Thursday, February 28, 2013

Almost March

Not the BEST picture as he was sitting on the purple leaf smoke bush about a foot away from my living room window looking in, so the screen was between me and him when I took the photo. This is a sharp shinned hawk, he was feeding at my bird feeder (or should I say cat/hawk feeder). He sat there looking into my living room for a very long time.

Well we are at the end of February now. We must be over with our drought as we have had more rain/ice storms this winter than I ever remember before, so much ice under the snow that when the snow is shovelled or plowed I can no longer walk down my path or drive to the mailbox (can't find my TRAX somehow they got misplaced..wah).

We also have had a much colder and snowier winter for February than we have had in many years (last year we had 80's and 90's in February). But that is probably a very good thing as last year we also had all of our fruit trees bud out so early that when the weather turned awful cold in May and June we lost all of our fruit buds and only had 2 pears and a few other fruits, not enough to sustain life for sure.

We are very optimistic here this spring that we'll have a good fruit/nut season this year, although they are forcasting the next three months above normal temps and precip, I don't think it will be so dangerous for the fruit.

I have a several baby cherry and peach trees coming this spring and some kiwi vines again, I've tried kiwi several times and never had any luck with them but I'm going to really baby these. I hope they come in good shape.

Many of my baby food forest fruit trees should be of bearing age this year or next, hoping for at least a sample of fruit from them this year. And some should be well into bearing this year, esp some of my pear trees which gave me a sample last year despite the freezes.

I'm also expecting almonds on my Hall's Hardy Almond this year as it is quite large now. I got my first Hazelnut crop last year and it was great for a first crop, they look like they'll bear well again  this year. My other nut trees are too young to be bearing any real crops for a while yet.

I also am hopeful for some plums this year, the plum trees are all still very young, but one can hope. I have one peach that might be of bearing age in the next year or so, so I might get one or two peaches off of it. My other peach trees died so I'm replacing them with standards this year rather than the dwarfs I have put in in the past, they don't seem to be very strong. I also lost a sweet cherry last year and had damage on another sweet cherry, so I have 2 replacements coming this year, but my 2 sour cherries and my bush cherries should be able to bear a small crop this year.

I also got a small crop off of some relocated grapevines last year, and they were really yummy, but the remainder of my grapevines should begin to bear this year. My 100 year plus old antique grapes over my front arbor bear every year but they are only good for juice or jelly, not for eating out of hand.

I actually took a bunch of cuttings off of my seedless grapes this fall and just stuck them in all along my lattice fencing around the garden to see if they might take (they were basically just my prunings)..if so I should have some nice vines growing all over out there.

I always get a good crop of black raspberries and blackberries from two areas of my property, but the berry hedge I've been trying to establish out back just isn't doing very well, so I have hopes for that this year to catch up..if not I might rip it out this year..might  not be the best place for them?

This will be the first spring for the logs I innoculated with lions mane and shiitake mushroom plugs ..I have high hopes for them. One log was contaminated with some other fungus but professionals tell me that they still might be OK. I'll be keeping an eye on them. With the forcast for more warmth and moisture than normal it might be a really great mushroom year here there is also great hope for morels and other forage mushrooms.

This will also be the first year for planting my new hugelbed that Joel built for me east of the pear tree garden. Ron has been depositing some ashes on top of it this winter, and we put some refuse from some pots that were used to grow other plants, worn out potting soil. I have some composted manure that I'll be putting on it just before planting and hope to mix in a little shredded paper with the compost and I'll be trying to get some ash chips to mix in as well, to make a good planting bed on if I can find a good source for some mulch as well.

I also have a dream of maybe putting some protein fish into the pond. The goldfish have been muultiplying very well in the pond and would make a good food source for a few protein fish, I'm thinking also of some other forage fish from the fish hatchery, but that might have to wait a  year?

The plan was for chickens this year, but I'm thinking that won't work with Ron's difficulty with animals and he has had a difficult winter. I don't want to create more stress with that as the chickens are my dream not his, and he really doesn't want them or any animals for that matter.

Well, I'm desperately hoping for some warmer weather soon, I need to get outside and walk if nothing else, but working in the yard would be so much fun. Just as long as we don't get buds too early like last year..I'm OK.. 23 days till Spring.


  1. We are eagerly awaiting autumn here as the start of our rainy season in Tasmania. We have endured a very VERY dry summer with only 3 rain events for the 3 months, the last was 2 days ago and it gave blissful relief to our garden that was staggering and on the verge of giving up totally. We will be planting out our hazelnuts, walnuts and chestnut trees along with a couple of avocados and 3 more fig trees. I have plans to protect them from the local native wildlife by using 4 haybales around the circumference of the small trees and using black irrigation pipe to erect a tent-like structure over the top covered in ex fish farm netting (even seals can't eat through it) that we got for free from a local salmon farm. I can plant directly into the bales and we can grow herbs at the same time as strawberries and lettuce. The bales will also keep the water in the soil around the small trees over summer (well that is the hope!). I took a lot of cuttings from a large muscat grape at my daughters house in the city and will be planting out an entire fenceline with them this year. A friend has said that I can take cuttings from his kiwi vines and although I am actually allergic to them (eating) I will plant them out with reckless abandon for the natives to gorge on and hopefully stem their desire to eat the things that I do want. I have plans for lining the entire property with edible hawthorn (Washington hawthorn) intersperced with cherry plums...lots of habitat and food for the natives, and then REALLY getting serious with food production by creating a massive circus tent like fully enclosed structure to grow our veggies in. This year we had a lot of problems with the native animals (in drought and with local bushfires and they were getting desperate) attacking our fully enclosed small patch (with bird netting) and every morning they had invaded either from the top or bottom of the structure. I ended up with a bean "cube" becuase thousands of tiny possum hands kept pinching all of my bean foliage ;). I love this blog and really enjoy reading about your Northern food forest. It gives me hope for our own forest and lots of ideas about how to implement it :)

  2. I love reading your blog. I really hope to have my own forest garden someday.

  3. I have some kiwi vines (5) in pots awating spring planting, and they say you should prune them at 8" to 4" so I did, I put the tops I pruned off in water to see if they'll root, so maybe I'll end up with even more vines to plant out in a few weeks when our temps stabilize