Our 2023 garden and food forest: order is in!

This morning I headed into town to refill our big water jugs and pick up a few things at the grocery store. By the time I headed back, our post office was open. I’d checked the tracking last night and knew our Veseys order would be in today, but when I got there, she still hadn’t had a chance to finish processing all the parcels that came in. She found them for me, though – among several other boxes from Veseys that I could see! They are a popular company, with good reason.

For the potatoes, we got a total of 4 pounds each of Red Thumb fingerling and Purple Peruvian fingerling. We really liked the Purple Peruvian when we grew them a couple of years ago, and I’m hoping we’ll have enough to save seed potatoes for next year.

There is also a 3 pound back of Irish Cobbler.

Two of the above images are from the Veseys website. The Purple Peruvian are some of our own harvest.

I can see that the potatoes have already started to sprout. We’ll need to lay those out for air circulation as much as for chitting. I’ll have to go through the old feed bags we have and see how many are left, since we’ve stopped buying deer feed and bird seed. We have too many slugs and not enough garter snakes or toads, to try growing them in the ground again.

Then there was the box with our trees.

Would you look at those mulberry trees!!

I knew they would be small, but I didn’t think they would be THAT small! Normally, there would have been a single, larger, 2 yr old sapling, but they had a shortage of that size. Instead, they sent out two 1 yr old saplings for the same price.

The above pictures are from Veseys. Hopefully, in a few years, we’ll have apples and berries to harvest!

Right now, I’ve got them out of their plastic bags and set up in the living room, safe from the cats. I find myself seriously considering leaving them to grow indoors for a year but… well… I don’t know that their chances for survival would be any better indoors than out! We will have to make sure to put a cloche over them when they are planted, to protect them. The funny thing is going to be transplanting these tiny little things with their fully grown size in mind. They can grow 15-20 ft high. This variety is supposed to be hardy to our zone, but winter protection is still something we’ll want to ensure. At least for the first couple of winters.

The apple tree is quite a bit larger! It started raining as I got home, so it might be a little while before we plant it, so I opened the plastic bag and set it up next to the mulberries. I didn’t take it out, since it’s packed in sawdust.

The planting instructions for the mulberry state:

Unless you have heavy clay soil, there isn’t much to do in terms of soil preparation. You can add amendments such as compost or peat moss to the soil and/or a layer of mulch over the root area after planting will help retain moisture, especially during the first year. While it may be tempting to add fertilizer or manure to your freshly dug hole before planting your new tree, PLEASE resist! Fertilizer or manure in close contact with the root system could chemically burn the roots and potentially kill the tree.

Mulberry trees can grow quite large, up to 15-20 feet tall. Avoid planting near walkways and driveways as the fruit will drop and create stains. Mulberries are self-fertile and require full sunlight. 


Where we will be planting them, the soil is very rocky and hard packed, and a whole lot of sun, so we’ll be giving them some garden soil to grow in, and plenty of wood chip mulch around them.

It’ll be different for the apple tree. The planting instructions are:

Plant apple trees 5-6 meters (15-18 feet) apart in the spring in a full sun location with good air circulation and drainage. For best results, two varieties should be planted to ensure successful pollination and fruit production.  Dig a hole large enough to accommodate all of the roots without bending (approx. 18 inches). Place the tree in the hole with the graft union about three inches above the soil surface. You should be able to see the soil mark on the trunk where the tree has been taken out of the ground, it should be planted no deeper than this. Mix compost with the soil to fill back in the hole once the tree is set in place, and lightly firm to ensure good soil root contact. Water surrounding the tree to ensure good root establishment. Water every two to three days if your season is dry.


It will be planted closer to the crab apple trees for cross pollination, but far enough away to hopefully protect it from the fungal disease that is killing them off. This variety is also a zone 4 tree, which means it will need shelter for the winter.

Hhhmm… I’m rethinking where to plant the apple tree. There are some dead and dying trees in the west yard that need to be cleared out. Better shelter, full sun, and close enough to the ornamental apple trees in the old kitchen garden for cross pollination.

We’ll figure it out. That’s now our job for the day!

The Re-Farmer

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