Fri, 12 March 2010
I was pulling out of the parking lot of a country bakery today, when the orchard opposite caught my eye. All the bare trees were a bright white color, from the bottom of the trunks to the tips of the top branches. It was quite a sight, and contrasted beautifully with the dark hills in the background. The reason that the trees were so ghostly white is that they had been sprayed with diatomaceous earth, which is like a clay powder that stops the eggs of insects developing .Maintaining an orchard is a full-time job, as the orchardists around here know. When you have an orchard, there is a list of jobs which start, of course, with planting the young apple trees. In this area they are irrigated because Wenatchee only gets about 9 inches of rainfall each year. Putting in the irrigation pipes, and maintaining them is a job in itself. Like any plant, apple trees can get infested with harmful insects, so certain pesticides have to be used, in accordance with the state laws. Fertilizers are also used at certain times of the year. Then comes the pruning in the winter which is especially necessary if you want a big crop. Not many people know that the orchards are sprayed with calcium. This mineral helps replace the calcium that is lost when a tree goes through very cold or hot weather. A tree will remove calcium from the fruit to protect itself, leaving a poor quality fruit behind. Applying calcium can stop up to a 50% loss of some varieties of apple. It sounds like science, doesn't it? Well, it is. Researchers and orchardists have worked in this area for over a hundred years, trying to find the best ways to care for the trees, in order to produce the best fruit. That is why half of all the apples sold in the U.S. come from here.
Common expressions and orchard vocabulary: to catch one's eye, a crop, fertilizer, irrigation, to prune, a variety.
1. The red hat in the shop window caught my eye; I had to buy it.
2. Wheat is a crop that is grown in the flat lands near us.
3. My roses need fertilizer; they produced very few flowers last year.
4. In very dry areas, one must have irrigation if plants are to be grown.
5. The team of workers pruned all of the fruit trees, which will produce bigger and better quality fruit.
6. The Red Delicious, the Granny Smith, and the Pacific Rose are three varieties of apple sold in supermarkets.
Direct download: ghost_orchard.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00 AM