Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Blossoms

Magnolia Blossoms
Blackberry Leaf  Emerges

Pear Blossoms
Blueberry Blossoms

"Jam" Garden Ready for the Season

3 rows of elderberries
Tina's "Jam" garden got a total overhaul today.  It started with thinning out the Elderberry bushes, which are planted in three rows toward the road end of this garden patch.  Next, all the old straw and leaves were raked off the strawberry rows, which then got weeded and edged, before a new layer of straw was put around the plants.  The raspberries were hoed, and tied up where needed, and then got a layer of "mulch hay".   The gooseberry and currant bushes got the same treatment.  Finally, the three rows of blueberry bushes got a thorough hoeing, to limit weed growth early.  Can't wait to make jam!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

First Plants for 2014 Vegetable Garden

We finally got to set the early plants out this weekend.  Yeah!  During the week, Jeff laid 4 rows of plastic, and this morning we started bright and early planting cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower plants :

  • 2 flats of broccoli
  • 2 flats of cabbage 
  • 3 flats of cauliflower 

(one flat = 48 plants)  

We also got onion plants, which Jens had ordered for us, but we just ran out of time and only got about 50 planted so far.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Vineyard Expansion 2014

Today we planted another 300 grapevines - it only took four of us one day this year.  I guess we are getting better at it.  

We added more Vidal Blanc vines, but most importantly we planted a new variety - "Chardonel".    We are nearing the end of the upper field with this new "batch", as we only have two or three empty rows left, and those rows are shorter than the others.  We are very excited for this new grape variety... it will be a challenge to wait at least two more years before we can have a small sample harvest.

Getting the grapes was a bit of a challenge this year - due to an unforeseen circumstance:  The Lufthansa pilot strike of 2014.  This story gets a bit complicated, but it started with a trip to Germany for Anja, Duff, Leif and Lars.  Their flight was to and from Boston.  (which meant that Tina and Sam took Lars to Boston for the beginning of this trip two weeks ago - hence so few blog posts).  Zach was able to arrange his work schedule in such a way that he would be in New England and be able to pick Lars up in Boston for his way back - and then also pick up the grapes, as those were on his way also.

Unfortunately, Lars and everyone else, was not able to fly back as planned - due to the pilot strike.  They got on another flight, but this one was much later than planned, and not a direct flight either.    So Zach could not pick up Lars, but he got the grapes and dropped them off at his grandparent's house in Pittsburgh.  Meanwhile, Lars's new flight returned via Dulles airport and Tina was able to pick him up in D.C. late Friday night.  Then she had to drive to Pittsburgh on Saturday to get the grapes, so we could plant them today. But it was a perfect day for planting, and everything turned out well in the end!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Seedlings Update

Looks like our start-up seeds are thriving...actually thinking that we need to re-pot some of them into larger containers soon.  The frost date is still over a month away after all, and we want these plants to be strong and sturdy.

Tomatoes and Marigolds