Seasons at Procter Farm

  (London, Ohio)
Procter Farm
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Extra! Extra! Read all about our fruit tree planting!

Here are some photos of our fruit orchard planting. They work both as a grand statement as you enter the Procter campus, and soon enough, the bearers of tasty fruit!

apple trees lining the drive

90 apple trees in 3 varieties (Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, & Zestar) line the drives leading to the upper and lower parking lots

cherry trees frame the chapel

29 cherry trees (stella variety) line the sidewalks leading to the chapel. These will get mulch around thier base as well - just as soon as the ground is a bit firmer. Don't want to leave any tire marks!

wood chips!

This is the mulch we are using to create a "forest floor" around the base of the fruit trees. It was trimed and chiped from trees in Madison County that were getting in the way of power lines. Thank you Ohio Edison for giving us your clippings! Because the chips were made from the tips of trees, where all the growth is happening, they have greater propensity to encourage fungal growth and benefit the root structure of the fruit trees. As with all ground covering, they also help to hold moisture in the soil. This type of mulch is called ramial wood mulch.

daffodils

Daffodils emit a natural odor that warns a variety of pests to "stay away!" because they're toxic to eat. This may be frustrating for all the deer, rodents, and rabbits that would like to dig up and trot off with bulb treats, but its a great way for humans to protect structures or plantings from damage. This fall we'll be receiving 600 mixed variety daffodil bulbs to plant around the base of each of the fruit trees. These early-blooming flowers will not only dazzle all who drive past them but also deter pests from nibbling on the bark and branches of the young fruit trees. Isn't nature great?!

 
 

Firsts

I have been reading a book called The Four Season Harvest by Elliot Coleman in which he talks about plant health and pest control. The idea being that healthy plants will have less pests because their actual physical make-up is less desirable to eat than that of a stressed plant. It is so interesting that just because the plant produces the desired crop does not mean that that crop is as healthy and full of nutrients as a similar plant grown in a better environment. I think this is partially where the idea of brix (a measure of the sugar content of a plant) comes from.  If you ever have the chance to read through this book, or even the chapter about pests, it is well worth the time! I find myself now looking around at my plants and seeing ways to lower stress and increase nutrient availability.

On the farm currently many of the heat-loving crops are starting to mature. The other day I ate the first cherry tomato off the vine and the first planting of beans are nearly ready for a first pick. Small peppers are on all the first planting pepper plants and the eggplants have flowers. Also, last week the first harvest of corn took place. I believe Senior High camp got to taste those corn first-fruits with one of their dinners! Speaking of camp, I have had the wonderful opportunity to welcome a handful of camp-goers and counselors throughout each camp week to the farm. For one of their activity times during the afternoon campers are able to come out to the farm and work on a project with me. This past week we spent a couple of nice hours chatting about anything and everything as we picked weeds from a variety of crops.

 
 
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