Growing Seasons at Abbey Farms
Our calm, cool demeanor during Summer Ramble or the fact that we are closed in the Spring may give you the impression that those are slower times of the year on the farm. Not true! Farming is a full-time, year-round business! What you don’t see, is often the most essential for success of the products you do see. Here’s a glimpse into what happens year-round at Abbey Farms:
Winter is when we lay the groundwork for the rest of the year. Fields, whether they are apple orchards, pumpkin patches or Christmas trees, must be cleared and cleaned to eliminate hiding places for pests or disease. In the apple orchard, we may also use trunk guards as a vole barrier to make sure nobody is nibbling the bark. Deer fencing helps protect the trees over the winter when people are not around. Right after the Christmas season ends, we get out into the fields to clear stumps left behind and remove old branches.
As the snow melts into Spring, we can see what we are working with and step up our activity. This is a great time for us to get new apple and Christmas trees into the fields. At the same time, we are carefully pruning the existing apple trees to direct growing energy toward larger and healthier fruit. Christmas trees must be sheared to encourage the shape you know and love. Later in Spring, when the last threat of frost has passed, we can compost and mound the pumpkin patch to plant seeds directly into the ground.
Does it seem like we are always out in the orchard and tree fields messing around with the trees? We are! Both apple and Christmas trees require year-round pruning and shaping to encourage healthy growth and beautiful shape. Summer is also the time when we must be extra vigilant to prevent pests and monitor water intake for all of our crops. Mulch is spread around the pumpkin vines to keep weeds at bay. In the orchard and tree fields, we mow regularly to maintain clear paths and keep weeds from overcrowding.
Of course, Abbey Farms is most busy in the Fall! We start with the apple harvest – while you’re picking your fruit, we are cleaning up fallen fruit to prevent pests, fertilizing trees, planting new trees and yes, pruning again. After you’ve had a chance to visit the pumpkin patch and bring the perfect jack ‘o lantern home with you, we need to clear the field and till additional compost into the ground so it’s ready for next year. And, of course, our Christmas Tree fields are active! Early in the Fall, we are giving the mature trees one last trim to make sure they’re ready to put on a show for you. We also take the time to mow and clear the paths in our fields before the snow falls so you can wander easily.
By developing our Nagel Farmstead Emporium offerings and live music venue, we have found ways to welcome you to Abbey Farms throughout the year so you can see a glimpse of what we do year-round. We truly appreciate your support!