POP will be celebrating partner/volunteer Eldredge ‘Rags’ Ragsdale with a Golden Persimmon Award at this year’s Orchard Dinner event on September 19th at The Woodlands. Rags is a true force of nature in his gardening efforts at multiple sites in North and Northwest Philadelphia, including POP partner sites Historic Strawberry Mansion and Awbury Arboretum. The … Continue reading VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Eldredge Ragsdale
Think “bee,” and you’ll probably picture the familiar European honeybee (Apis mellifera) – small, with gold and black bands across its belly. But before the European honeybee was introduced to North America, there were already 4,000 species of bees on this continent. Although each of these varieties of bees have different life cycles and habitat needs, they all rely on flower nectar and pollen for their food.
This time of year, most common fruit trees need thinning as they tend to overproduce fruit. The fruit that is thinned is often inedible as it needs to be thinned before it is fully ripened. However, in the case of thinned plums, simply cooking them down can reduce their bitterness and transform them into a pleasant, tart addition to many recipes.
POP encourages all orchard partners and backyard fruit growers to take every step in orchard management prior to pesticide or fungicide application. However, the unfortunate reality is that ecosystem imbalances and fast rates of reproduction and adaptation among pests and diseases make it very difficult to maintain no-spray orchards. If the following pests are decimating your crops, Spinosad is a recent natural pesticide development and alternative to Bt, which may be worth carefully exploring.
I had the pleasure of visiting Owen Taylor at his farm within the Mill Hollow Farm in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Owen runs Truelove Seeds, a network of 20 farms that offers “rare, open pollinated, and culturally important vegetable, herb, and flower seeds.” Among this network of seed growers are several POP orchard partner sites, including Sankofa Farm at Bartram’s Garden, Mill Creek Farm, and Pentridge Children’s Garden.
Black Knot identification, symptoms, and life cycle Sometimes, in the springtime, cherry and plum trees may develop subtle, velvety olive-green swellings on their branches or twigs. If left unattended, these swellings turn into large, brittle, unsightly black galls that can kill the whole limb or even stunt the growth of the entire tree. These galls … Continue reading POP TIPS: Black Knot on Cherry and Plum Trees
In surveying our 62 orchard partners through our annual orchard partner survey, we heard that some fruit gets picked before it’s ripe and that some partners wanted more information to share with their community members on how to harvest, store, and prepare common or native fruits of their orchards. This feedback has been pretty common … Continue reading Introducing POP’s Bilingual Rainbow Nutrition & Recipe Cards — Available for Download
We here at POP are excited to share that we have been paired with 4 student researchers from Swarthmore College, who will be working with us over 8 weeks through POP’s School Orchard Program to create educational materials around building habitat for threatened pollinator species. Over the course of these 8 weeks, students will have … Continue reading Supporting Threatened Pollinator Habitats & Introducing our Swarthmore Student Researcher Team
In 2018, POP’s School Orchard Program continued to expand in offering unique, engaging, and hands-on learning activities for students, centered in 9 of 12 POP partner school orchards. In total, we offered 26 unique topical lessons, created 6 downloadable lesson and material packs for teachers to use in their classrooms, made 440 total student impressions … Continue reading 2018 School Orchard Program Recap & A Look Ahead to 2019
The POPHarvest gleaning program has taken a few turns and this year ventured into new fruiterritory, launching a new POPHarvestEd workshop series! The POPHarvest program, first piloted in 2014, is focused on picking and distributing fruit that would otherwise go to waste. These programs have taken two primary forms: distributing excess production from regional commercial … Continue reading POPHarvest Program Update 2018-19