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[nafex] (unknown)

This has been a disastrous year for horticultural activities here in 
northeastern Vermont.  Records for rainfall were set in April and 
May, and nights were cold.  There was very little sun.  As a result, 
there was very little pollination. Most of my 100 or so apple trees 
are fruitless and, the few that do have fruit, are of such poor 
quality that spraying at this point is of little value.  

Because of the excess rain in April and May, I was unable to attend 
to orchard activities - grass went unmowed, for example.  I just 
couldn't get out there - and I wanted to clear grass from around the 
base of the trees to fertilize them, but couldn't get to that either.

The poor growing conditions extended to all other areas - I had to 
plant some veggie seeds twice (they rotted in the ground the first 
time), tomato plants are big and healthy but don't bear much fruit, 
cukes and squashes are slow growing, etc., etc.  We have had no warm 
nights to date either.

One thing the rain did was to make trees and other vegetation really 
grow by leaps and bounds - everything is lush and verdant.  

In addition to the foregoing, the deer have been especially voracious 
this year.  They practically destroyed about 20 apples trees I 
planted in the lower orchard last spring ('99).  They were Hazens and 
Sweet 16s and Hayer.  All that's left are some bare branches at the 
top of the central leader which is intact on all of them. It's all 
very discouraging.  Of course, what is needed is a bullet - but deer 
are nocturnal and I don't feel like hunting at 3 AM!  Otherwise, 
someone's suggestion of a board fence is the other alternative.  But 
they are really ugly and I hesitate to go that route.  And it's 
expensive too.  

Another year is coming.  

Armando Bona

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