Well here we are at the end of 2012. The drought seems to be over as we have had a wet winter, there is snow on the ground now.
BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR...This photo was taken from my dining room window toward the back gardens.
Well it is time for dreaming and planning now..can't do much outside other than shovel.
This week I sent out an order for 4 new fruit trees and a bunch of open pollinated garden seeds. We had a horrible drought with extreme heat last year, quite unusual for Michigan and so we lost a lot of plants, seeds and had damage to some of our trees. Also there was a very late hard freeze for a few days that destroyed all the fruit tree buds in May and June, so we had very little fruit crop for 2012.
The new fruit trees that I ordered were 2 standard peach trees, one a Reliance and one an Elberta, both freestone and very hardy for our area. I ordered another sweet cherry, Stella, this one is supposed to be "self fruitful" and it is standard size. The Windsor that I got last year had no real root and died, so it is to be replaced this spring, it is also a sweet cherry and standard, so there will be two new sweet cherries planted in 2013.
The large apple tree in the photo above on the left, is a volunteer from an apple core that had been thrown out many years ago. We believe the apple that began it was a Northern spy, probably crossed with whatever was in the area. It has medium size apples that come on quite late and are good keepers and are very tasty, but do have a bit of a bug problem from time to time. The 4th tree I ordered is a Nova Spy. It should be a good pollinator for this old tree, it is also a standard so we'll put them fairly close to each other.
In my food forests we have some trees reaching bearing stage at last. We got a really good first crop off of our 6 hazelnuts in 2012. They were small but very tasty (now I need to get a really good hazelnut nutcracker). No crop on any of the other nut trees in 2012, maybe next year, they are all still quite small. I even put in a few new nut tree babies this past year. So now we have black walnut, butternut, carpathian walnut, heartnut, sweet chestnut, hazelnut, Halls hardy almond, hickory nut that we hope soon will grow large enough to bear.
We had only 2 pears that formed on one of our pear trees this past year and one fell off, so we had one to eat, and it was heavenly !! Hopefully we won't have those late freezes this year and we'll get a nice crop of pears. I have several kinds of trees and even have some roots that survived from trees where grafts died that I'm leaving in (I have the room for whatever comes of them). The other fruit trees didn't fare even as well as the pears, as we had no fruit on any of them except one fruit on the baby Medlar that I put in this year. Most of them are at bearing age so we are quite hopeful for 2013.
We did have a few lovely grapes on some of our newer grape vines this year, they were delicious.
We had the best crops ever of our asparagus and rhubarb this year, but the drought did a lot of damage on the annuals especially.
We had some good black raspberries, but they didn't last as long as they should have and the blueberries and other berries were pretty sad.
With all the moisture we have gotten so far this Winter, I am very hopeful that we'll have a better crop year, also I hope to be able to get some more mulching materials this year (our truck is still dead but we were given a lovely mini van which I can use to haul stuff with..woo hoo).
My old eyes are getting worse so I'm going to try a few things this year, one I have tried before and others are new to me. In the past I have planted PURPLE green beans and YELLOW ones too..well this year I'm doing that again and planting them up on a higher raised hugel bed. Hopefully this will make them easier for me to pick (and see)..the purple ones turn green when cooked.
I also found a white cucumber, yup white, so I'm planting those this year also, green on green is very difficult for my eyes to see so that is the plan.
Well as I said, the tree and seed order went in. Henry Fields has a great sale going and I got some really great prices..so I couldn't resist. I am sure I'll order some more seeds (just can't help myself) and who knows, might go crazy and get more fruit trees, there is still some open ground available.
Anyway, Happy New Year to all of you and hope your 2013 is bountiful.