Transition to Fall — An orchard perspective

Aug 29 by in Orchards & Apples tagged with no comments

applesWe are now finding ourselves transitioning from summer fun to the start of school.  No doubt an important and exciting time of the year!  As you settle in to the nuances of school and activities, always remember the fun you can have at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City.

The transition to fall weather and activities is the best time of the year to experience our special place.  Whether you are in the market for fresh, orchard-picked apples, caramel apples, apple pie, or one of the many selections of wines and complementary foods to pick from, you and your family will fall in love with the many experiences to be had at the “Home of Arbor Day.”

Lciderast year, the summer of 2012 brought a devastating drought to our location.  Although we harvested a fair amount of fruit, it left the trees stressed.  The spring of 2013 brought much needed rain in record amounts, and, I might add, that spring didn’t settle in until parts of June.  The elongated winter definitely caused problems with our bloom time.  Because of these events, our crops were delayed this spring.  We have settled in to a good apple crop, but it is going to be delayed due to the late spring.  We are finding out what it means to be “delayed” when our peach crop this year is still producing fruit in mid-August!

Nevertheless, Mother Nature continues to keep us humble.  We are thankful for fruit that will be harvested and we are thankful to all of the guests who continue to experience Arbor Day Farm in the fall.  There is no other place like it.  Come experience it for yourselves and I look forward to seeing you here.

Summertime Orchard: Behind the Scenes

Jul 11 by in Apples, General, Orchards & Apples tagged , , with no comments


It’s summertime at the orchards here at Arbor Day Farm, and we find ourselves in the middle of a very hot, very dry spell here in Nebraska City. We doing a lot of the same things that you’re probably doing in your backyard gardens: watering when we can, pulling weeds, helping our plants and trees mitigate the stresses of the season. As is typical in hot and dry years, the apples will likely be smaller in size and will mature faster this fall, resulting in an earlier apple harvest.

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Photos: A New Crop of Hybrid Hazelnuts at Arbor Day Farm

Feb 02 by in General, Greenhouse, Hazelnuts tagged , , , , with 30 comments

Hybrid Hazelnut Sprout at Arbor Day Farm

We thought you might enjoy seeing what’s growing in the greenhouse at Arbor Day Farm. Right now, there are about 40,000 hybrid hazelnuts thriving in the greenhouse — the most our growing facilities have ever handled in one crop. Enjoy the photos!


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Raised Beds: A Great Option for Not-So-Great Soil

Jun 24 by in General, Greenhouse tagged , , , with no comments

Raised beds at Arbor Day Farm

Jan Bonham and Kristy Edwards work in the raised beds at Arbor Day Farm.

Are you looking to start your plantings earlier and possibly stretch your harvest date further?  Look no more than raised beds.  Raised beds are nothing more than elevating soil or mix, which allows the soil to warm faster in the spring and to cool slower in the autumn months.  In some regions, depending on climate, using raised beds lengthens the growing time by an extra month on either end of the regular growing cycle. That can be a real advantage in getting strong, healthy plants and trees.

Arbor Day Farm is currently experimenting with our own raised beds.  Our soil here is, for the most part, clay.  This hinders good root development for young seedlings and it also eliminates the possibility of lifting (that’s “greenhouse speak” for harvesting) the seedlings at maturity. The clay would tear the lateral roots, all but killing the seedlings once they went to outplanting.  With the challenge of clay soil in our area, we decided to go with raised beds as a trial when it comes to growing bareroot seedlings here at Arbor Day Farm

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The Greenhouse Report: Tree Shipping Season

Apr 15 by in Arbor Day, General, Greenhouse, Trees tagged with 2 comments


Happy Spring, everyone!

What a great time of the year here at Arbor Day Farm.  The soil temperature is rising, the buds are swelling, the bulbs are breaking through the ground, and the tree seedlings are heading out the door.  Our annual spring tree shipping season is upon us and I thought I’d describe what it takes to seamlessly send more than 2.5 million seedlings to all of our Arbor Day Foundation members during Spring 2011. 

As you might expect: It all starts with a great plan.

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The Greenhouse Report: Meet the Staff

Jul 13 by in General, Greenhouse, Hazelnuts, Trees tagged , , , with 3 comments

Plant Trees - Arbor Day FoundationIt takes a dedicated team to grow hundreds of thousands of tree seedlings every year, as we do here in the greenhouse operations at Arbor Day Farm.  

Granted, we’re a small team of just three individuals, but it’s inspiring to think about the future forests that literally pass right through our hands every season.  It’s rewarding work.  We share ideas, we listen to one another, we solve new challenges, and everyone’s opinion is regarded  in the decision making process. This team approach is ingrained in the culture of our unique nursery setting.   

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Greenhouse Report: The Upcoming Growing Season

Mar 19 by in General, Greenhouse tagged with 2 comments


Tomorrow marks the official first day of spring, and the greenhouse staff at Arbor Day Farm is busy getting ready for another production season. It’s true that we grow year round, but during the spring and summer we take advantage of nature’s kind gifts – sunlight and longer days – and grow an outdoor crop as well.

All plants grown at Arbor Day Farm’s greenhouses are propagated from seed. During the month of May, we will sow over 250,000 seeds – Colorado Blue Spruce, White Pine, Norway Spruce, and Bald Cypress. As you might imagine, sowing a quarter of a million seeds by hand would take an enormous amount of time. So we embrace another gift – the gift of mechanization and technology – to help us keep up with the demand.

Here’s how we get growing at Arbor Day Farm…

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The Greenhouse Report: Hybrid Hazelnuts

Feb 04 by in General, Greenhouse tagged , with 4 comments


For many of us, the hazelnut is a delicious snack, or maybe a favorite flavoring for a morning latte. But here at the Arbor Day Foundation, hazelnuts represent a sustainable crop with the potential to change the world.

A number of years ago, the Arbor Day Foundation wanted to produce a sustainable crop that would not only be a bio-fuel and a food source, but also an economical, high-yielding, widely-adaptable species that required relatively low input. That’s a pretty tall order, but after years of research, testing, and collaboration with invaluable partners, the Arbor Day Foundation established a nine-acre hazelnut orchard at Arbor Day Farm. What has grown out of this original planting in 1996 is a fascinating example of how a small idea can become reality and how that reality will continue to evolve into a sustainable program.

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