Aug 302011
 

Most of you have no doubt been following the progress of public orchard #2 which will be in the area bordered by the county parking lot across from the ferry dock. Mike Skehan has ramrodded this through. There is an agreement with the County. County crews have already been over to take out some trees and eliminate noxious weeds. Mike is waiting for the ground to soften up a bit to till it up and plant some grass. In October we will plant trees in the same manner we did at the Curry.

This project will, of course, need volunteers on an on-going basis and at tree planting time we hope we can pull a good sized crew together to amend the soil, put up the fences and plant the trees.

As always, the project needs the moola. Mike estimates the dollar cost of the project at about $1600. $600+ has already been raised. We will be looking to buy metal fence posts, fencing, staking posts and trees. If you are in the mood, you could make a donation to the project through LICA with checks delivered to Paul Davis. Likewise, we would love to have you volunteer or help recruit volunteers to be stewards for this orchard.

After planting the trees this fall we need to prune the existing trees on the property to get them back into shape.

This whole orchard project started as a result of some discussion on the transitionlummiisland.com blog. Because the Heritage Trust controls the Curry Preserve, on that project stewards are volunteers of the Heritage Trust.

On orchard #2 (we’ll find a better name someday), stewards will be volunteers of the Lummi Island Community Association  as LICA has the contract with the county. All this may be a bit confusing and awkward but the important thing is to develop some local and perpetual food sources. A second and equally important goal is to develop a cadre of folks who know their way around an orchard, who have learned to prune, to properly water and to deal with issues that face fruit trees (disease, pests, etc.)

If we had enough volunteers and a degree of expertise we could expand our portfolio to include helping private landowners plant fruit trees, develop public orchards on private property for find more property in common where orchards could be established to benefit the island.

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  10 Responses to “Looking For Volunteers”

  1. Lummi Island is truly a gemstone with many facets. Our efforts to plant food producing trees and maintain them is just one that has caught the light of day and sparkled back.
    I think our gardeners on the island have been doing a wonderful job for quite some time now, so maybe it’s time for another potluck this winter to talk about other exciting things we could be doing that either compliment or support existing efforts, like the Emergency Preparedness groups, or venture into new areas of need, such as communications and energy self sufficiency would be beneficial.
    Thank you to any and all who have supported Orchard No. 2, and are willing to help with seed money or sweat equity in Lummi.
    I’d like to float an idea for the orchard name – GraMac Orchard Park.
    This commemorates two giants of Lummi Island. Earl Granger (responsible for many of our roads and building foundations) as well as his long time partner in business, Ray McFarland (the first President of Lummi Island Community Association), who is deceased now. The land was also Ray’s homestead, as his surviving wife, Irene points out to me when I falsely referred to it as the old Embrey Place.
    It will be an orchard, first and foremost, but will have a nicely grassed infield and benches for a pleasant place to wait for a ferry on those sunny afternoons.
    Anyway, it has a better ring to it than Orchard No. 2

  2. You have my vote for the name GraMac Orchard Park (I hope no one wants to change its name later on). I also wish to be a perspiration partner in the endeavor. My lone apple tree in my front yard has vastly over-produced fruit this year, if fact, I lost one major limb from the weight of all the fruit. I put a bucket by my driveway, filled to the brim with apples, and a sign saying “Free Apples”. I didn’t know if it would generate any interest from passing motorists, but I have refilled it twice, and am encouraged by peoples appreciation for the fruit.

  3. It looks like there are many bushels, and several pecks of apples and pears nearly ready to harvest at the Curry Orchard. It would be interesting to read on here, how much Islanders harvest, and how they use and/or preserve our local fruit. The Blackberries are also ripe! Start pickin!

  4. Re: Blackberries. We’ve made 24 pints of blackberry jelly. Have made jam in the past but decided to go seedless using a Roma Strainer. It works like a charm and IMO the jelly is a step up from jam. It’s a great blackberry season. Most of our berries were picked on the Curry Preserve. Also using Pomona pectin and very little sugar (about 10% of the total batch). Later this week, more pickled beets and bread and butter pickles.

  5. Good job you guys, I’m currently in seasonal fun hog mode but will help out once the rains hit. z

  6. I do not understand how to start another topic therefore will attach this one here.

    In behalf of island food security, here are a few issues requiring island foodies’ attention.

    FRUIT PESTS:
    On a percentage basis, please keep track of the number of apples and pears infested by apple maggot and codling moth (track each separately) that you harvest Report back to this blog. Randy would you post the feedback, please? Islanders need to stay on top of these two. A recent article in the Tome published within the last few months, describes the visible differences of impact to fruit.

    OTHER ISSUES worth tracking that should be kept off the island if they are not here already:

    Mummy Berry in blueberries – a fungus

    SWD – spotted winged dropsila *sounds like Wasila,” that nasty little fly that infects berries – wild and domestic.

    Club root in brassica crops – cabbages, broccoli, etc. Because this is a communicable disease from one growing site to another, practice biosecurity to protect your soil during garden visits. Wear plastic overboots (used in livestock production) which can be disposed of, or rubber boots which can be sanitized with a chlorox 29% solution or quarternary ammonia. Both footware are availabe through various online supply houses such as Nasco. Also be careful where you get your seed as club root can be seed borne.

    DEER:
    Our sling shot and attempts to economically fence deer out are failing to protect our growing trials. The buggers are very smart. It is time for an organized harvest on the island, or a relocation effort. Anyone have friends at Fish and Wildlife?

  7. Darlyn,

    Interesting you should bring this up as this weekend orchard stewards discovered an infestation of saw fly larva (slugworm) on the stone fruit at the curry. We are spraying soap and hand picking them.

    My own view on guarding against pests is to start by building a strong immune system for the plants/trees. This means building healthy, well-balanced soil—that is, tested and amended with the right combination of minerals. And building the soil food web by adding bio active ingredients like compost tea on a regular basis.

    Cloud Mountain recommends traps for moths and for the home orchard, covering each piece of fruit with a footie (like some shoe store have ladies put on before trying on a shoe). I did this with my apples and it doesn’t take as long as one might think it would.

    I’m not familiar with mummy berry but it does sound awful.

    For SWD Cloud Mountain (and I’m referring to advice I get in their by subscription monthly enews letter) suggest a vinegar trap hung in your berries. I set traps last year and didn’t catch any SWD so didn’t set any this year.

    Club root has been reported by veggie gardeners on the island. Again, my own view is that we are surrounded by bacteria and viruses, some good; some bad. A strong plant immune system seems the best answer. I think all gardeners ought to spend $20 for a soil test and learn how to read the report or hire someone who knows how to evaluate and make sure their soil is as balanced as possible. I’d refer everyone to soilminerals.com and nutrientdenseproject.com

    Deer and what to do with them. Fencing seems the only answer.

    This opens the door to a very interesting philosophical discussion on how to deal with pests.

  8. Randy, please retopic the conversation at your blog site.

    Re sawfly (pear psylla):
    Try diotomaceous earth (available from swiming pool products suppliers) as a dry dust; causes mechanical damage to the larvae. Be sure to wear protection – eye mask, respirator, etc.

    Re apples and other fruit targeted by codling moth:
    Footies do not keep out codling moth. They chew right through…and back out to start another generation. Tough little buggers!

    Plant immunity:
    Researchers are doing this. For example, we are now able to obtain tomatoes resistant to late blight. Some varieties are now resistant to numerous other diseases, and soil nematodes. Their work for flavor and other necessary characteristics for our clime remains to be finished.

    Good soil:
    They ain’t makin’ any more of it. Best to spend your time preserving every square foot you can for food production. Whatcom County, and Lummi Island have not had adequate arable acres to sustain its population for over a decade thanks to poor land use planning, nor the water needed to optimize its productive capability. Water is going to exempt uses such as residential – for all that excess population.
    But that is all another topic which to date appears to be deflected by blinders mentality.

  9. Randy, please retopic the conversation at your blog site.

    Darlyn,

    Not quite sure what you are asking here.

    Also, would be interested in more information on coddling moths (the footies are a Cloud Mountain recommendation).

    “Good soil:
    They ain’t makin’ any more of it. Best to spend your time preserving every square foot you can for food production. Whatcom County, and Lummi Island have not had adequate arable acres to sustain its population for over a decade thanks to poor land use planning, nor the water needed to optimize its productive capability. Water is going to exempt uses such as residential – for all that excess population.
    But that is all another topic which to date appears to be deflected by blinders mentality.”

    This is a very interesting subject to me and several others on the island who have had an on-going discussion about how much land it would take, what the crop mix would be, etc. to support the island population.

    (Also, posted as a comment on the blog).

  10. On Codling Moth:

    WSU and the BC Ministry of Agriculture have the information you need for our region. Go to their websites. Cornell and Michigan State are also great as regards fruit.

    On LI Agricultural Resource Lands

    Have not seen my post regarding the number of arable acres on LI. Did you not receive it? I will be interested to hear responses – a discussion – by others regarding the data I sent on this essential resource.

    Darlyn

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