Category Archives: orchard

So many changes

We decided to take down the raised beds. We were both frustrated by the ongoing battle against the Trees of Heaven that kept growing up through everything. Chuck had put serious effort into getting the roots out of 2 or 3 of the beds last year. And it helped. But, it wasn’t a cure. And the asparagus couldn’t win.

So, Chuck sold the cinder blocks and we’re letting the grass grow in. Of course, this has been THE best year for the asparagus.

He put 2 100-gallon watering troughs in the part of the hazelnut ring where the bushes don’t grow, filled them with compost and planted salad in one and tomatoes in the other. The tomato varieties are ‘Cherokee Purple’, ‘Rutgers’ and ‘Golden (something)’. The yellow ones are cherry sized and ‘Rutgers’ is supposed to be sandwich sized.

I got another watering trough and transplanted the asparagus. Wrong time of year. I know. But, the cinder blocks were gone and the roots were exposed all around the edges. And they aren’t dead. There were even 4 edible stalks last week. So, I remain hopeful.

I’m late to post. So, the salad is already done and there is Candy Roaster winter squash in that trough, now.

My first peach is putting out fruit prolifically this year. But the Damson plum next to it is dying and we have no clue why.

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Filed under Asparagus, Peach, planting, Plum, Squash, Tomatoes

My little peach!

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Planning to get this is the ground soon. I’m very pleased with myself.

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Filed under orchard, Peach, planting

My little peach

Last summer we had some delicious peaches.  I stuck 14 pits in one of the potato dirt bags after reading around on the internet to see what would actually work.  They need opportunity to freeze.

Two sprouted and, because I’m not always the sharpest tack in the box, I killed one.  I didn’t recognize its tiny leaves and thought it was a weed.  The sacrifice of the one saved the life of the other, however.  And it has been moved to a pot my cat isn’t tempted to sleep on.

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I realize that it looks tiny in that huge pot, but I don’t expect to move it for a few years.

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Filed under Fruit and berries, orchard, Peach

Planting – April, 2015

I started Beauregard sweet potatoes a couple of months ago and have put 3 slips in my raised bed this morning.  I put 3 eyes of a Yukon Gold Irish potato in the other end.  I stuck the rest of the eyes in empty-ish places along the iris/blueberry fence row.

I had already planted nasturtium seeds in the holes in the cinder blocks along one long and one short side..

5 Arkansas Little Leaf climbing cucumbers have  gone in the center holes on the other long side.  6 bush cucumbers have gone in the other holes, 3 at each end.  One of the Arkansas Little Leafs didn’t sprout.  But the Mexican Sour Gherkins are volunteering in their holes.  I have 4 bamboo poles in holes and I have a bottom row of string ready for the cukes to begin climbing.

DSC05614I have pulled my carrots so I can plant 2 rows of the Glass Corn popcorn seeds I managed to produce last year.  I’ve put them in the middle of that bed.  The garlic needs to grow another month or so, so I’m leaving it alone.  I”ll put the jalapenos in there when they are bigger.  There are 4 spindly plants in little pots, right now.

Chuck’s carrots are bigger and more consistent, so I’ll make a huge dessert this afternoon with my multicolored ones.  I hope they keep the colors when they cook.  Purple okra doesn’t.

DSC05619 DSC05620The sunchokes are coming up like crazy, so the bees should have a nice treat this Fall.

Roses and kiwis are putting out new growth.

Dill seeds are sprouting in the herb bed.

Columbines are blooming in the front.

We have bitty plums forming and one peach.

Lilacs will not be blooming this year.  Their buds froze.

Iris buds are popping up,  And one has even opened.

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Filed under Irises, Kiwis, Peach, planting, Plum, Root Vegetables, sunchokes, Sweet potatoes, White potatoes

Tastiness abounding

We have tomatoes galore.  I have canned 2 pints of Romas and have been eating Bulgarians on sandwiches.  I have used the Russian Black Tulas in salads.  And we have been eating the cherry tomatoes jut as snacks.

I love summer.

We planted less okra this year, so we are only eating it every 3 or 4 days.  I think this means we are less likely to get foundered on them.

The sweet potatoes are healthy with one potato trying to peek out of the dirt.

The turmeric is healthy.

A friend had a piece of ginger starting to grow a root.  I traded it for a piece of ginger that I bought withOUT a root growing and it put out green in about a week.

We have apples ripening.  The lovely red is visible from inside the house.

I think I got the second planting of Yukon Golds in the ground too late.  The first planting froze and the second has hardly any green.

There are nuts on 3 or 4 of the hazelnut bushes.  The rest appear to be males.  Dammit.

The berries are done.  It was a great year for them and I am sated.

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Filed under Apples, Ginger and Turmeric, hazelnuts, Okra, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, White potatoes

Checking on the fruit

We had a couple of nasty ice storms, this winter, and some nights of single digits, too.  So, we lost  some winter crops in the raised beds and a Bradford pear tree at the end of the driveway.  I don’t regret the loss of the fruitless pear.  I know they grow fast and are a boon to contractors, but I think I fruit tree that won’t bear is a waste of space.   Because we lost that Bradford, I’m hoping the real pear I planted in that tree line will have a better chance this year.

It had a tall spike of a trunk.  I cut it out a couple of days ago so that it would aim its growth outward, where I can actually reach any fruit that survives the deer.  I dipped it in some rooting hormone and then in a pot of good, composty dirt.  I don’t really expect to get a tree from it, but it didn’t cost me anything to try.

The Santa Rosa plum, to the right of the front door is covered in blossoms.  The elephant heart plum by the driveway, isn’t as full, but still looks promising.  The peach has blossoms, too.  The apples have no buds, yet.  The sour cherry had buds all over, but nothing has actually opened.

The kiwis are still dormant and the passionfruit is, too.  But, there are buds all over all the blueberries.

The crabapple tree is covered in young leaves, not fully emerged, and I don’t see any flower buds.  That tree has never bloomed.  How does a crabapple never bloom?  I’ve never seen such a thing in my life.  And I got it to pollinate an apple tree that has since died and been replaced by two others, so I really find the lack of blossoms ridiculous.

Spring is creeping in and I am loving it.

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Filed under Apples, Blueberries, Cherry, Fruit and berries, hazelnuts, Kiwis, orchard, Passionfruit, Peach, Pear, Timing

Tending the orchard

Actually, we mostly haven’t.   And I have been reminded via a post by Chris Condello, that fruit trees don’t grow in vacuums and need tending.

So, I did  a search, found a useful article that appears to be very straightforward and am planting it here so I can retrieve it easily.

It is Training and Pruning Fruit Trees by the NC State Agricultural Extension Service.  Since we are in North Carolina, it makes sense that they would have information particularly useful to us.

We have Mark Shepard‘s Restoration Agriculture, read by Chuck but not by me, yet.  Apparently, peaches and plums don’t get the same treatment as pears and apples.  Time to read.

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Blueberries are looking good.

This is what one of the Arkansas Black apple trees looks like, now.  If I put up a photo of the other one, you couldn’t be sure it wasn’t the same tree so I’m not going to.

These are the more prolific blueberries.  Looks we’re finally getting fruit after 4 years.  I just found teh list I had made of the blueberry varieties when I put them in in 2009.  Coming up the fence from the shed, they are Bright Eyes (a gift from Ann), Delight, Misty, Climax, Misty, Bright Blue and Misty.

(Edit: Chuck reminded me that Bright Blue was wiped out by the mulch guy and replaced with another Misty.  Misty has very small berries.  I should have recognized it.)

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And because who ever thought of potatoes blooming, here’s a picture.

Yukon Gold blossoms

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Filed under Apples, Blueberries, Fruit and berries, Harvest, orchard, Vegetables, White potatoes

Update May 27th

Garden status with pictures.  This one is going to be kinda long.  Showing fruit trees too.

Serious peas.  We tend to just graze on them right out of the pod like candy.

Squash and Eggplant were overpowering the Okra, so I have attempted to transplant them to the bed where the cabbage was.

Moved seven of them.  Hoping they will bounce back with a little watering.  Tomatoes and peppers in there too.  Harvested what was left of the cabbage to make room for the Okra.

Arugula and Fava beans are doing great.  Been eating arugula for a while now.

Cantaloupe is in a different location, but is coming along.  Tomatoes are still behind where I expected them to be based on the warm Spring.  They are healthy and when they do come in we are going to have way more than we can eat.

We expected our fruit trees to do better this year, especially with the new bee hives.  Most of them bloomed out very early and then the April freezes came.  We covered what we could, but I think the cold nipped them at a vulnerable time.  We had peaches starting, but they disappeared except for one sick looking one.  We have very few cherries and only a couple of damson plums on one of the three plum trees.

The orange tree, however, is looking pretty good.

Herbs in pots on the deck are doing fine.

Also picked chard and brussels sprouts today.

And yes the bees look great today, especially Isabella.  Just looked in on them.  You would never guess that hive swarmed a week ago based on the number of bees.

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Filed under Arugula, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Chard, Cherry, Eggplant, Fruit and berries, Herbs, Legumes, Melons, Okra, orchard, Peach, Pear, Peppers, Squash, Tomatoes, Vegetables

Kale…not bees..okay, some bees

Sometimes you just have to let go. I knew the day was coming that I would need to move on from kale and make room for the summer stuff. The greens have been very successful and I was prideful. They went to flower, so I left them a bit longer to see if the bees…yes, there they are again…would like to work them a bit. Today was harvest day and none to soon. The Red Russian was starting to get a bit limp. Reminds me of Randy & Meg’s bumper sticker, “Eat More Kale”. Well we are.

This is what the bed looked like after the harvest. I have planted some summer squash and okra that I started in flats. Another lesson learned. Use better starting mixture in the flats. Got as many weeds as edible stuff. Going to start more seeds in the beds to make up for it.

Fava beans and peas are doing fine.

Was hoping to catch some of Kitty’s girls on the cherry tree, but…

they were too busy at the old watering hole.

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Filed under Bees, Kale, Legumes, Okra, orchard, planting, Squash, Vegetables