Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Break Up, Green-up and the Plant Sale

Well, two weeks into breakup and things are starting to dry out.  Hopefully, we'll be driving all the way home in two more weeks.  With scattered light rain showers around, it's been a little cool at the farm.  Nevertheless, the fire danger is high as a few dry days sent the humidity into the 10%-20% range.  As usual, the snow isn't even melted and the vegetation is a tinder box.  Later this week it is supposed to warm up to near 70F, but we will see about that.
  I noticed tonight that the buds on the birch trees are green and elongating.  Green-up has begun - even with night-time lows near freezing.  Other things around the farm starting to bud out include the lilacs, honey berries (they are quite frost tolerant), and a Northstar cherry.
  We pulled out the grapevines from under plastic and straw on Sunday.  It was truly amazing to see growth from last year that hardened off and survived the winter.  This is the first time that new growth has hardened off on vines their first winter.  No doubt the mild winter helped, but it probably was mostly due to the extra heat from the hoop house.  However, when I looked at them last fall after the first frost, things didn't look good.  Well, that was misleading.  The Seneca that gave us a perfect-looking cluster (that never ripened) had over 10 inches of hardened cane.  There was so much left after I cut it back to two buds (the norm for young vines), I kept what I cut off to root for a new plant!  That is downright amazing!!!  Maybe grapes aren't out of the question this summer.  That may be a good thing, because all those green blackberry canes are starting to shrivel up.  I read on a "Far North Gardening" post on that it is not unusual for blackberry bushes grown in a place like Edmonton, AB, to die off over a period of a month or so.  They look good when the snow melts, but evidently there is significant damage and the canes cannot transport water from the roots to the canes and leaves.  We will see how ours do.  I do have some hope for a few blackberries this year.  We will continue to post on the survival of our blackberries.
  We will be feverishly planting the remaining 10 or 12 trays of seeds for the May plant sale.  Everything has been on hold as the school semester winds down and I finish my exams.  I still have a big exam on May 20th, but there is plenty of time to study for it.  In the meantime, we will be sowing flower, bean, squash, lettuce, and spinach seeds for your gardening pleasure.  It still looks like we will be starting the plant sale over Memorial Day weekend, however with the warm weather gardeners may be looking to take advantage of an early start.  We may start the weekend before, but Saturday hours would be during the afternoon.  I have to work my day job that morning unfortunately.
  I'll put up another post soon with pics of the winter and Chica and Duke.

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