To Farm or Build an Ark?
Spring always has a certain level of stress and each year brings its own unique problems. As someone who is new to farming I think that spring is my least favourite season. This years first challenge: flooding in the orchard.
Among the obvious challenge of the trees sitting in water there are many more problems that we are facing that I hadn't considered. At our farm we do all of our tree pruning in the spring time with a crew of men from Jamaica and a few Canadian workers. Using ladders that sink into the ground, boots sinking as you walk and non stop rain is proving this to be very difficult work. We are fortunate to have such a great crew and they are doing a great job under the wet circumstances.
Our usual spraying routines are also being impacted negatively. In the spring, risk of an apple scab infection is very high. Apple Scab is a fungal disease that infects the leaves, blossoms and fruit on the tree. Bad enough infections can cause the tree to lose all of its leaves and make the fruit unmarketable. High density orchards also increase the risk of scab breakouts. As of right now we cannot drive the tractors through the orchard without sinking. That means no mulching the prunings, cutting the grass and no spraying.
Along with apples, we also grow cash crop and are planting an elderberry nursery. We did get one nice day this week and immediately got one of our large fields cultivated as two tractors sprayed and tried not to get stuck (thankfully, no one did. We love 4x4). After the first pass the ground was still very wet so we had to wait a few hours to dry it out and do a second pass. Our little elderberries and apples are now planted in their nursery rows so we can finally check that off of our list.
The ponds and ditches around the farm are overflowing, the ground can't absorb any more and our tiles are all full and don't know what to do with the extra water. This week the weather is predicted to be slightly better and we may even get some sunshine to work with. Hopefully it is enough to get this water flowing away from the trees and dry out the ground ! We have Farming to do !!