Archive for the ‘Northern Spy’ Category

December 2016

Another year is in the books.  The harvest was a bit weird this year.  Usually, Cox’s Orange Pippin does well and I have a bunch of apples.  This year, I had three.  Then, when I went to pick them, they were gone!  I think either the deer or a neighbor kid got to them before I could.  My Northern Spy had one apple that got beaten up and fell early.  Newton Pippin did pretty well and had a decent harvest for the first time.  Hauer Pippin was awesome, as per usual.  White Pearmain had about it’s usual crop of 10-15 apples.  The one that was crazy though was the Ashmead’s Kernel.  It is pretty biannual, but this was it’s “on” year.  There were TONS of apples.  That’s even after I picked a bunch that had worms.  They are such a delicious apple.  One of these years, I want to make a single variety cider with them.

I also planted two new trees this year.  Both of them are cider apple varieties.  Kingston Black and Dabinett.  They both were purchased online from Cummins Nursery out of Ithaca, New York.  Both of them, like the rest of my  trees, are on MM111 rootstock.

I took a slightly different route this year with the fencing for the trees.  For the two cider apple trees, I did the same old routine; fencing with posts to hold them in place.  For the other trees, I used the old piece of fencing that I had around my long gone blueberry bushes to go around three trees on one side.  I still have to get the other piece of fencing ready to go and put it around the other trees.  It got dark before I could finish.

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It’s Been A While

I know it’s been over a month since I last updated.  Not a whole lot has been going on.  I did get another tree from a friend who was going to toss it out, but I didn’t water it as much as I should have initially, so it’s pretty brown.  I’ve been diligently watering it now so I’m hoping it lives.  My plan is to graft different apples on the ends so it will give me some variety when I go to harvest.

Also, I tilled the area again.  It looks better with no grass and weeds growing.  The same guy who gave me the tree is also giving me a bunch of mulch.  I plan on covering as much as I can with the mulch I get, after I put a nice ring around each of the trees.  All of the trees (except the mystery tree that I was given) look great.  Even the Northern Spy, which I had figured was dead, has leaved out and is doing well.  It leaved out in the past three weeks or so.  Terry Moore from Moore Orchards in Midland told me that his Northern Spies took 16 years to come to fruition.  I hope that’s not the case.  My daughter will be getting ready to graduate high school by the time I get some apples!

We are planning on planting some things in the middle of the trees this weekend.  I will be putting in some pumpkins and maybe another plant or two.  It should help with everything and make it look more like a garden than some tiny trees.

I’ve named another one of my trees.  The Ashmead’s Kernel will be named CRog, after Charles Rogers.  I named it that because of the apple itself.  They say that when this apple is on, it’s fantastic.  Conversely, when it’s a bad year, the apples are pretty bad.  Seems like Charles Rogers to me!  When he was good, he was amazing.  When he was off, all you could do is shake your head and asked what happened.

One Month In…

My apples were planted exactly one month ago today.  Some of them are flourishing, while others have yet to bud.  The Northern Spy has not budded yet, and it is beginning to worry me.  Every other tree has buds popping through and some have leaves (or are in the middle of forming leaves).  The White Pearmain is doing very well with the most leaves.  I had to clip a branch from the Ashmead’s Kernel, it was broken during shipping and I tried to let it slide.  It was not doing anything, so I clipped it to let the rest of the tree get the nutrients that were being send to that very small and broken branch.  It is going to be slightly different from I wanted it to be, but what can I do?

I was able to visit with Terry Moore from Moore Orchards last weekend.  He is a very nice gentleman.  Terry told me about some of the big mistakes he’s made over the years, but he’s learned from them and is willing to share his knowledge with other people.  Terry told me a story about when he was starting out and how some of the people helped him while others would not.  He said if he was ever in that situation, he would help the newcomers.  I think he may teach me how to graft this winter.  That would be awesome.  It’s a dying art that was once more common knowledge for farmers.

I believe that the Cottrells are going to plant a mini garden in the middle of my mini orchard this year.  It will need to be fenced in to keep the deer out, but it should be helpful in getting decaying plants into the soil.

Here is a picture of the Blair White just a few days before it’s one month planted birthday.

The trees are in!

This past Friday, my trees arrived from TreesOfAntiquity.com.  Luckily, I had talked to my dad about borrowing his rototiller and he brought it over.  Saturday was a very busy day, so Sunday (March 18, 2012) was the day to get the land worked and get the trees in the ground.  It took me about 2.5 hours to till up the grass and get it halfway decent.  Man, it was TOUGH work getting that sod turned over!  My arms were sore on Monday.  Now it’s Thursday and I’m not as sore as I was.

Last night, I worked a bit on my orchard.  It was mostly putting some fertilizer around the trees.  I decided to only put a little around each tree so I could give them a few more treatments.  I have humates as well, but since I didn’t put them on initially when I planted, I’m going to wait a little bit.  I’ve read that you aren’t supposed to water again until they start to bud, so I’m going to hold off until they are ready to be watered.  Also, I put some of the branch spreaders on the trees to get my branches growing at the correct angles.

One of my trees, Blair White (White Pearmain), already has a bud!  I was very surprised yesterday when I saw that. What makes it even more amusing is that is the tree I thought was in the worst spot!  The soil is more rocky in that area and I figured it would not grow as well as the others.  So far, I’ve been proven totally wrong.  Last night, I took my daughter out to see the bud, and she was really excited going over there and kept saying, “Apples!  Apples, Daddy!”  She’s two, so it’s cute to see her get excited about stuff.

As for the name Blair White, I’ve decided to name all my trees after famous athletes from Saginaw (probably going to be named after football players).  I’ve only named two of them so far, Blair White (White Pearmain) and LaMarr Woodley (Northern Spy, since he’s good at getting sacks for the Pittsburgh Steelers).  I’m going to have to come up with more names and put the tags on the trees before too long.  I’ll use my wife’s label maker and stick the labels on the aluminum labels I got with the trees.  Putting the name of the tree, the type of tree, and maybe some more information on each label is probably what I’m going to do.

The weather around here has been insane.  We have set records each day the past eight for high temperature.  Yesterday is was at least in the mid 80’s, extremely warm for late March.  Local weather people say we shouldn’t worry too much about snow because the lakes and ground have warmed up so much already.  Even if it does get a hard frost, I’m not going to worry too much because I won’t be getting apples this year anyway.

There is still a lot of work to be done.  Still need to put some mulch around the trees and plant a cover crop.  I’m hoping to get a chance to work on it this weekend, even though my in-laws are in town.  I bet I can convince my father in law to come give me a hand, he has a huge garden and a few apple trees as well.  I’ve taken a bunch of pictures, but the camera is at home.  I will do my best to get some posted in the next few days.