Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trellis for the Grapes

By Saturday evening we had the first two rows of trellis posts in the grape patch (only 3 rows to go).  It actually went rather quickly, since Jeff had already drilled the holes and sharpened (with a chain saw) the fence posts.  With the help of Zach's tractor - which is still parked at our house, and which is a bit larger than our tractor - Jeff sank the posts by using the hydraulic front bucket.  The ground is still soft enough from all the rain, but the grapes have grown a lot, and are touching the bottom of the tractor, so we need to get the rest of posts in this weekend.
Jeff checking the first couple of posts

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Don't like Deer Anymore

Yesterday was a rotten day for deer encounters:  first, Tina hit a deer on her way to work, killed the deer, smashed the driver side headlight, hood and fender (luckily it happened close to home, the car still drives fine, so all she had to do was switch cars with Jeff).
 But even worse was when we discovered that some deer had eaten most of the leaves off one of the small cherry trees, and nibbled on the young stems of two pear trees.  Bought strong smelling soap, cut them in half and used old panty hose to hang one into each tree.

Found several intriguing recipes for home-made deer repellent for gardeners at a website called deer-departed  but hoping the soap will do the trick.

Cherry tree after deer damage!

The second cherry tree - with a bar of soap to fend off potential deer!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Japanese Dogwood?

We think this tree is a Japanese Dogwood - not 100% sure - but is is beautiful when it blooms.  Right now the air is heavy with the scents from honeysuckle and locust tree blossoms, and everything is so lush and green from all the rain we had.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Had a Break from the Rain and Planted Some More...

After spending Saturday in Pittsburgh for Tina's parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary, we had just part of Sunday for planting more garden.  At least we managed to finally get all the tomato plants into the ground - the poor plants looked rather peaky from too much water and probably not enough soil and nutrients any more.  We'll see if they make it - if not we'll have to go an buy a flat or two of plants at the greenhouse.

Also planted two rows of green beans (Tema), half a row of sweet potato plants and half a row of baby lima beans.  Then we got another rain shower - have to wait for another day to get the squash and cucumbers into the ground... I really think this is the latest we ever got tomatoes and beans into the ground, ever.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Planting in the Drizzle

Took advantage of this evening's drizzling rain (which was a heck of a lot better than the downpours we have been having), to at least plant the flat of green peppers we had started.  Got all those into one row, plus the couple of vegetable plants we had bought over the weekend.  Sammy hoed half of row of onions while Tina planted - then it started pouring again.  (Rain, rain, go away....)  But, all this rain does wonders for the flowers, poppies are blooming and irises are just about to pop open:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Seed Shopping

Went to the Newville Hardware Store and the Newville Produce Farm to get more seeds - hoping for the rain to stop so we can start planting more vegetables.
  • 1/2 lb of Henderson's Bush Baby Lima Beans
  • 1 lb of Tema Green Beans (53 days) 
  • Eureka Pickling Cucumbers (57 days) 
  • Bush Pickle Cucumbers (45 days) 
  • Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans (always wanted to try those)
  • Garden Spineless Zucchini (50 days)
  • Kohlrabi seeds and plants
  • Rutabaga seeds
  • a few white cabbage plants
  • sweet potato vines
  • a few cauliflower plants
  • St. John's Wort plant
  • Rosemary plant
  • half a flat of white impatients for the shady flower beds
Stopped by a yard sale on the way and bought 3 forsythia plants, several daisy plants and a few while irises.

Also spent Saturday evening "finding" the shady flower bed that edges the lawn area (where hopefully we'll have a stone wall someday). Got this area ready for mulching as soon as the rain stops. With this soggy weather, gardening is limited to areas that can be reached from a grass surface - such as flower beds... can't wait for the sun to start drying things up.

And finally planted the two Asian Pear trees which Jens had gotten Tina for Mother's Day!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mulched Blueberries

With the help of the tractor, a wagon and the four-wheeler, we managed to spread a thick layer of mulch on the entire blueberry patch this evening while it was not raining.  Also trimmed off all the blueberry blossoms, to allow the plants to spent energy on growing roots for another year - after all, the life expectancy of blueberry bushes is about 50 years, so it is worthwhile giving the young plants an extra year of just growth for a good start.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

More Elderberries

Spent time in the small elderberry patch today, which is situated in an area of our property which tends to "flood" when we have excessive rain (which happened quite a lot this Spring).  There were an amazing number of "baby elderberries" (or suckers) on these one year old plants, which we promptly dug out to start a second patch of berries.  The new patch is on the bank between our two ponds, one row follows the path on top of the bank, the second row was started along the edge of the "wetlands" which border the lower, smaller pond.  We managed to get 24 new bushes started this way, plus we took root and stem cuttings, which we planted in small flower pots - if they grow, we should have another 2 dozen bushes to plant later this year.  (our Elderberry wine is the best! so here is hoping for lots of berries)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Getting Corn Planted and Berries Weeded

Jeff planted our corn this weekend - on what used to be a pasture, but recently plowed under, field - right above the "pea patch".  We planted two varieties this year, 5 lbs of Silver King and 2 lbs of Sugar Baby.

Silver King is a sweet white corn, about 82 days to maturity, ears should be about 8" long.
Sugar Baby is a sweet bi-color, early maturing corn - about 65 days to maturity.  This is a new one for us, we are just experimenting...whereas the Silver King has been great for us in the past.

Also spent every evening this week cultivating the Apache blackberries by hoeing around the plant, then using the small rototiller between the plants and finally the big rototiller along each side for the entire length.  It was worth it.  As soon as the Triple Crown berries are a little taller, we'll do the same for those.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rainy May Day Makes Garden Thrive

A soft misty rain was falling most of the day, making the newly weeded flower beds and garden patches look great.  Potatoes are up, cherry trees are blooming and the newly planted chambourcin grapes definitely had bud-break:

Baby cherry tree in bloom

The blackberries are really starting to grow as well:
Apache berry planted last year

Recently planted Triple Crown berry

Flower beds are thriving in this weather, can't wait to get some annuals into the mix for some more color: