seeds
- Rose harvest ends
- Make sure supplies are ordered for winter spraying
- Optional: pre-sprout and plant anemones and ranunculus corms
- Optional: order spring bulbs and seeds

DECEMBER
- Prune roses and other perennial shrubs
- Empty and clean out cold storage
- Dec 1: first (of 3) sulfur sprays for peaches and nectarines
- Optional: add mulch to orchard and perennial gardens

EVERY MONTH & ALL THE TIME!
- Water orchard as needed
- Mow and weed
- Gopher trapping

Fall color

I hope 2021 brings all of you as much joy as this here puppy (ok, I guess she is a dog now) brings me!

Bijou