Steph's 2022 Season Review...
Whew, this year blew by for me... In taking a few moments over the holidays to reflect on the year, I realized just how much we have grown in 2022.
In the learning department, we definitely faced a few obstacles. Tricky spring weather and a summer drought resulted in a poor stone fruit and pear crop and slightly smaller apples for sale this season. At the very least, virtually every other grower I spoke to experienced similar crop outcomes, and misery does love company!
However, we also had some significant wins! We had another excellent sales season last spring, planted our third test orchard, got incorporated, made several major improvements in the field which reduced hand weeding and soil compaction while improving crop health/roots, reveled in a glowing article and feature on the front page of a local agriculture magazine, hired three (one temporary) new staff members, and dug our largest crop yet this fall, with a modest crop from our stool beds of rootstock. And on a more personal note, in case you haven't heard: Zack and I got pregnant, and are expecting our little one this April!
I think I'm still processing the whirlwind of that, even though we are already into 2023! With babe expected to meet us in April maybe it's all the hormones, but goodness, life is whisking right along!! In fact, my 'quarterly' newsletter became an annual newsletter! Well, we certainly won't spam you with excess emails on this mailing list anyways - though I do hope to touch base a little more this coming year!
Pictured above, L to R: Mouse holding a Great Horned owl who tried to take on Zack's chicken fence, Zack and Steph on the cover of the Rural Voice, Steph holding a beautifully rooted tree during digging this past October.
Pictured above, L to R: Chickens helping with weed control in the nursery, another nursery view: successfully cover cropping the alleys and using finger weeders mounted on the BCS to keep between the trees clean. Happy soil, happy trees!
Grafting Course Announcement!
Last spring, Susan Poizner of Orchard People noticed her most viewed video on her Youtube channel was an old grafting video featuring Ken Roth (founder of Silver Creek Nursery and my cousin). After several conversations, we concluded there is a definite gap in resources for folks who want to learn how to graft fruit trees; the many questions Susan and I receive year-round from our respective audiences confirms that gap. Susan decided to create a super comprehensive grafting course, with my help. It covers:
- some basic history and benefits of this ancient practice
- how to graft using different techniques like whip-and-tongue, bark inlay, cleft, chip budding and t-budding
- when and why to use the above methods
- seasonal aftercare for each of those methods
- discussions on graft compatibility
- seasonal options based on material availability (helpful when grafting onto or from existing trees)
- various tools and options for low budget grafting, as well as sources for materials (including 10% off our grafting kit for all course attendees)
I firmly believe anyone seriously interested in having their own (permaculture) orchard should know how to graft. As you learn the pulse of your orchard and become attuned to the ebb and flow of the seasons, grafting fits right in there with your orchard maintenance and IPM. And while the physical action of grafting can seem daunting, with practice and guidance it's easy as pie! By now it's muscle memory for me, and a rather addictive hobby/skill to have - our test orchard boasts over 300 varieties of apples alone!
- Early Bird Pricing! After Sunday, January 15th, the price is going up. If you enroll now, the price is only $275 USD!
- Five free live stream Q&A sessions with Susan and I, spaced at strategic points throughout the year when grafting/graft care needs to happen. In future years, the basic course will be completely pre-recorded and the option for live check-ins will come with an additional cost.
Steph (and Zack, and the awesome SCN crew: Amanda, Keziah, Mouse and Wayne)