In addition to this, they advocate for tree planting practices as part of their environmental sustainability measures. Orchard Preparation When the couple initially settled in the area, the land on which the Orchard now sits had been largely untouched. It had been an alfalfa hay field from which neighboring farmers obtained pasture for their livestock. The couple first cleared the site and used bushes as fencing. They then used a backhoe to fill in an existing swamp, in the Northern side of the Orchard. Near the creek adjacent to their land, Jeff strategically planted some tree seedlings near already existing wild cherry trees that had already ripened fruits from which birds fed on and this kept them away from his trees.
Now the land provided prime space on which the orchard would thrive. The growing season takes about four months depending on the prevailing weather patterns (Washington State Department of Agriculture, 1976). The seven acre land now grows about 1,000 trees in total. The land is divided into portions on which three-quarters of an acre holds pear trees, one and a quarter acres holds apple trees and three and a half grows peaches and nectarines.
An additional three quarters of an acre has been set aside for apricots, a tenth for plums and another tenth for Cherries. The couple has further leased out an additional acre of land on which dwarf apple trees grow. Growth Conditions The area experiences an average rainfall of about 14 inches whereas neighboring Spokane receives an average recorded rainfall of about 16 inches. The land is perfectly situated next to abundant water sources from which the couple has senior abstraction rights.
The farm sits at an elevation of 1,600 feet next to a hillside and is, therefore, sheltered from the harsh climatic conditions of Eastern Washington. Jeff closely monitors the national weather through the weather stations and closely pays attention to forecasts at 7-day, 3-day and 1-day intervals. Through his experience, he has observed a difference in warmth of about 2-3 degrees between what the stations predict and real-time temperature in his Orchard. Monitoring Growth During the growth monitoring period, Jeff prefers walking round the orchard claiming “the most important thing to put into your orchard is footprints. ” This accounts for one of the reasons why the orchard lacks a permanent irrigation system in place.
During this period, he carefully looks for bud growth while observing crop trends and relationships.
Cliffside Orchard Website (Retrieved Online) http://www.cliffsideorchard.com/ (Viewed 16 April 2014)
Crasweller R. M. (2005), Grafting and Propagating Fruit Trees. Publications Distribution Center, The Pennsylvania State University p. 11 (Online) http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/UJ255.pdf
Mapmuse (Retrieved Online) http://find.mapmuse.com/map/csa/goto/291150403/cliffside-orchard (Viewed 16 April 2014)
Washington State Department of Agriculture (1976), Washington Grown Fruits, Legume and Herbs Seasonality Chart, (Online) http://agr.wa.gov/AgInWa/docs/SeasonalityChartFruitLegumeHerbsfinal.pdf
Warner Geraldine (2007) http://www.goodfruit.com/the-rise-of-organics/ (Viewed 16 April 2014)