Monday, May 21, 2012

4th Annual Plant Sale Starts This Weekend

We are a bit late getting out the word, but our 4th Annual Plant Sale will run this weekend (Sat-Mon) from 10am to 7pm or so.  We will be at the gravel pit at Mile 1 Murphy Dome Rd. (at Jennifer Dr.).  This year we are offering all your favorite plants, including Hecker and Tristar strawberries!  Sorry, no Quinalt Strawberries or potatoes this year.  Visit Ann's Greenhouse for great prices on seed potatoes!

Next weekend (June 2 & 3) we will be at the Ken Kunkel Community Center on Saturday and back at Jennifer Dr. on Sunday.  Times will be the same.

On June 9 & 10 we will be at the Ken Kunkel Community Center only. Times will be the same

  We are keeping the prices the same or lower than last year.  However, due to time constraints, we have smaller quantities of our usual selections, so come early.

See You There!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Signs of Life!

Life is slowly returning to the farm.  Currants, raspberries, and serviceberries are all pushing out leaves tonight.  It is great to see that everything made it through the winter with only minor vole and moose damage.  While we have not yet passed the average date of the last freezing temperature (May 15th), the weather is slowly warming into the 50s during the day and the mid-30s overnight.
  In the vineyard, vitis amurensis is just starting to push buds and Baltica is bleeding from the pruning cuts. All the other grape varieties are still dormant and will probably remain so for another 10 days or so, as we have not accumulated any growing degree days (50F base) yet.
  I am getting the dozer transported to the farm this weekend.  I hope to repair the clutch in it soon so I can start moving some stumps!  I have nearly a thousand plants that need permanent homes this year.  I am definitely recruiting helpers!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring has sprung . . . or has it?

  I took this picture tonight between snow flurries.  This picture of a Ben Sarek black currant bush shows many healthy buds pushing despite an overnight low of only 13F two nights ago.  I really like this variety as it is quite hardy (live buds all the way to the top of the canes) and resistant to powdery mildew (unlike Consort).  It is also the first plant on the farm to start pushing buds in the spring - typically around April 15th.  If you are curious about the grapevines on the farm, they typically start pushing buds a month later.
  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.