Springtime Update: Beneficial Nematodes

NematodesSpring brings rain and warmer temperatures. It also brings pests. So, it’s time to break out the organic measures for controlling tick populations and apple pests. One of our not-so-secret weapons that we use for the orchard is beneficial nematodes. Insects with a pupating or larval stage in the soil become susceptible to the insect-parasitic nematodes. The microscopic worm-like organisms seek out insects to host them as they mature and reproduce, killing the pests in the process. There are several species of nematodes that are parasitic to a variety of pests. We employ a triple threat to broaden the impact on pests such as curculio, apple sawfly, Japanese beetles, ants, and ticks. Timing is of importance when putting them down, however. Soil temperatures need to be above 45 degrees and should be wet since nematodes live in the water-filled pores within the soil. Drought conditions such as last year, could not sustain the nematodes. Thankfully, the abundance of snow this winter and recent rain has aided our efforts.

Bryan felt as though he was spraying magic pixie dust, so he added a brew of nitrogen and other nutrient fixing microbes to the nematode mixture for increasing soil fertility. It’s particularly interesting to note the 1960’s “discovery” of the effective microbes and philosophy of their founder, Dr. Teruo Higa. Dr. Higa’s research focused on combining microbial strains that were not believed to live together in the wild to see which ones could co-exist. All the microorganisms in the formula Dr. Higa created and used at Eden Acres Family Farm co-exist, co-prosper, exchange information, are sustainable, are safe, are efficient, are effective, and service each other. Dr. Higa believed that humans needed to learn from these microbes. We think so too!

What can we learn from beneficial microorganisms?

Symbiotic relationships are essential to our growing and changing world; a balance that can only be achieved by working together. What contributions are you currently making, or can offer to your community, to co-create a more prosperous culture?

One Love,

Ali

 

References:

http://articles.extension.org/pages/24726/soil-nematodes-in-organic-farming-systems

http://www.teraganix.com/Effective-Microorganisms-History-and-Availability-s/194.htm

 

Step into Your Bee-ing

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It’s the time of year when people are noticing the first few signs of spring. The days are growing longer, the birds that migrated back north are singing their songs, the buds on the trees are swelling and we await the apple blossoms. It reminds me that we need bees. A goal of ours, despite knowing very little about beekeeping currently, is to start with a couple of hives in the orchard. I did a bit of research to understand the different options and what would work best for a first time beekeeper. Of course, you are supposed to order your bees in January, but there’s no time like the present! If I hadn’t had to look a bit harder for bees, I may have missed the apiary in the town next to ours that has nucs of Italian bees that have been overwintered and ready to go.

In the meantime, the previous month has been full of change and new beginnings. Some astrological alignment I believe helped usher in the changes and we have now embarked on a journey of homeschooling our two boys. It was something I never thought I would do or could do, despite having a degree in education, but have felt remarkably at peace with it. I am encouraged by their growth, both academically and in their confidence. It has encouraged confidence in myself as well. I am now able to unite the ideals of farm life and learning from the environment around us. They both take roles on the farm and are growing into their unique selves. It is wonderful to witness.

My question to you is, what aspects in your life have you been resistant to change because you didn’t think you could it? My wish for you is that you will know that you are so much more capable than you may give yourself credit for… Be the bee and step into your bee-ing.

All my love,
Ali

A Time To Go Inward and Self Care

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Winter is a time to go inward. A time of retrospection and self care. This winter we have enjoyed family around the holidays, recharging with a trip to Florida, building upon friendships, and getting in a little surf and skiing. The winter allows us to restore our reserves and get ready to spring forth.

Self care can be equated with the airline advisory to put your mask on first, then to assist those next to you. You can only help others once you yourself are cared for and in balance. All too often we sacrifice, as mothers, as fathers, as friends, to help others in need. But if you view your level of self care as a fuel tank, you can see that it is vitally important to refuel yourself. Likewise, it’s important to use that fuel so that it doesn’t become stagnant. It’s a balance of give and take, or rather gift and accept. When you give more than you allow in return, it results in emptiness. Running on empty can be seen in such symptoms as fear, jealousy, anger, hoarding of knowledge, affection, and material comforts. On the other hand, a balance is evident in a free flow of information, love, and service.

What do you do to promote self care?

Ali

Declarations After Our Second Season

File_000 (7)Can you think of a time when you were living in the middle of conditions that were less than ideal? You might ask, “Why is this happening to me?” It can be very frustrating and somewhat depressing. Yet, here you are, you’ve pulled through! Do you now have insights that you might not have had if your situation were different?  

Less than ideal growing conditions that included the worst drought in over 80 years, as I’ve heard some report, led to a significantly low yielding apple crop. The contrast was further highlighted being that it immediately followed the super crop of 2015. Both extremes in just the two years of our tenure!

It takes being faced with what you don’t want, to know what you do want.  -Abraham Hicks

While a low yielding apple crop was being faced with what we don’t want, the contrast helped us define and declare what we do want:

We want to produce a lot of apples.

We want to utilize our whole crop in the most efficient way possible.

We want to expand our markets to include Common Ground Fair, a farmer’s market, and restaurants.

We want to add bees, berries, and other fruit trees to the orchard.

We want to include other value added products like fermented foods and drinks, juices/smoothies, and honey.

We want to thrive in harmony with the environment.

We want to thrive in harmony with our community.

Above all, we want to be happy!

(A little bit more about what I want particularly:  I want to create a retreat and wellness center at the orchard with a spiritual nature to it… I believe this will happen!)

While there were plenty of lessons learned as a result of our first season: Our First Year in Review, we believe it is important for us to continue to learn and grow. This is part of the process when you have insight and find value in the contrast.

Declare what you want, I’d love to hear!

Ali