Thursday, May 3, 2012
Spring has sprung . . . or has it?
And then there is 'Chica', the rottweiler/lab mix standing behind the currant bush and new addition to the farm. It has been a challenging last two months as we have grown accustomed to each other. She likes to take walks - and if you don't want to, she goes by herself. Oops! Sorry neighbors. She is quite protective and territorial. We are still working on the social skills.
I have pulled about 75% of the pots out of the trenches I placed them in last fall for protection. Needless to say, having so many plants (well over 400 at last count) in such a small area resulted in a vole feeding frenzy. They girdled several grapevines (and appear to like Couderc 3309 in particular), chewed off all vegetation on some of my blackberries, and took a 2 inch section out of the cane of another blackberry (Arapaho thornless). The latter is very similar to the behavior voles exhibit around pea vines. They frequently cut a 2-3 inch section out of the lower stem of the pea plant and bury it somewhere. They don't touch the roots or the stem higher up on the plant.
In the meantime, I have come across a 1943 Cat D6 dozer in surprisingly good shape and cheap. I hope to get it up to the farm in the next two or three weeks. That should make fairly quick work of clearing the stumps I have been trying to get at for the last two years. I don't think the potted plants will survive another winter in the pots (well, most won't). Besides, it is time for the plants (mainly fruits) to start earning their keep.
Since serviceberries (Saskatoons) do so well up here, I'm considering advertising them as "Alaskan raisins" - at least until I find a grape that will work up here for true raisins. I left many serviceberries on the plants I purchased last year until they shriveled up. Wow! A wonderful coffee-like taste and moderately sweet.
As happened last year, my schedule has not allowed me much time to plant seeds for my upcoming plant sale in May and June. As a result, I will be postponing the first day of the sale until May 26. The sale will take place at the gravel pit at Jennifer Dr. and Murphy Dome Rd. on May 26-28 and probably will move to the Ken Kunkel Center on June 2 & 3. Hours will likely be from 10am to 8pm or until the last person has left. I should have a good selection of favorites, both flowers and vegetables, and may have a couple of red or pink peonies for sale, as well. Prices will be the same or less than last year, depending on the size of the seedlings. Last year's prices were something like $2.50 for a mix-n-match 6 pack, $1 each for 3" pots, and around $8 for a peony. I won't have lobelia this year, because it is too late to start them from seed. I will have some seed potatoes (yukon golds, reds, and purples) for $1/lb - to cover my cost.
While it is still too early to tell how the growing season will go (it has been unseasonably warm for about three weeks right up until the last few days), I should have produce to sell by early July. I actually discovered how to overwinter pepper plants (completely by accident) this last winter and already have bell peppers forming on the two plants.
I also took advantage of a tremendous sale at Lowe's and grabbed over 100 Asparagus roots at a very cheap price. I am going to take advantage of the trenches I put pots in over the winter to plant these in. Hopefully, in two years I will have fresh Asparagus to sell.
Other new additions to the farm this summer include kiwi berries, sea buckthorn (seaberries), aronia, elderberries, Manchurian apricots, edible honeysuckle, Dolgo crabapples, a couple of apple varieties, and a couple of cherry varieties. Whew! Will I ever get everything planted??? Good thing I love gardening.
Keep an eye out for another post on the upcoming 4th annual plant sale.