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Abbey Myrick

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since Jan 15, 2014
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Recent posts by Abbey Myrick

Researching possible companion plants for my small orchard. Went back through the threads but didnt find what I was looking for, if I missed it my apologies. Wondering if anyone here has experience growing plants to repel pests in the NE? Repel and/or attract beneficial insects. One example being the Japanese beetles that love to devour our plum trees (we also have apple and peach).

Also good plants for building up soil and airrating? At what age would you begin planting? Our trees have only been in the ground one year, I imagine I would want to avoid planting anything too invasive for a few years until they get established. Anyone here used chickens to control bugs? I am considering bringing our chickens to the orchard when the japanese beetles start emerging to get a headstart on them, then removing the chickens after the bulk of adult are gone. Not even sure if a chicken would eat a JB? They are burley. I guess if a chicken will eat a pinky rat they should eat a beetle...
6 years ago

Kelby Taylor wrote:My opinion would be to by and large leave them alone. Trees that young are not yet going to be developing a permanent structure, that won't be til years 4 or 5(and that height). They look 2 or 3 years at most. I didn't start developing my pear trees until they were almost 1.5" caliper, probably 5 years old. Assuming you started with bare root trees, they look as healthy as they can in January, and decent growth. Fruit trees are a game a patience, don't expect big things in year one.

The first plum you have shown, I'd cut off the two side branches. And that is the only pruning I would do. They are far too low to be useful unless you plan on having a bush instead of a tree. Aside from that, stake those trees so they are straight. Too much leaning can cause problems down the road (or might not, but better safe than sorry).

As far as apples, you will likely need to spray everything except Liberty. Liberty is just about the only no-spray apple out there...Enterprise and Spartan are close 2nds but still benefit from some help.

Ah, that is good to hear. Everything I read about pruning just talks about "1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year" ect. but they never specify that the first year of pruning can start when the tree is five years old. I was under the impression I was suppose to start pruning these guys the following year after planting and that I must have done something wrong since they look too small. I'm glad they look normal. Thank you for the advice!
6 years ago
Stamets' work is amazing but I can't help dislike him. He put so many patents on his work that no one else can legally use the research. He is a smart business man but to patent natural processes such as using fungi to clean up soil contaminants is just stupid. I can understand patenting a product or medical research, but something that is not your own invention but simply a discovery--one that could benefit our world immensely, does not sit well with me. But yes, his research is fascinating.

I guess I should remember that this is what I remember from being 18 years old and wanting to go to school for mycology. Perhaps the patents have expired at this point?

Fungus are weird and awesome creatures regardless!!

6 years ago

Craig Dobbelyu wrote:Have you seen the rabbit wringer? It's a steel device that's made for very quickly killing rabbits. I don't have one but I can see from the videos on you tube that they are very effective. Personally, I have an iron fire poker that has a curled handle that works just like the wringer. First time every time. Quick and clean.

I never did see that! Thank you for posting, looks very effective.
6 years ago

Farmer Stina wrote:A friend showed me this great youtube video for gutting and skinning a rabbit. I love how matter-of-fact the chef is about it all:

The way I was taught to slaughter rabbits was to hold them on the ground, place a heavy bar across the back of their necks, step on either end of the bar and then pull up on their back legs until you hear their neck crack. It seems to be quick and humane to me.

The one time we tried this it didn't work. The poor rabbits eyes bugged out but his neck didn't break, and it was at a 45 degree angle. (( I don't know what we did wrong. I raise the rabbits and gut them but can't bring myself to do the killing. If I had a gun I could, but I am too afraid I will mess it up and they won't go fast enough. Joey kills them for me by swinging them and smashing their heads on a concrete pad. Its the way he learned but, while they do seem to go immediatley, I don't like this method--sometimes a poorly aimed rabbit gets a badly bruised shoulder which has to be thoroughly cleaned of blood and cut around during the butchering.
I may try to slit their throats next litter, but I need to find a proper knife.
6 years ago

Leila Rich wrote:
I may have missed it, but there's no seriously dwarfing rootstocks or natural dwarfs by any chance?
Just checking really, since most peaches are on their own roots and apples, the prime candidates for super-dwarfing, are doing ok

Almost all the trees are on semi dwarf rootstocks. But the variation exists within each variety...some did okay and others didn't of one type. :/ Seems like some of them just had a hard time getting going after reading everyones posts on the matter. The apple trees had a big problem with cedar apple rust which probably didn't help and the Japanese Beetles decimated the leaves on my plums in summer. This year I am going to really try to be on the ball with the kaolin clay spray ahead of the beetles (weather permitting) and keep some of our layer hens up in the orchard for bug patrol. I hope they find japanese beetles delicious.

Everyone tells me in new york the apples trees just look like crud for the first few years due to the intense pest pressure. Organic orcharding in ny is often laughed at because of this. :p I'm going to try the foliar spraying and just baby them as much as possible I think.

But for the apple trees that grew upwards but didn't branch AT ALL....well, I think I will try heading them off and see if I can get some branches??
6 years ago

Bill Ramsey wrote:Looking at the weather channel tells me 109°F on Friday so, yeah... mine practically quit eating when it gets like that here (south western Georgia). They just get so lethargic. The black oil sunflower seeds are like candy but I try to not over-do it. I always hear too much gives them the squirts but a few helps with lots of issues like litter size. Just off hand, I don't remember it ever being too rich for them.

Yes, temps like that would literally kill my angoras. They certainly wouldn't be eating either. I am in new york so its fairly cold right now, 109 degree weather didn't even cross my mind! Ouch. Hang in there rabbits!
6 years ago

Adam Klaus wrote:One other thing, though it isnt really relavent today since the trees are dormant, but it may be helpful in the future and to others-

Foliar feeding first and second year transplanted trees produces really good results for me. My sense is that the newly transplanted trees simply do not have enough vigorous roots with abundant root hairs to pull up enough nutrition for vigorous growth. So I have taken to foliar feeding trace minerals every 2-3 weeks, and also foliar feeding with a dilute complete fertilizer like liquid fish, raw milk, or compost tea in between trace mineral applications. My results have been much, much better and more consistent with this regimine.

How heavy do you apply foliar fertilizer and do you continue to do so into maturity or just at the early stages of growth? What is in raw milk that the trees like?

ETA: to add that the peaches look good, one variety of plum (castleton) did badly while the other (Green Gage) did fine. All the apples had trouble branching and were hit hard with pests. Even the Liberty variety which grew vigorously up and out and avoided all most all of the cedar apple rust and leaf spot only put out on average two branches toward the top with decent crotch angles and diameter.
6 years ago

David Livingston wrote:I wonder if your peaches had leaf curl?


Well, looking over the trees the peaches actually did the best as far as new growth. Two of them did not grow up much although they did branch out nicely. Its surprising since they are at the lowest spot and I was worried about drainage. No curly leaves in the summer, however they did get blotchy re/brown spots on some leaves. It looked like a viral thing but only affected a few leaves here and there.
6 years ago
When I planted them I laid down cardboard around them (leaving a 3 ft radius clear around the trunk for the roots to breath) then mulched lightly with wood chips well on their way to decomposition. They had some times when the weeds got away from me but I would say I did pretty good at keeping the weeds at bay for a good 6 ft radius circle. I also laid down drip irrigation. They are planted on a slight hill which admittedly has pretty varied drainage. The water table was far enough down but the soil seems to vary a lot on clay content. I did do a soil test but honestly its like a foreign language to me...not really sure what I am looking at.

I will try to take a picture today of an example!
6 years ago