Fall planting: the last of the flowers, plus other progress

Along with the three types of garlic that came in, my daughters’ flower bulbs arrived.

The tulip collection included 10 bulbs each of Orca, Pinksize and Brownie, and 8 bulbs each of Black Hero, Pamplona and Vanilla Coup. There was also 6 bulbs of Gardenia Daffodil.

So while I was having fun working in the soft soil, planting garlic, the girls did the hard work of digging holes for bulbs in hard soil, and between roots!

They did not take pictures of the process, unfortunately.

The tulips were planted not far from where they’d planted the Bulls Eye tulips that came in earlier. This area was selected for its combination of sunlight and drainage, and because they’re not supposed to be watered, and this is not an area where they might accidentally get watered along with something else.

The tulips need to be planted up to 12 inches deep, if we want them coming back year after year, but that depth includes the depth of any mulch. So they planted the 50+ bulbs at 6 inches, adding a 6 inch leaf mulch. Leaves, however, crumble and settle quite a bit, plus the wind was threatening to blow it way, so they also wet down some peat, which we still have lots of, and added that to the top.

The Gardenia Daffodil had different requirements, so it was planted with the Eye of the Tiger irises planted along one side of the old kitchen garden.

When we are next able to, we’re thinking of picking up a couple of bags of soil to scatter on top of the mulch. The soil under the mulch in the old kitchen garden is much improved from before, but the straw itself, and even the grass clippings, aren’t breaking down very quickly, making it not at all conducive to planting in it. It’s all just too stringy! πŸ˜€ And now there’s the excess flax straw from inside the cat shelter. Adding some soil and peat, as well as moisture, for the microbes and worms to do their stuff should help it break down faster.

We also got a couple other things off the to-do list today.

Now that the soil around the support post has had a few days to settle (and get stomped down some more, every now and then), our new bird feeder is now hung up. Hopefully, this less decorative design will not get flung around in the wind as much as the church and barn shaped ones were, and with the support now buried in the ground like a fence post, we don’t have to worry about it being knocked over any more!

I also had a chance to work on the grapes, while the girls were still digging holes for tulips.

The first thing that needed to be done was prune them. I hope I did it right. From what I’ve read, they should be pruned above the second bud from the ground, as grapes will be produced on first year vines. The problem was, I couldn’t see any buds at all! So I tried to err on the side of caution.

I had to move the trellis supports so I could get behind to harvest the grapes. Today, I finally set them into the ground in their new locations, so we can squeeze behind them again, if necessary. On the right is a long piece of rebar, but the white support on the left is actually two plastic tubes on a shorter piece of rebar. The bar wasn’t long enough to hold the trellis wire, but it is long enough to support the plastic tube. I had to lift off the piece that was woven into the wire mesh, then reset the position of the other two pieces.

When I set this up as a makeshift trellis, I was able to bang the rebar into the ground with a piece of broken brick I’d found while cleaning up around the storage house. I tried that again, but it broke. So I dug around in the sun room, among the things we’d found in there while cleaning it up. There was an old hammer with a ball peen on one side, and a heavy flat head on the other. Much heavier than a regular hammer. For the long piece of rebar, I had to stand on the stairs to reach the top and start hammering it in.

The head fell off the hammer.

It turned out the handle was rotted out at the head!

Thankfully, I still had the new handle I’d found while cleaning up the old basement. I’d intended it for something else, but it didn’t fit right, so I’d left it for later.

Now, I’m glad it didn’t fit the other thing I’d meant it for!

Mind you, it didn’t fit the head of this hammer, either, but I was able to shave the corners of the top, and got it on. I was able to finish the job!

After hammering the rebar supports into the ground and getting the plastic tube in the wire mesh back in place, I was able to use foam covered garden wires a darling friend found for me, to tie the pruned vines to the mesh. Then I used one of the bamboo poles that we’d used in the squash beds as a support for the top. With the grapes growing so well this past summer, I was able to see the weight of the vines were pulling the wire mesh downwards, so this should add some extra support.

Now, all they need is for some mulch to be added to protect them from the winter’s cold. From what I’ve found out about growing grapes in our zone is that they should be just fine with snow as insulation; the vine would be laid down on the ground to be covered. Planted against the storage house like this, that doesn’t really work out, so mulch it is!

We now have all the flower bulbs we ordered planted – 200 grape hyacinth, 100 snow crocuses, irises, gladiolas, and almost 70 tulips – plus the garlic.

That’s it for fall planting this year.

Now, we need to assess how our vegetable gardening went, and decide what we want to plant next year! πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

One thought on “Fall planting: the last of the flowers, plus other progress

  1. Pingback: First year gardens: what worked, what didn’t | The Re-Farmer

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