Our pre-harvest tasks

by Debbie Milks August 16, 2018

We found out early on that there is a lot more to managing an orchard than planting the trees and returning to pick up the nuts.  Chestnuts, unlike pecans and walnuts, are sensitive to harvest and storage conditions.  So, the late summer is spent cleaning up the orchard floor to make the best possible conditions for our helpers to pick nuts daily, getting all the carts and cleaning and inspection and sizing equipment in good working order, sanitizing the coolers and other storage areas, and fixing tractors (they always need fixing).

This summer was dry, dry, dry until just this week when we want to start mowing.  It is a great thing for the nuts to get rain in August.  But it does keep us off the field until the ground is solid enough to support the mower.  Make hay while the sun shines!

Japanese beetles were out in full force this year.  They have been marching across the United States since 1916.  We've only started being troubled by them a couple of years ago.  The beetles eat the soft part of the leaf, leaving the veins.  The leaves die and litter the ground like so many lacy imitations of themselves.  But chestnut trees are amazingly resilient and new leaves quickly replace the old.  Thank goodness, the beetles don't harm or penetrate the burrs or the growing nuts. 

Debbie Milks
Debbie Milks


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