Bear Swamp Orchard & Cidery


Certified Organic Hard Ciders and Apples

Surprise planting, llama beans

What a beautiful weekend to spend finishing spring chores in the orchard. We decided at the last minute to take advantage of Cummins Nursery’s end of season stock clearance, and added 16 Roxbury Russets, Newtown Pippins, and Freedoms to the orchard. These trees should grow like crazy, as they were fertilized with aged llama beans. Llamas very conveniently poop in one place, providing their farmer companions with a pile of great fertilizer to be scooped up and used whenever it’s needed. Our newest labradoodle Strawberry was also a big help, as she likes to take part in digging, and rolls in the llama beans and other compost as we put it down. Our sons pitched in too, to finish spreading compost and mulch under young trees, and removing the last of the branches we pruned off from the orchard. They were considerably more help than the puppy was.

We also did a lot of orchard work last weekend, when the weather was cold, wet, and windy. Steve and Elliot spread compost, while Jen and her parents removed all the wire cages from around the young trees and put them away for the season. Now we are really ready for spraying season; soon we will spray our scab-susceptible varieties with sulfur, and after blossom will have to begin controlling our insect pests. Fruit clusters look good with some of the trees we planted blossoming for the first time. Such an exciting time of year in the orchard.

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