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So, autumn is here and the orchard is quickly going dormant, losing leaves and quieting down.  What is there to do this time of year?  Well, this season focuses on cleaning up and protecting.  First, make sure all fallen, rotted or dropped fruit is cleaned up.  Organic growing starts with HYGIENE.  You really should not leave dried, “dead” fruit on the trees (these are called “mummies”).  They make perfect shelters for disease organisms and insects that will return next summer.  So remove these and compost/burn or feed to chickens.  Remove any diseased or dead branches/twigs.  Observe the trees and see how you will need to prune them come wintertime.  Also important is PROTECTION.  Remember, winter is when much deer damage and rubbing occurs, and when rabbits and voles/mice feed on fruit tree bark.  So do make sure that tree cages are in place and the bottoms of trees are wrapped in hardware cloth for protection.  You can also spray dormant oil in November/December.  Pruning should occur a little later in January/February and March/April for peaches and plums.  You can also sharpen your tools at this time, plan on any orchard additions you’d like to make, and remove anything that is not working out.  Make sure any orders with us are ready by January 1st, because we sell out fast!  Remember to rest some!