Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Herb Garden Replenished

After re-arranging the paths of the herb garden to line up with the greenhouse, we had to do some replanting...and of course the annual herbs had to be added in as well.  Some of the new plants include:

  • Curly and flat (Italian) Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Summer Savory
  • Cumin
  • Chamomile
  • Basil ... lots of Basil


 The herbs that overwintered are doing great and we are just about to do a "first cutting" of tarragon, Italian oregano and Greek oregano.  Our chives are blooming beautifully right now, as is the thyme.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Assessing Winter Damage

The 2014/15 winter was harsh - maybe not record breaking, but awfully cold.  The good news is that we had a lot of snow, which helped to insulate the roots of plants.  The other good news is that we never experienced a period of warming temperatures in early spring, only to dip into deep cold again.

All in all, we could have done worse.  It seems that our grapevines sustained no winter injury at all - mainly due to the fact that we only planted hybrid varieties, which we selected for cold hardiness appropriate for our growing zone.

We did loose a few blueberry bushes, but those had been weaker plants going into the winter.  Also one of our Asian Pear trees did not make it.

However, our blackberries did get hit by winter damage: probably between 15 - 20% of the fruiting canes are damaged.  Luckily this does not mean that the plant itself is dead, there will just be less berries.  (we had expanded our blackberry patch, so we probably come out even at harvest time compared to last year)

Some of our herbs did not survive the cold winter either - not surprisingly, the rosemary did not make it, but neither did the marjoram.  All other perennial herbs are growing fine and the dill self-seeded again.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Planting More Grapes

We planted nearly 2 acres of grapes today, the majority - 550 - at Zach and
Rachel's farm just down the road, and then just 200 at the Long Shot Farm.  We had a better system  than in past years, and it went rather quickly.  Jeff made deep rows with a large single plow blade.  (We had already measured and placed posts to mark the rows on both ends).

Jeff used his deep sea fishing rod, which is over 12 ft long,  and duct-taped it to the tractor, so it stuck out 10 feet (the distance between the grape rows).  He had a string with a sinker at the end of the pole, which basically was centered above the previous row while he made the next furrow, so the spacing between rows remained a constant 10 ft.

We then used marking spray paint, and a "measuring stick", to mark each spot where a grape had to be planted.  Lars, Jens and Zach alternated with marking spots, digging out the hole within the row a bit deeper, and planting.   Rachel and Tina helped with planting, and trimming roots, and Toben and Fiona dropped trimmed grape plants by the marked spots.

After the grapes were planted, Jeff used his "home-made" hiller - which consists of 2 disc blades mounted on a frame in the exact distance needed to disc/hill the grape rows shut, while straddling the grape plants.