When a gardener gets a beautiful sunny day in February, it cannot be wasted. By noon on Saturday, our temperatures were hitting the sixties, the sun was out in full force, and wind was minimal. It was the absolutely perfect day to put a layer of dormant oil on my fruit trees. Now, this isn’t exactly a task I have been looking forward to, but I would have kicked myself had I not done it — today (as you can see in the picture above) the weather has already turned cloudy and damp which is not ideal for dormant oil spraying. To take one step back on this, I have been debating whether or not to use the dormant oil spray. I’ve been reading a variety of sources about organic fruit tree care and keep getting conflicting guidance. Some guides recommend nothing more than good pruning and planting around the trees with native grasses and flowers, plus mulching with organic matter, especially manure. Others recommend a few applications of dormant oil spray and then later a copper spray. This year, I decided to give these minimal spray applications a try, and yesterday was the perfect day to get started. I still feel confused about this topic, however, so if you have more experience growing organic fruit trees I’d love to hear your opinion on this matter.
The other major initiative I am undertaking this year to bolster my orchard is to learn beekeeping and get a hive. Even with the best fruit tree care, I won’t have much of a crop if I don’t have good pollination. So keeping a hive in my orchard seems like a good idea. Plus, I might be able to play a small role in helping the struggling honey bee population. To learn how to manage a hive, I will be taking the Natural Beekeeping course at 21 Acres, a local non-profit community farm focused on sustainable agriculture.
I did manage to do a little more than just the dormant spraying yesterday. I weeded the two raspberry beds and the asparagus bed. Laura at the Modern Victory Garden had the same exact idea and made huge progress doing spring tidying tasks. See, when a gardener gets a beautiful, sunny day in February, it cannot be wasted.
I’ll leave you with a few pictures of impending spring.