Sunny Slope Orchard

Sunny Slope Orchard
In the coast range foothills overlooking the Sacramento Valley

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Indian summer views, and a book report

Here on November 12th we are enjoying beautiful T shirt weather, perfect for working outside. Unlike in the heat of summer or the usual November cold, we have been able to tick off projects comfortably and in good time: knocking and shelling walnuts and pecans, weekly harvesting of persimmons and lemons, spreading compost and planting the winter cover crop, and much more.

The only thing not to like is the lack of rain. After the previous two low-rainfall years our wells are barely producing and the trees are stressed. So we wait impatiently, eagerly checking long range forecasts for some sign of relief. So far every projected storm has been a mirage, but we keep hoping. In the meantime there is nothing to do but enjoy the beauty of fall. Here are some recent orchard views:

Apricot trees are a blaze of yellow

Peach trees combine red and yellow

Persimmons leaves go all out to capture "best of show"

We are picking Fuyu persimmons weekly for restaurant
and on-farm sales
Our Meyer lemons are showing their appreciation for the
compost, kelp and minerals they received this year with
great size, color and flavor 

Our winter wheat plot is off to a great start and we look
forward to many great loaves of bread next summer

A great book for the home orchard enthusiast

For anyone wanting to grow backyard or small scale fruit and nut trees, the book The Home Orchard, Growing Your Own Deciduous Fruit and Nut Trees is an invaluable resource. Published by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, this book offers a wealth of information from choosing the best varieties for your climate, to soils preparation and planting, to growth cycles and tree care, through cultural practices such as irrigation, fertilizing, pruning, thinning, harvesting and pest control. I recommend it highly, available here: