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It was just 1 F this morning, the first of what will likely be many cold days over the next 3 months or so.  How does that compare to years past?

Well, on December 10 in 1902 it hit -13 F while just a year earlier on that date it hit a balmy 63 F.  Our weather is if nothing else, never boring.

Neither extreme is normal, and both extremes carry some risk.  The -13 reading in 1902 likely would have taken out most peach buds.  A -21 F event on December 21 in 1980 was a bit more damaging, wiping out almost the entire peach crop in NH and killing tens of acres of wine grapes back to ground level outright.

I spent some time this past weekend checking vole guards around trees and adding new ones where needed.  This chore should have been done weeks earlier, but with the ground still bare, I was OK.  With snow cover likely  very soon, I am happy I finally got around to this chore.

For vole guards I use hardware cloth, usually 1/4 or 1/2 inch mesh.  I cut 18 inch tall pieces roughly 20 inches long which bends to form a protective cylinder about 6-7 inches across.  Cut hardware cloth is hard on the hands so gloves are important.  Fastening the ends of the cylinder together is easy now that I use hog rings.

A short crop (oh, that May 11 morning) and warm summer did produce one thing in abundance in our orchards – strong fruit buds that promise a great crop in 2011.   Now if only we can have moderate temperatures this winter and spring…

Bill Lord, December 10, MMX


Comment from Sonny Gauthier
Time December 14, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Hi Bill, somehow we got lucky and missed the frost that nailed so many orchards. We had very good crops of plums, peaches and apples. Somehow the trees were able to find adequate water in spite of the lack of rain. Looking forward to spring and seeing you if you will do more twighlight meetings? You are an inspiration!

Comment from Tom Kaye
Time December 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Glad you came back.

Our peach trees produced fruit in it’s second year. We did prune to just a few to get a little taste of what was to come. We also had 1 plum and 2 nectarines on the same age trees.

We are hoping for a decent production on next year’s trees.

We may have to wait longer for apples & pears though.

Have a great Christmas & New Year!

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