Category Archives: Intensive Orchard

Mildew, Scab and Fungus

I went to the farmer’s market for the first time in many weeks and had a great conversation with Wayne, founder of the amazing Rockridge Orchards, which is always the highlight of my farmer’s market trip.

I’ve been watching the apple trees for some time now. I put them in as sticks this spring (and late in the spring I might add.) They leafed out and had some flowers. Then about a month ago I noticed some black spots on the leaves and some of them seemed to be curling.


I mentioned that my apples had what I thought was scab and described it. I told him I had used Serenade on them. He shot back right away “Dormant Spray.” Beg your pardon?

The fungus had overwintered in the evergreen plants he explained. I don’t have scab, I have early signs of the mildew that knocked down all the Akebias and azaleas during last early summer’s continuously overcast, wet weather.

A dormant spray that is comprised of lime and sulpher is perfectly fine for organic gardening and will take care of any fungus, no questions asked. I ordered some from my favorite online addiction, Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply. Being the most awesome online farm store ever they have several choices. The product descriptions don’t suggest using it for mildew but I trust Wayne completely.

I’ve sprayed the apple trees, my flowering red current bush, mint and azalea. It is probably too late to save the currents on the bush and I was planning on mowing down the mint patch anyway since it’s already halfway up my thighs (mojito, anyone?) but everything should recover and now I know how to prevent it next year.

What’s Growing – Summer Plantings

I wanted to share the list of items that we are growing on our small city lot because it still astounds me that there is room for all this bounty. Once you start looking at your yard as growing space and remove the lawn all kinds of possibilities open up. Maybe this list will inspire you as well.

Side orchard:

  • Liberty apple
  • Cox Pippin apple
  • Akane apple
  • Montmorency cherry
  • White Gold cherry
  • Blues Jam plum
  • Bay
  • Quince
  • Columnar Golden Sentinel apple
  • Yuzu
  • Desert King fig
  • Violetta fig (potted)
  • Dalgo crabapple
  • Improved Meyer lemon (potted)
  • 15 Jersey Knight asparagus
  • 2 Hardy Annanasnaja arguta fuzzy kiwi
  • Table grapes (future plan for arbor over garage door)
  • 32 Tulameen raspberry canes

Front yard planted in ground:

  • Rubel blueberry highbush
  • Legacy blueberry highbush
  • Darrow blueberry highbush
  • 3 rhubarb plants
  • 3 Globe artichokes
  • Bronze fennel
  • garlic, chives, scallions, leeks and storing onions
  • 3 bags or barrels of potatoes
  • chammomile

In raised beds:

  • 30 tomatoes
  • 2 eggplant
  • 15 basil
  • Nantes carrots
  • beets
  • radiccio
  • Swiss chard
  • kale
  • brussel sprouts
  • broccoli
  • corn
  • mache
  • claytonia
  • French sorrel
  • purslane
  • green beans

Lower front terrace outside fence:

  • 8 lowbush blueberries, Tophat
  • 6 cranberry
  • 2 lingonberry

Just in front of the front fence so they can grow up it:

  • 3 zuchini
  • 1 Magic Lantern pumpkin for jack-o-laterns
  • 1 Sugar Pie pumpkin for pies
  • 1 muskmelon
  • 2 cucumber
  • 1 butternut squash
  • sunflower sentries – these are re-seeding from last year and I’ll re-plant as needed. They are to feed the chickens.

In my semi-shady backyard I have or will plant:

  • 2 evergreen huckleberry bushes
  • countless strawberry plants in the rockery
  • peas
  • celery if the seedlings make it. They aren’t very happy right now
  • mustard
  • cardoons
  • lemon verbena
  • lemon balm
  • chocolate mint
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • oregano
  • marjoram
  • lavendar
  • tarragon
  • cilantro
  • parsely
  • thyme
  • red currant
  • black current
  • aronia
  • sweet woodruff (for flavoring soda)
  • 1 service berry tree for jam or dried fruit for baking
  • lovage – to be used as drinking straws for bloody marys when we have time to sit around…

It’s pretty astounding, isn’t it? All in the same space that was previously un-usable or was rarely used front lawn.

We are trying to design the garden so that it fits well with the neighborhood and adds to resell value should we choose to sell the house. With some planning and creativity you can do amazing things with your landscaping. Growing groceries isn’t just for farmers anymore and can fit well into just about any landscape design.

One last note – all the berry bushes and trees I purchased in March as bareroot stock. It’s a much less expensive way to purchase plants. They are shipped to you during the dormant season for significant savings. I ordered mine online from and Both are located in the Pacific NW and have disease resistant varieties that are acclimated to our conditions. One Green World especially has amazing customer service – phoning before shipping each order to be sure everything is correct and let you know when things are coming. They were great to work with and let me change my order just before shipping. Raintree as well even went so far as to apply a discount code to my order that I had forgotten to use during the checkout process. I recommend them both.