A Fruitful Spring

Pears

After last year’s disappointing blossom freeze from the Mother’s Day snow storm, we are so excited to see fruit popping up on our trees and vines! After the hard pruning over the  winter to fix a bad cut job, I was happy to see a few pears on the pear tree. I wasn’t expecting a lot this year but looking forward to a better next year.

Apples

 

There are quite a few apples on two of the three apple trees. The deer like to frequent this area and we don’t have our fence back up yet. I hope they save us some fruit, at least at the top of the tree.

Walnut

I found a tree label for a Black Walnut tree and I think I found it! I had a specialist look at this tree and he felt it probably wouldn’t bear nuts based on the lack of care. I was so happy to see pods forming! They started dropping off with the heat, but I’m crossing my fingers that we get a few nuts this year just to see what they are like.

Grapes

And of course the grape vine is yielding  grapes. The first thing that comes to my mind is how am I going to keep these from the birds?! I’m going to have to investigate this further. I’ve tried netting on my blueberries in the past and found birds get stuck in them. Maybe there is a better netting out there somewhere.

With each success, I find there is always a question behind it that requires a little more work………the fun of creating a farm!

Our First Harvest Sales

Garden 6-19-16

This is a monumental moment! We have made our first sales! The only thing we have to sell is radishes and spinach but it’s still official! Radish bunchesComments so far is how spicy the radishes are. We have Red Cherry Belles that apparently heated up. Luckily we also have some White Hailstone Radishes that are a little milder for those who like radishes but aren’t willing to buy the hot ones. Spinach bagsWe are quickly selling out of spinach because the weather is heating up and spinach does not like the heat. It’s already starting to go to seed.
While there is disappointment that we don’t have a variety yet, the collards, lettuce and summer squash are not too far away from harvesting!

Not everything goes as planned.

coop_archesI knew the shade cover / protection on the run would not support snow and was already planning a different cover for the winter months but what I had not figured in for spring and summer was the hail.  How did I forget the hail?  The first hailstorm came through and filled the shade cloth, weighing it down like fish in a net. Obviously some extra support was in order.

3 hours and some common materials and we now have an arched frame to support the shade netting. Still need to see how it does when the hail is coming down but it should allow all but the worst hail to roll off rather than “pooling” and weighing it down.  Not sure if they will support a “solid” sheathing for the winter yet but we shall see how it handles the hail first and then decide.

With the cover now taken care of we can focus on getting the last bit of stitching done on the sides.

First Harvest…Radishes

Radishes

Finally! The first harvest is here! Organic, non-GMO, Heirloom Cherry Belle radishes ready to sell.

Radishes are the fastest growing vegetable in the spring taking about 3 weeks to mature. I also planted Heirloom White Hailstone radishes which are also organic and non-GMO. They take a little longer to mature but should be close behind.

Radishes are good companion plants to carrots so I decided to try it this year. Radishes deter pests that would normally eat carrots and they help loosen up the soil, so letting the radishes mature while the carrot seedlings start coming up gives them an advantage. It’s necessary to harvest the radishes quickly to give them room to take over the space.

carrot radish

Before you judge the weeds in this picture, it’s important to let both radish and carrot seedlings get big enough to be sure you’re pulling up weeds rather than radishes and grass rather than carrots. You can see how much they look alike. Now it’s time to finish weeding and maybe put a little mulch around them.

The carrots planted are Heirloom Tendersweet and Nantes which are organic and non-GMO. They will be ready in about another month.

 

Snakes in the Garden

Bull Snake

Although many people fear snakes, they can be your best friend in the garden. They eat lots bugs and rodents that can take a toll on your vegetables. This 4 foot bull snake found himself at home in the vegetable plot close to the compost pile. We’ve seen many garter snakes around the property. There are a pair living inside the greenhouse. They’ve done a great job at keeping the cricket population down. I assume they are also nesting there but have yet to see babies in the greenhouse. Last year we cleaned up a bunch of garbage under some trees and a number of babies jetted off to find another home. I consider that a healthy environment!

Garter Snake