Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2013 update May 21 including changes to plant list for this year

Well I'm a tad disabled right now, I sliced my left middle finger to the bone with a butcher knife..so excuse spelling and abbreviations.

I thought I would update my plant list a bit, here is what I ordered or have coming replacements for this year, and what I lost over the winter.

one plum and 3 pears had serious damage..but believe the plum and 2 pears are coming back from below the damage I pruned off, same with an apricot and a peach..some apple tree damage and here and there others..Lost a lot of TOPS of shrubs and trees from rabbit damage all over the property, cut down most and chipped up for mulch (dagnabbit rabbits)

My orders for this year included:

Standard Nova Spy Apple
Standard Reliance Peach
Standard Elberta Peach
Standard Hale Haven Peach
Standard Red Havn Peach
Standard Stella Cherry
Standard Windsor cherry (replacement)
Standard Harlayne apricot (replacement)
Standard Heartnut
CarmineJewel Cherry (replacement)
Viking Aronia (replacement coming in fall)
High Bush Cranberry (replaceement)
5 hardy Kiwi (1 male 4 females)

maximillion sunflower
better boy tomato
sweet 100 tomato
mixed sweet peppers
(some tomato and peppers bought from walmart as well as some cabbage and broccoli..)
Royal Burgundy Bush bean
Impr golden wax bean
cylindra beet
rainblow blend carrot
salt and pepper cuke
michilli cabbage
bon vivant Blend lettuce mix (plus leftover lettuce and spicey mix greens from 2012 that are growing nice and self seeded swiss chard and rutabaga)
all american parsnip
now or later pea and leftover seeds from some sugar snap pea
noble giant spinach
festivity OP corn saved from 2012
early prolific straightneck squash
black zucchini
buttercup  squash
sugar baby watermelon
honey rock canelope
money mix sunflower
cosmos seed from 2012
25 strawberries ..some june and some ever bearing
triple treat pumpkins
some other seeds left from last year also and some free seeds and bulbs that came with my orders

amaranth grain d'or
delicata squash
sugar pie pumpkin
malabar spinach
pole bean rattlesnake
summer squash black magic
collards morris heading
greens spicey asian mix
edible flower and herb mix
spicey italian green mix
kohlrabi early white vienna
spinach  bloomsdale long standing
wild rocket
brussel sprout long island imprv
pinetree lettuce mix
broccoli raab di rapa novantine
garlic chives

I have a lot of the seeds started indoors, and some planted out, and a lot yet to do. All the trees and shrubs but 2 have come and been planted for spring and one more coming in the fall.

Neighbor gave me a plum tree last fall and it sustained some damage but is coming back lovely now.

have tomato and pepper plants in the greenhouse and trying some honey rock melon and sugar baby watermelon in there too if there is room for everything (greenhouse is TINY)

Most everything seems to be growing well but I am having germination problems with the seeds of the sugar baby  pumpkin and the two kinds of summer squash..so not sure what will come of that. I did manage to get ONE pumpkin seed so far to sprout but none of the summer squash yet..which we rely on in the summer so I'm still hopeful..must have been some really crap seed.

Most of the trees look really good ..even the ones that we cut a lot off the tops with damge on them..are srouting below the pruning cuts..so there is a lot of hope here this year.

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013 blossoms and baby trees in my 2013 food forest gardens and hugelkultur bed

Well we have gone through 2 spring frosts since the blossoms have come out, first one was 24 degrees, and the last one was just 33 at my thermometer, hopefully little damage. Some vines were blackened but mostly everything seems ok but will have to wait for fruit to see what actually survived.

Each year I like to add a few new fruit trees to the food forest gardens. Starting in the front yard I have two hickory nut trees, a plum, a fruit cocktail tree that only one graft lived on so I'm waiting to see which fruit (peach, nectarine, plum or apricot) decides to grow on it. Here is a  picture of that tree and a few trees behind it blooming from whatever roots of dead above the graft trees didn't get pulled out, likely peaches.

to the left of tese trees is this pretty little crabaple tree, it is old in the woodpeckers have been attacking the above tree and this one..not sure why...but so far they have survived.
These are to the west (left) of my front porch, and the following trees are on the right of my front porch. The one that looks almost dead is a Halls Hardy Almond, and I belive it either sustained winter damage or damage from last year's drought, the Peach (Contender) to the right of it also has had some damage, including half of it having to be cut out this spring from rabbit damage, neither have blossoms this year. To the right of those we lost a pear tree and had severe rabbit damage on two other pear trees which we cut down to about 5" tall, but they are regrowing (won't show up in photos though).

We will wait until thenew growth does finish on the almond before we prune out the dead, as I'm not sure what will still grow at this time. All of these trees are under planted with shrubs, perennial and vines in ornamental beds in the front yard. There are a few other edibles in the front here too, such as grape vines and currants and lots of other beds not in these photos.

Going around the EAST end of our house is a deck. Planted up against the deck are 3 more pear trees, they are just about finished blossoming but you can see a few blooms still hanging on.
There is a rogue cherry tree hanging out here as well.  These trees are under planted with comfrey and perennials as well as some nearby strawberries, a greenhouse and a hugelkultur bed in this area. Here are some shots of the baby hugelkultur bed (the bed has logs in it) which I'm just getting some planting done on. There are whips of baby peach trees on each end of the bed, some greens coming up along the sides and top and a few other things planted, mostly seeds aren't up yet...waiting for seeds to come up before I mulch it.
Around behind the house on the North side are some cherry trees, I planted several but some died and are  being replaced and planted elsewhere. The first  photo is a rogue from the roots of a Richland, not really sure what will come of it, the other is one that survived of 2 Dwarf Bing cherries.

These cherry trees are growing in ornamental and herb beds with lots of shrubs, perennials, herbs and even some strawberries as a ground cover. North of this area is our drainfield garden (you can see that in other posts) and then the large apple tree by the shed. There are also grapevines and climbing roses that will grow over several arbors on the property, some here.
North of this shed, arbor and apple tree is a lattice enclosed area that has a swing and several beds including my asparagus beds, some annual beds and a lot of baby fruit and nut trees. The hazelnuts gave me some nuts for the first time last year..the chestnuts are still babies as are the fruit trees and the berry bushes and  especially the  blueberries, most so small you can hardly photograph them. There are also honeyberry and gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries, wild plum, currant and others growing in this area, I have baby kiwi vines I will be planting and there are grape vines which also began producing last year. Most are not yet visible this spring..just sticks.
Here are some photos of things you CAN see.
One of two dwarf North Star cherries, they won't get much larger than this and this will likely  be their first year to bear.

Nova Spy Apple tree baby I just planted this year.
Scarlet Canadian Cherry tree, the leaves turn red after the flowers fade and remain red all summer and fall.

These are Standard Peaches, one is a Hale Haven and one is an Elberta Peach.
Another baby tree this year (several planted each year). This one is a Stella Cherry, standard size and yet to arrive are another standard cherry ..Windsor that will go west of this one.

This is a baby Sweet 16 super dwarf apple, this is it's first year to bloom, behind it is a black raspberry bush and there are 2 baby sweet chestnut trees along the lattice fence.
Here are 2 of our 6 dwarf american hazelnuts, these bore for the first time last year, they are planted in a hedge along the north lattice, behind them are jerusalem artichokes (not up) and 2 mulberries, and west of them to the left out of  photo are 4 American Plums.

This is a dwaf baby Braeburn Apple, so far no blossoms on this little baby.

This is a semi dwarf baby Snow Apple, it has a few blossoms. I had to cut about 2' off the top of this one as the top died..but it seems to be recovering.

Enough for now, had a lot more photos to share but the computer is giving me fits so I'll post these one.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11 snow and grape jelly

Yesterday I noticed Ron had grape jelly on the shopping list..and we had an opened container of grape juice in the frig that my mom had given us. My mind clicked.."in 5 min I can have a batch of grape jelly made up" ..so I quickly poured 4 c of grape juice in my large pan and washed up some jars, stirred pectin in the heating juice and measured sugars..scalded jars in microwave (quick) and put lids on to boil..

In 5 min the jelly was in the jars..and I had some this afternoon on toast and it was really yummy.
We celebrated my mom's 93rd birthday today so I took her in a jar..which she loves..so that worked out well also.

Was raining hard when I left my mom's and when I got home ..this is what I was looking out the window at:
Many of our fruit trees were in
full bloom. This one here was in full bloom for several days and now is covered with snow..wah!

hard to see the blossoms under the coating of snow.

since I took this photo the snow has all melted..but the low is forcast for 30 tonight and 26 tomorrow night with a high of 39 tomorrow..so..

well we lost ALL of our fruit blossoms last  year to a 28 degree freeze..I'm hoping..praying..that we'll have fruit this year..we really need it. And I have a new canner !

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blossoms are opening on my fruit trees..woo hoo

Well there are blossoms opening on some of my baby fruit trees that have never born before, here are a few blossoms on a North Star cherry tree in my back yard. There aren't very many but there are tons of cherry trees in the yard so I'm hoping to get cherries on other ones too. This one has never born fruit so I'm excited to get some sweet cherries off of it. I had 2 of them but the other one, the top died on it.

The central on on this photo is a "fruit cocktail tree" that was originally grafted with 5 different fruits (peach, nectarine, plum and apricot )...all but one graft died on it, so it should be just one of the fruits, and it hasn't born yet, so we'll be interested to see which one it is..we have other peach, apricot and plum trees so a nectarine would be nice..but we'll see this year what makes it (if we don't get a hard freeze). It also has a bunch of woodpecker damage so we are hoping it doesn't die.
In this area there are other fruit trees, I'm not really sure what all of them are and none but the crabapple have born in this spot, so it will be interesting to see what comes on the other trees, there are several that have blossoms coming on them in this food forest bed.

In a future post I'll post more of the blossoms, but they are just beginning to open on the other fruit trees. Several of our apple and pear trees and cherry trees are loaded with blossoms, but they aren't fully opened.

Even some of our smallest baby trees have a few blossoms coming on them, including my very tiny Sweet 16 apple (it is a super dwarf)..has it's very first blossoms this year. In Michigan we are just now getting leaves on our trees and blossoms, and there is colder weather in the forcast so we are praying for a harvest this year.

I'm also pleased to have noticed mason bees are working among the fruit blossoms, love those little guys.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My first full week of real spring weather 70's, 80's, and 90's....

Well we went from snow to finally spring weather, and it was a lovely first nice week of spring. They forcasted rain but we didn't really get any. But we have had 70s, 80's, and 90's this week..with overnight lows in the 30's.

I have gotten back into walking for exercise, started out with 2 miles a day but did one 3 mile day with a huge hill.

Have gotten a lot of planting done (by the moon this year) and have a lot of seedlings on the window sills all over the house. (tomatos, peppers, squashes, melons, brussel sprouts, etc.)

Had quite a bit of rabbit damage so I've been doing some selective pruning of fruit trees and ornamentals that were damaged..some of the ornamentals were autumn olives and ginella maples that were 25' tall and had all the bark stripped off up about 2' from the ground. I cut those down and one of the autumn olives twisted and came back around and hit me in the back of the head, sending a 3" thorn into my scalp. No one was home to check it for about an hour or so, but it turned out to be only a 1/2 " cut, so all is good.

I also cut down the dead out of my climbing rose on the porch, it looks absolutely gorgeous this year, I'm very pleased with how it is doing.

The neighbors rented an industrial wood chipper for a day, and just before having to take it back they pulled it into my yard and helped take down part of the branch / brush pile in my front yard..couldn't do it all but I gained a nice pile of wood chips and the branches are more the ones I can handle with my little craftsman chipper that are left.

This afternoon I began hauling the woodchips to my garden, got a couple wheelborrow loads hauled but my back is fighting me after pulling all those big long 6" x 15' branches out of the pile so they could go thru the chipper, think I overdid it.

I was hoping for the thunderstorms they promised us for the last few days, but nope, nary a sprinkle..so now I have my irrigation system going on the rear garden (old drip system which I repaired on Monday)..glad to have it.

So far i have carrots, beets, parsnips, lettuce, kale, collards, asian cabbage, asian spicey greens, yellow and idaho potatoes, italian spicey greens, sugar snap peas, now and later peas, and a few other things planted..plus 4 of my fruit trees have come and gotten in their holes..still a lot to get in the ground. Had a problem with cats getting into two of my beds and digging so I'm hoping for a miracle there, and now they are covered with wire. ..to keep the cats and other wild critters out..seems to be working but i think my carrot and parsnip seed might have gotten buried..but there is a sign that some of the cabbage family plants are still going to come up.

got notice some of my other trees and shrubs are coming soon..already have some holes dug for them.

The rest of this weekend will be spent hauling more of the woodchips to the garden, pulling more weeds (mostly quackgrass that sneaks into my garden every winter)..and general clean up around the yard. No lawnmowing yet, but soon it appears.

no morels yet, asparagus is jsut beginning to peek thru the ground, flowers are ready to open on many of my fruit trees and there are leaves on the lilacs, aspens, willows and some other trees and shrubs..

I ordered myself a 3 wheel bicycle, 3 speeed, as my mountain bike is really hard for me to ride right now so i think I need the security of the 3 wheels..it came in a big box Friday and my son will assemble it tomorrow. I'm looking forward to building my leg strength back up with it (I am walking but I think I need this).

Hopefully will have some spring photos in my next post,,right now nothing interesting to photograph.