Plant Spotlight: The Joyful Juneberry (Amelanchier spp)

By 2016 POP Intern, Lucia Kearney. It’s June, and that means a piece of good news for us all: the juneberries are ripening! While this is making some of us leap up and down doing happy dances, I’m sure it’s also making some ask, “What the heck’s a juneberry?!” Great question. Read all about them … Continue reading Plant Spotlight: The Joyful Juneberry (Amelanchier spp)

Plant Spotlight: Meet the Pawpaw! (Asimina triloba)

By 2016 POP Intern, Lucia Kearney. I first encountered the pawpaw one late-September day when my former elementary school art teacher came to my parents’ house for dinner. She and her husband had gone foraging for them on Swarthmore College’s campus before heading our way. I was perplexed; these fruits were native to the area, … Continue reading Plant Spotlight: Meet the Pawpaw! (Asimina triloba)

Organic Sulfur Spray and Early Spring Management

By 2015 POP Intern, Steve Palder, and Program Director, Robyn Mello Spring seems to have arrived a couple of weeks early this year, and the first scab spores have been detected in Pennsylvania! If buds on your fruit trees have begun to break (green tips or flowers emerging), this morning’s good spring rains provide a great … Continue reading Organic Sulfur Spray and Early Spring Management

Pruning: Bushes, Brambles, and Vines

  These categories of woody perennial edibles are are often considered much lower maintenance than fruit trees. As a result, it’s come to POP’s attention that they may not be receiving the attention they deserve when interplanted in our community orchards, so we’ll be working this season to highlight what to watch out for and how … Continue reading Pruning: Bushes, Brambles, and Vines

POP Pruning Guide: Fruit Trees

Pruning is the regulation of plant growth and productivity through branch removal and bud manipulation. Good pruning can help fruit trees become more resistant to pests and disease, as well as bear a larger, more consistent, and better quality harvest.  Annual pruning is strongly recommended for best health and production of the more common pome and stone fruits (apples, pears, … Continue reading POP Pruning Guide: Fruit Trees

Capturing and Conserving Water with Stormwater Catchments and Edible Rain Gardens

Volunteers plant water-loving perennials in the rain garden at new Lea Elementary partner orchard (above) In areas where runoff rainwater or overflow is a concern for causing soil erosion and the possible spread of chemical pollutants, pesticides, or sediment into the watertable, stormwater catchment allows for precipitation to be redirected into the landscape to benefit … Continue reading Capturing and Conserving Water with Stormwater Catchments and Edible Rain Gardens

Partnering with Stropharia: Integrating Beneficial and Edible Mushrooms into a Forest Garden Design

If you’ve ever had the urge to dig down a few inches into a pile of woodchips or a sheet­-mulched forest garden, you may have noticed the filamentous white tendrils of fungal mycelium inhabiting the woody debris below. This is just a glimpse of the natural processes that govern the life cycles within all forests: as plants and trees eventually die, … Continue reading Partnering with Stropharia: Integrating Beneficial and Edible Mushrooms into a Forest Garden Design

Autumn Composting in Orchards

Compost Benefits Why put compost in your orchard? The benefits are many. Adding compost will add organic matter to your soil, and thereby feed your trees and bushes with vital nutrients. Additionally, spreading compost around the base of your trees and bushes will help with water retention and may reduce your irrigation needs. Compost also … Continue reading Autumn Composting in Orchards

Poultry in Orchards

The permaculture chicken niche – http://permaculturenews.org/2013/05/12/managing-the-working-chicken-video/ Looking for an organic method of reducing insect pests in your orchard? You might want to consider poultry! There are many benefits to letting chickens or ducks roam around your orchard. These lovely birds can help you manage both weeds and insects without the use of pesticides, while also naturally fertilizing … Continue reading Poultry in Orchards

How to Identify, Prevent, and Treat Apple Scab

Distorting leaves and damaging fruit, apple scab (caused by the fungus Venturia inacqualis) is one of the most common and destructive orchard diseases.  Apple scab emerges as dark brown to olive green velvety lesions on leaves, fruits, stems, and twigs. In the early spring, primary (ascospore) infections hit early fruit at blossom’s end with one … Continue reading How to Identify, Prevent, and Treat Apple Scab