Thursday, July 3, 2014

Early Summer Update

Beautiful Raspberries

Holy cow, where does the time pass! I was just browsing the blog and realized that there were no updates since March 17th. That is far too long for my liking! With the season of camping, fishing, harvesting and preserving upon us, it was time to post something. If I didn't get back to this, the snow would be flying!
Baby apple trees
Black Locust seedlings

Things have been moving along well with the plantings that occurred on my property over the past two seasons. There have been some surprises so far this year including the ease in which I was able to sprout and grow seeds from grocery store apples. Talk about a game changer when it comes to propagating many trees on the cheap. I am out of space for them to find a home in the soil, and get out of pots, so I am going to offer these guys up for anyone who wishes to help my experiment with home grown apple trees. I have about two dozen, so if you are at all interested, let me know! I also have several Black locust, Russian olive, Sea berry and Gogi berries that were started from seed, with a variety of results.
Fuzzy bums
Another surprises has been the appearance of peaches on the tree I planted last spring. Hoping that I placed the young bare root tree in a good micro climate, south facing yard, close to the driveway to help warm the air around it, it would put some good roots down. To our delight, it has fruit on it! About ten little "fuzzy bums" have been slowly growing and we are waiting patiently to feast on them. One of the apple trees I placed in last year also has two apples growing on its limbs. Great surprise, very exciting ones for sure.
June bearing goodness

Wild Blackcap Raspberries
Our strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries are all producing well, while not giving us enough for preserving, plenty of fruit for after dinner snacking. The large, plump, June bearing strawberries are from the ASHberry Farms lineage, so you know they are very good producers and have fantastic fruit.
Zucchini, clover, buckwheat, Heartnut

Heartnut tree
In the back yard, the new installation went smoothly. It started with a fence that was mostly build from poles and drift wood we harvested, with the addition of some 1x4, to keep my pal Marshall out. I wouldn't want him running over my baby trees. I have four beds, all with trees as the main plantings , and have placed support species around them. Three apples, a multi-graft plum, walnut, pecan and heart nut trees round out the list of the over story. All the trees are quite small and will take sometime to produce, but we are doing this for the future, not for instant gratification. With these trees I also have squashes, peas, radishes, herbs, dandelion, plantain, buckwheat, black locust, sunflower, gogi berry, tomato, clovers, comfrey and alder. All of these plantings have multi functions, such as bee forage, shade, bio-mass producer, nitrogen fixers, nutrient accumulators, food, and beauty. Stacking functions is so important in a healthy eco-system. We even used some creative driftwood placement for a predator safe bird feeder. Right now it has a hummingbird feeder, and in the winter we will change to a seed feeder. Bringing in nitrogen and pest control, plus the volunteers that come with the seed spread.
Zucchini and Buckwheat

Dinosaur head bird feeder
I put in my first rain barrel this spring. I have been wanting to buy one for years, several in fact. Upon pricing them, I decided that building one would be much more affordable, and cool as well. A quick chat with a pal at a plumbing wholesaler, I had the parts I needed for $20, and a 20 gallon trash can from Canadian Tire on sale for $10. I wished the can was a little bigger, and my next one will be at least 30 gallon, but it is a start, and has been wonderful for watering things on the deck. I have ideas for a small fish pond, fed by the over flow. I just didn't get it together this year. Had the tank set up, but it grew bugs. I deleted it for now, and will revisit in the spring again.
Home built rain barrel
I continue to "chop and drop" every chance I get. Comfrey is everywhere in my yard, it is such a great bio-mass producer, that accumulates nutrient from the sub-soil and makes bees very happy. It is also a food source for us and livestock(with caution) I love this plant. I would encourage all to have a few around. It makes an especially good "chop and drop" plant, breaking down quickly and creating a wonderful mulch. I am also "chop and dropping" dandelion, vetch, horsetail, and creeping buttercup. Yes I have to weed, but it does not concern me to the degree that I did in the past, knowing that these plants are giving me signs about how to make my gardens better, and are doing it for me.
Bee foraging in Comfrey flowers

Four days after "chop and drop" Comfrey
One more exciting bit of info. I have signed up for another Permaculture Design Certificate course starting soon. It is the initial fundraising venture for a Permaculture Farm in West Virginia. PermaEthos is the over seeing company, and I am one of the 1000 founding members in this course. It will be filmed in a new way, on the ground, not in a class room, as the farm is being established. I am looking forward to this and the possibilities it holds. I am also pondering the idea of a market garden on some leased land. I think that I have a spot for this. I am hoping to raise some laying hens, meat chickens, and various vegetables. Hopefully there will be interest in this type of thing, Permaculture food is the best type, bar none!
Second year Blueberry

Abundance of Kale
Thanks for reading this post. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me anytime.

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