Sunday, April 13, 2014

Planting trees and seeds

Planted the last of the Soil Conservation District trees yesterday – four caragana and six American filberts. They're small, about 18 inches tall, and bare root. They were sold in groups of five, and those nice folks threw in a couple of extras (I might have grumbled about that as I dug holes). The caraganas – Siberian pea shrubs – went in around the chicken yard and in a group of four to the south of the building as a wind break and a road-noise buffer. Caraganas are thorny 10-foot-tall shrubs that produce pea-like pods that chickens and people can eat, but deer don't especially like (that's what the catalog said, anyway). We planted three last year (two survived) along the stone wall below the school. Last year's crab apple is doing fine, despite being pruned by the long-necked alpaca. I'm hoping the old wisteria survived the sheep. Looks like the raspberries didn't.

C. continues to plant stuff in the garden and dig new beds. I need to get some more terraces built. If I get gabions (wire cages for rocks) in place, she'll fill them with rocks as she digs. If I don't, she'll haul the rocks out of the garden, and use boards or wine bottles for terrace walls. Gardening waits not for procrastinators.

She's planted sunchokes (we need more for seed!), most of the 13 pounds of seed potatoes, peas, greens (we're trying a new one, Good King Henry, this year), some cabbage starts, lots of garlic... and probably more. Varieties of spuds: four pounds Viking red and Kennebec; two pounds Yukon gold, Burbank russet and Dakota pearl. We'd like to grow enough vegetables for us and all the animals for a whole year, and that's a lot. Two flats of tomato seedlings are a couple of inches tall under lights in the dining room. Some 4-inch-tall peppers are in the greenhouse.

We've moved the big animals out of the pasture next to the garden, and over toward the barn and the thickets. The sheep are a bit pissed about it. They like to see what we are up to, and lobby for grain and weeds and thinnings. They can still do that, but at a distance. They did a good job of chomping the knapweed and quack grass and spreading marbles of manure across it, and now it'll be more garden and a small orchard.

Richard and Em are coming up today with the Ancestral Rototiller to help expand the garden.

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