Next steps

I just got back from the wonderful person who is letting me take cardboard from her food waste deliveries.

This filled most of the back of the van, with room for me to still see through part of my back window.

The stack looks so small, on the ground! πŸ˜€

The next step will be to douse ourselves with bug spray, then go through each of the boxes to remove any tape, plastic labels, etc. Once that is done, we can start laying them around the saplings as a weed suppressant. Priority is around the saplings, but the space between them will also be covered. The cardboard needs to be thoroughly soaked – rain would be very handy right now! πŸ˜€ Once we have it, it will be covered with wood chips.

I will easily need at least one more load of cardboard to cover the area, so no hurry on the wood chips right now.

We also got a bonus with this load!

These boxes are corrugated plastic. From the looks of it, they mostly held corn. After they get cleaned off, these will work very well for when we need to store potatoes and other things in the root cellar over winter. πŸ™‚ Plus, as you can see, they easily fold flat for storage. I think I got 10 or so of these. I think they will be very handy for a lot of things!

An extra bonus is, I got to see their baby chickens and turkey, pigs, donkeys and alpaca. They’re already doing a lot of things we are working towards and, once we get our chicken coop built, we’ll be able to buy chicks from them!

I am so happy to have found this family. πŸ™‚

In other things, my husband got notification that my new keyboard was ready for pick up, on Monday. I went to the post office to pick it up and there was no card in the mail box. Today is Thursday, and I stopped by on my way home, but still no parcel.

Once I got home, my husband looked up the order.

It was sent by Purolator.

So while I was unloading the van, my husband called the nearest drop off location, since we are not in their delivery zone. Normally, we would have received an automated call from Purolator, if it was being sent there. When I got back inside, he was on hold – with Purolator. It wasn’t at the drop off location, either.

It turned out to be in the city.

How we were supposed to know that, I have no idea. This information was not included in the delivery notice. It just said that it was delivered.

It’s now being rerouted to the drop off location, and we’ll get a call when that happens.

Places that don’t deliver to PO boxes are a real pain in the butt.

The Re-Farmer

Before the heat hits?

Well, I tried.

I headed outside earlier than usual, to try and get some work done before things got too hot. My goal of the day was to take the weed trimmer to where the berry bushes are. Tomorrow, I’m getting another load of cardboard and plan to lay it down around them as a weed barrier.

This is how it looked when I started.

I shoved the stick into the ground as a post to mark the end one of the rows of bushes.

Can you see the silver buffalo berry?

The row on the left, you can see the sawdust mulch around several of them, but the row on the right just disappears in the trimmed weeds and grass.

I ended up using sticks that were used to hold trellis lines last year, to mark where the saplings are. A few of them got two. They were so buried and trimmed material, I didn’t want to risk accidentally hitting them with the weed trimmer! I’ll be looking to make sure they all have at least two sticks marking each of them, when the cardboard get laid down.

From this end, the two saplings marked in the foreground are the two highbush cranberry.

It took adding one more length of extension cord, but I was able to trim around the sea buckthorn, too.

Since I had the trimmer in the area anyhow, I used it around all the trellises, the hulless pumpkin patch, and the bean tunnel.

The goal was to beat the heat, but I failed. By the time I was working on the bean tunnel, the thermometer attached to it was reading 30C/86F in the sun. Our high of the day is supposed to be 25C/77F, and we are now under a severe thunderstorm watch. When I headed out this morning, we were being warned of possible thunderstorms on the weekend, and just possible showers later today!

I kept at it, though, and was able to use the trimmer around the crabapple trees. The one I’m standing next to, to take this picture, died over the winter and will need to be cut away. There are a couple other sickly ones down the row that need to be removed, and the others need some pruning, but that will have to wait.

I’m hoping to be able to head out again with the lawn mower, set as high as it can go, to finish around the garden area. Even the lowest spot near the branch pile in the background is finally dry enough to mow.

The metal ring in the foreground was something I brought to do burns over old crabapple tree stumps that were infected with a fungal disease. It’s over a taller one that hadn’t been burned completely away. Currently, the ring is full of an ant hill!

We have SO many ants this year!

In other things, whatever happened to our phone last night was no longer an issue this morning. We can use our land line again. I did get an email response from the phone company to try disconnecting all but one phone and seeing if it was still an issue, which I’d done (there’s only 2 lines to disconnect; the extra handset for the cordless phone doesn’t connect to the land line on its charger base). I wrote back to explain that it was working again this morning.

It sounds like there is a short somewhere. Possibly due to rodent damage somewhere. I’m guessing the cause of the problem is outside the house itself. If it’s a short, we could lose our connection again, at any time. In my email response, I did include that possibility. It would require a tech to come and test the lines, though. They’d be able to do that at the pedestals at the fence lines, one of which is hidden by trees in the first two photos at the top of this post, at first. From there, they would know if they have to come to the house and test again or not.

For now, I’m just happy the phone started working again on its own!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning in the garden, and first tomatoes!

My morning rounds are taking longer, as I am able to do more in the various garden beds as I go along.

I harvested the largest of the chive blossoms, before they go to seed. While I continued with my morning rounds, one of my daughters washed and de-bugged them, then laid them out on a cooling rack in a baking tray to dry. They are in the oven, with no heat at all, to protect them from the cats. Once the wash water is dried off, we’ll stick as much of them in a jar as we can, with olive oil. Any extras will go in the freezer. Or maybe I should split them into two jars and use them all. There are more chive blossoms to harvest later on, so we’ll have plenty to infuse in vinegar, too.

Speaking of drying things, during the night that cats did manage to get at the stacked screens of drying mint leaves. We’ve lost about 2 screen’s worth of mint leaves to the floor. 😦

When I moved on from the old kitchen garden to check on the squash patch, I noticed one of the giant pumpkins was no longer upright. I thought it might be because it had grown large enough to start leaning over, but I was wrong.

The stem is broken, right at ground level. Possibly from the high winds we’ve been having. Or…

Possibly weakened by the ant hill that has formed on that side of the pumpkin mound!

I built soil up around to support the stem again, in the off chance that it will survive, but with a break that large, I don’t expect it to. We are likely down to just one giant pumpkin plant.

Everything else in the squash patch seems to be surviving so far, and I’m seeing new growth in most. The squash that were started at 4 weeks are so very small, though. I kinda feel like maybe we should have started them at 6 weeks.

I had a very pleasant surprise in the tomato patch nearby, though!

Of course, the camera on my phone didn’t focus where I wanted it to. πŸ˜€

We have our first tomatoes forming!

These are on the Sophie’s Choice tomato plants. We got these seeds as a freebie with my order from Heritage Harvest, which was a very pleasant surprise. They have a much shorter growing season, and were started indoors at around 10 weeks or something (it’s a good thing I am using the blog as a gardening journal to record the details, because I’m already forgetting!). So I am not surprised that these are the first to start forming fruit.

We did get some rain last night, but it was light enough that much of the water in the garden was able to get absorbed by the soil, and the paths are just really wet, instead of big puddles of water. That meant I could finally do some much needed weeding in the summer squash bed, then pruning of tomatoes.

I took some of the strongest, healthiest looking branches that I pruned off the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes and transplanted them in the open spaces between the summer squash. I don’t know if I’m breaching any companion planting rules here (do tomatoes and squash go well together?), but whatever. If they take, great. If not, that’s okay, too. I specifically wanted to propagate more Sophie’s Choice tomatoes, as they are listed as extremely rare, so if I can save seed and help keep the variety going, that would be a good thing. Because they start producing so much faster than the other varieties we have, I’m not as concerned about cross pollination.

While I was weeding and tending different parts of the garden, I had Rolando Moon hanging out and keeping me company. Not wanting attention. Just being nearby.

I had to chase her out of one of the sweet potato bags, as she decided to start rolling in it! Then she jumped up into the high raised bed and lay down on some onions. THEN, she moved into the squash and corn patch, and sat on some corn seedlings!

That cat seems determined to be destructive!

Meanwhile…

The tomatoes are not the only things blooming. Two of the Styrian hulless pumpkins have suddenly burst into bloom, and they are all covered with buds again. Their first buds had been pruned away when they were transplanted. They look to still be all male flowers. I’m debating whether these flowers should be pruned away, too, so more energy can go to the plants establishing themselves more. It hasn’t been that long since they were transplanted, after all.

Anyone out there know if it would be helpful to prune the flowers off now or not?

The beans and peas at the trellises and bean tunnel are looking quite good. The cucumbers seem more touch and go. The first peas that were planted are getting quite large, and the snap peas are already large enough that some have latched onto the vertical trellis strings already. The snap peas are growing noticeably faster than the pod peas.

There is a single, out of place pea plant that showed up, right near the upright post at the start of the row. It seems to be a pea from last year that finally germinated! It germinated quite a bit earlier than the others, and I’m trying to train it up the support post, since it’s too far from the vertical lines to climb. Last year, we planted the King Tut purple peas here, so that’s what this one would be. It’s even almost as large as the purple peas we started indoors from saved seed, and transplanted against the chain link fence to climb. They are all tall enough that they’ve attached themselves to the fence and are making their way upwards, even though they are still looking kinda spindly.

The Wonderberries have been ripening, though the plants haven’t really gotten any bigger, and have what looks like weather damage. I’ve been able to taste them. They are lightly sweet, but don’t have any predominant flavour. This may be something we just leave for the birds. I’ll have to get the girls to try them, too, and see if they like them. I don’t mind them self seeding in this location, as I’d rather have the berry bushes that produce food, either for us or for the birds, than the invasive flowers.

In other things, my plans for the day have had to change. My sister never made it out to my mother’s yesterday, because my mother told her it was “too soon” to start packing and bagging things in preparation for her apartment being sprayed for bed bugs. She has a shift today, so that’s out. My brother, meanwhile, is out of town for a funeral that had been delayed until now by the lockdowns. So it looks like I’ll likely have to go to my mother’s to help out. I’ll phone her, first, once I’m sure she is back from church. My sister will be able to come out tomorrow morning, and I hope to come out in the early afternoon for the last of the packing and bagging, and moving of larger items. Then she’s back the next morning to bring our mother to her place for the night. I’ll head over in the early evening to check on the place and make sure it’s locked up while my mother is gone.

On Tuesday, I should be heading into the city for the first half of our monthly shopping, too. I will time it so I can check her place on my way home.

Which means I’ll be getting very little accomplished at home over the next few days!

The Re-Farmer

Wet, wet and more wet!

I am so, so glad the girls were able to get the clogged downspouts cleared yesterday! We had a thunderstorm last night, and are currently under weather alerts for more severe thunderstorms.

This is the one, draining into the north yard, that was causing the most problems. It is under this corner that the most water is leaching into the basement. This basement does have weeping tile, but they are not working as they should anymore, and are probably clogged at this end.

There is another downspout at the south end, but it had only the short piece of eavestrough at the end to divert the water away from the house. For some reason, we’ve got about a dozen or more downspouts in the garage, so I grabbed one for them, and they set it up to extend into the bed where the dwarf Korean lilac is. With how tall the grass is in the outer yard, it was actually a struggle to get through it, to reach the barn!!

I’ll put up with the extension blocking the path along the house. It’s not as bad as the north corner, but we do have water seeping into the basement a bit in the south corner, too. The wall is partly damaged by the roots from the Chinese elm my mother planted for shade in front of the kitchen window. 😦

While they worked on that, I worked on the trellises.

I decided I’m just going to have to buy more of those bamboo stakes once pay comes in. A pair of them was set up at each of the uprights for the two rows that need trellising. That left me with 4 stakes left. I lashed them to the bottoms of alternate A frames, for 2 on each side. To finish the job on both rows, I’ll need 10 more of these 6′ bamboo poles. Then I used the net from last year and set that up, lacing twine along the ends and at the bottom stakes, to snug it up. We need to get more of this type of net. The spacing is large enough that we can reach through to harvest our beans, peas or cucumbers. The other net we have is 1/4 inch mesh.

After this, I also put a simple rope fence around where we have squash, beans and corn planted. At this point, I just want to stop the deer from walking through it. They’re not after anything there – yet. You’ll see that set up in a photo below.

During the night, the skies opened and the rains poured down! I actually slept through it, awakened only by one exceptionally loud peal of thunder. While doing my rounds this morning, however, I could not believe how much water there is, everywhere! It must have been quite the deluge! I’m still holding out hope to be able to mow the west and north lawns, but that’s not going to happen today, that’s for sure! The west lawn is now mostly under water. Most of the north lawn as well. I’ve never seen that much open water in those areas before.

The squash patch is very wet – thankfully, the straw mulch is helping keep that under control. We’ve had paths between the low raised beds filled with puddles before, but not this much around where the grow bags and the small potato bed are.

I’m actually surprised the mosquito netting has held out. Their purpose is to keep the plants from being pounded by rain or hail, while still letting the water through, and it seems to be working. They’re only held in place with wooden clothes pegs!

I’m standing in water to take the above picture. There is even a large puddle next to the remains of the straw bale. The melons are likely good with the wet – they do need a lot of water, normally – but I’m concerned that some of the potatoes might get drowned.

This is the patch I “fenced” off last night. I used some old conduit pipes I found in the barn and pounded them in place as fence posts. They’ve got 2 lengths of twine running around them, far enough apart that we can just bend down and step through to get to the plants. I also dangled lengths of bells in different places, so even if a deer decided to step through, it would hopefully make a noise and distract it away. I added one of the pinwheels we have to the top of a pipe for the distraction. Little by little, we’ll set up more distractions and noise makers around the garden beds. Eventually, we will probably have to put a hardware cloth fence up, to at least protect the corn.

Assuming the corn and beans survive. As you can see, the sprouting corn is under water in places. The north end of the row with the popcorn in it is all under water. Still no beans coming up next to the sweet corn. Will they survive? I have no idea.

Even the area where the trellises are is full of water. This corner of the yard has been notorious for being incredibly dry and baked hard by the sun. Thankfully, the rows themselves are slightly elevated with the addition of garden soil and mulch, and even our digging and weeding before planting means where the plants are growing, the soil has better drainage.

The nearby sea buckthorn is high enough to not be in puddles – and they are finally unfurling their leaves! Nice to see they all took.

The silver buffalo berry is also doing surprisingly well. Moving south, the land slowly slopes downwards, so the last 10 or so silver buffalo berry are in pools of water. At least three of those have been in water for quite a while, and are still okay. They seem to be quite resilient!

The beds in the east yard are almost surrounded by water. Remarkably, the ground cherries are doing all right. I think that grass mulch is acting as a sponge, keeping them from being drowned out completely. There are pools of water right next to the mulch.

The paths between the low raised beds, and the entire lawn in front of them, is full of water. There is basically a pond in front of the outhouse. Thankfully, the raised beds are making a difference. There is increased growth visible in the Kulli corn, and the beans between them are looking very healthy. The tomatoes and onions are also looking strong – and those onions are really taking off! The 6 transplanted garlic at the far end of the third bed may not all make it, but the rest of the garlic is finally looking like they are taking off. I figure they are at least a month behind the garlic in the main garden area.

The other beds in the south yard are all high enough to be out of water. It looks like all 10 of the sunchoke tubers planted are now sprouted; some of the tubers have multiple stalks coming up. The asparagus and strawberry bed are right next to the vehicle gate, which is full of water, but the bed is doing well. Likewise, the beds along the chain link fence, on either side of the people gate, are above water and doing well. Still no signs of white strawberries.

The old kitchen garden has a slightly different situation. We’ve deliberately built it up over the past 4 years and have the retaining wall at one end, so it’s above the water that is in the lawn surrounding it. The house itself also usually keeps parts of it from getting rained on as much, not to mention the ornamental apple trees. However, the sump pump hose drains into the sun room garden, and that pump is going off quite frequently. It drains next to the bed where we’ve got the beets planted. I shift the end every now and then, so it’s either draining straight down a mulched path between the bed and the laundry platform, or it’s draining into the mulch at the end of the bed, and partly down the path on the other side.

These are all areas that are normally drier than everywhere else. Until this year, the sump pump basically never went off, because we’d been so dry. Now, not only are we getting more rain, but there’s all that nice, clear water from the sump pump reservoir being added. There is currently so much lush growth along the house side of the old kitchen garden that the path we made using salvaged cap stones, bricks and rocks along the house is almost hidden. The high end of the beet bed is almost overgrown with mint – and I dug up and transplanted as much of the mint from there as I could, last fall. Then again in the spring, I pulled up more of it when getting the bed ready for planting! The path is also full of mint at that end, along with loads of crab grass. Moving north along the house, it’s more of those invasive wildflowers, some of which my mother planted deliberately, not knowing they were invasive, and some are the same ones we’ve got taking over all over the place. I don’t mind them in the paths too much, but they’re coming up in the L shaped bed, too, and choking out the lettuce.

We have a drainage hose for the sump pump, but it’s currently being used for the washing machine to drain outside (it sounds like whatever is causing the water to back up in the pipes is still a problem). I’d like to add an extension so that the sump pump drains further away. With the length these hoses come in, we could even move the end to different areas of the old kitchen garden that might need more water, if we wanted. The area it’s draining into right now is getting to be too much of a jungle! πŸ˜€

We had already determined that we’ll be building high raised beds for mobility reasons. For some crops, like corn, tomatoes and vining plants, we would still want to have low raised beds. High raised beds are notorious for drying out quickly and needing more water, which is why we are using modified hΓΌgelkultur methods to fill them, with all those layers of wood and organic matter acting as a sponge to hold water. This spring has shown us that even for a wet year, there are benefits to having raised beds, as they are keeping things from being drowned, too. Even a few inches of elevation or a mulch is making a difference.

When we get around to building permanent high raised beds in the outer yard, from what I’ve been seeing so far, water like this will be less of a problem. There are patches with water collecting in them, but where we are planning to build the beds seems clear. We’ll see better once we finally get that overgrown grass cut. It’s about 3 ft high, at least! I almost feel like asking one of our neighbours if they have a grazing animal we could borrow. Otherwise, it feels like such a waste to cut it all!

We’ll figure it out.

The Re-Farmer

Summer growth

Yesterday, forecasts said we were supposed to have a couple of dry days. While I was out and about with my mother, I saw lots of people mowing, so when I got home, I decided to do some preparatory weed trimming. The beans and peas are coming up nicely, and some of the cucumber plants are getting pretty big, so we need to get those A frame trellises up. I picked up some 6′ bamboo stakes to use as supports. I’d hoped to use pieces of poplar, like the frames are made of, but of what we have, any pieces long enough were too thick or too crooked. If it was straight enough, or thin enough, it was too short. So, bamboo stakes it is. Unfortunately, they cost a fair bit; just under $10 for a bundle of 6. I was only able to get 4. Not enough for what I was thinking to do.

Before we could set those up, I got out the weed trimmer and a whole lot of extension cord, and trimmed the paths as close to the ground as I could.

Which is about when I started hearing thunder.

I did get the trimming done, then 4 pairs of stakes lashed together and set up at the trellis with the cucumbers. I had planned to set up 5 pairs – one at each upright support – then have cross pieces at the bottom, to help support the netting. With only 4 pairs, I don’t think they’re long enough to join with cross pieces.

I was able to lash together 4 more pairs of stakes before I was driven inside by rain. We ended up with quite a thunderstorm with heavy rain and strong winds. We even lost internet and had power fluctuations.

Still, when I headed out this morning, I thought we might at least be able to do some mowing in the west yard, but no. There’s water all over, and even the usually drier spots are squelchy. :-/

Quite a few new flowers are blooming. The ornamental poppies have exploded along with the dwarf Korean lilac, and even some wild columbine is blooming. The yellow lilies near the fire pit that I keep intending to divide and never quite get to, are in full bloom.

I waded through the tall grass and water to check on the Korean pine. A couple of them are in puddles of water! Five of them are showing new growth, but the one that got dug up by something looks like it has not survived. A lot of the needles have turned brown.

While checking one of the pine trees, I kept an eye out for the strawberries I saw before. They are now mostly hidden by the tall grass, but I could still see them. They are still blooming.

The corn we recently direct sowed are starting to come up! The popcorn seems to be a bit slower in germinating than the sweet corn. No sign of the green bush beans, yet.

The garlic that is doing really well in the main garden area is now starting to grow scapes. The other garlic, that seemed to have been set back badly by the extended winter, are finally starting to really perk up and grow, though they are still quite small. I’m seeing carrots coming up in the various beds, but a lot of the turnips that I saw before now seem to be gone. One variety seems to be holding out, even if the tiny leaves are riddled with holes.

No sign of the bare-root white strawberries starting to grow. Those might be a total loss. The red strawberries we transplanted with the asparagus are still blooming, though.

Everything is so wet, wet, wet – and we’re supposed to get more showers tonight! In fact, now the forecasts are saying nightly showers, or thunderstorms, for the next 5 days. This is frustrating. One of the down spouts is clogged. Normally, the girls would go out onto the roof to clear it, through one of their windows. Their windows, however, are pretty much coated with mosquitoes. Which means using a ladder, but the ground is so wet and mushy, there’s no place solid to set a ladder. The eaves over the north side of the old kitchen also need to be cleared. That area is difficult enough to set up a ladder at the best of times. With how slick and muddy things are now, it’s just not an option. The ground needs to dry out at least somewhat, but that’s not going to happen. I think the girls are going to have to brave the mosquitoes to at least do the one over the living room. Too much water is seeping into the new basement.

One of these days, we need to pick up one of those small, mobile scaffolding set ups. Too bad the scaffolding that was here before we moved in grew legs and walked away. It would be so useful – and safer – with scaffolding.

The rains we’ve been having are certainly a mixed blessing. The saturated ground and open water prevents us from being able to do some things, and makes it harder to get to different parts of the year – but things are growing and blooming and, with a few drowned exceptions, fairing much better than last year! Things definitely prefer the damp, over the drought.

The Re-Farmer

Rescue!

While my husband and I were gone for our medical appointments, my daughter finished watering the rest of the garden beds and transplants, including the trees.

She sent use this sad photo.

One of the Korean Pine was gone! Not only was it dug up, but even the wood shaving mulch was gone! There was nothing left but a hole in the ground.

So disappointing.

When my husband and I got home, my daughter and I headed to town to see what we could find to protect the rest. My original plan had been to pick up some metal mesh garbage cans at a dollar store somewhere – it was a recommended suggestion I found when looking up how to care for the Korean Pine. Somehow, I just never found any.

The local Dollar Store was no different. They’re about half the size if the city stores, so that’s not a surprise.

I did find something else to try.

These are food covers to keep the bugs away while eating outdoors. I picked up 5 of the smaller size for each of the remaining Korean Pine. I used the last of our ground staples on a couple of the, and tent pegs in the rest, to secure them to the ground. Obviously, they won’t stop a determined critter, but they should be enough to keep away any that are not determined!

When I went to where the lost one was, I looked around the area, just in case it was just a critter digging, and that the seedling itself wasn’t eaten or dragged away. There was no sign of it, unfortunately.

With so much open water around this spring, and especially in this part of the outer yard, the mosquitoes are insane. All I could hear was the whining of clouds of mosquitoes. Since I wasn’t going to be long, I didn’t use any bug spray, so I was lunch! As you can imagine, I tried to finish up as quickly as I could. It wasn’t until after I’d covered the remaining Korean Pine and brought the support poles back to the house that I realized I’d forgotten the one by the lost pine. So I battled my way through the clouds of mosquitoes and went back to get it.

Since I was there anyhow, I looked around again. Because once you’re bitten a hundred times, what’s a few more?

I found it!

The poor little seedling was hidden in the grass, just a couple of feet away. I’d walked right past it, at least twice, while looking before!

I quickly replanted it and returned as much of the soil as I could – whatever dug the hole had certainly spread it far and wide! Then I went and grabbed one of the remaining tomato cages and filled a watering can. The tomato cage is now over the seedling, with the support post running through it for extra support, and it has been thoroughly watered.

I intended to get a picture, but I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, so I ran away as soon as I could!

Hopefully, it will survive it’s brush with whatever dug it up. My thought is it was likely a skunk, digging for grubs, and it dug there because the soil was looser.

So we are back to 6 Korean Pine… and will hopefully stay that way!

The Re-Farmer

Food Forest: Korean pine are in!

My younger daughter planted the last of this year’s tree orders today.

These got planted in the outer yard. Because of how big they get at maturity, we had some issues deciding where to plant them, since we also need to keep a lane open from the driveway to the back gate, plus have open lanes from the garden area, and the fire pit area, gates. Eventually, the old, collapsing fence line on that side of the inner yard is going to be removed completely, and there will be no barbed wire gates at all, but the renter’s cows still sometimes get into the outer yard, so the fence stays for now.

Hard to believe these teeny things will eventually grow at much as 18m/60ft tall, with a spread of 9m/30 feet. It’s that spread that is the kicker. In the end, she planted them in two rows of 3, on either side of the lane from the driveway we want to keep open. We had talked about planting 1 in a corner between the back gate and the garden gate, then the remaining 5 in a row on the west side of the lane we want to keep open, but with spacing them to their mature sizes, that would have put at least one, maybe 2, in an area that is still basically a pond right now. So she winged it.

For now, they are marked with tall stakes, since they are so small they disappear in the tall grass. They are slow growing for their first 5 years, and these are 2 yr old seedlings, if I remember correctly. They are sold out as I write this, so that information isn’t on the website anymore.

If we can manage extension cords from the pump shack, we should be able to get out there with the weed trimmer and clear further around the saplings. We can’t get at some areas here with a lawn mower at all.

I also want to put something around them to protect them. I don’t know if deer will eat them – they don’t seem to bother pine trees – but if the renter’s cows are on this quarter and get through the fence, they might stomp on them or something.

It will be quite a few years before they reach the age to start producing pine nuts, but when it comes to trees, we’re planting for future generations! The main thing is, they are finally in the ground.

Little by little, it got done!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: tomatoes, squash onions, and food forest additions

While I spent most of my time with the kulli corn, my daughters took care of other things.

My younger daughter got the sea buckthorn planted. These saplings are quite a bit larger than the silver buffalo berry! This will eventually close the gap of the hedge along the north fence line, where the deer jump through. Hopefully, we have both male and female plants, and will have berries. We do plant to get more, over time, but it will probably be another year or two before we know for sure.

The only trees left to plant now are the Korean Pine.

My other daughter started on the tomatoes.

Along the chain link fence, she planted the dozen Chocolate Cherry tomatoes. That’s a variety I got specifically as a gift for her. πŸ™‚

Last year, tomatoes did REALLY well in this location. This year, we’ll see how they do in other locations!

The next tomatoes she and her sister transplanted here were the Cup of Moldova and Sophie’s Choice tomatoes.

The row on the left, and in the centre, are all Cup of Moldova, while the Sophie’s Choice are the row on the right.

There are still two Cup of Moldova waiting to be transplanted, but they ran out of space.

While they worked on that, I transplanted into the blocks we finished adding along the chain link fence this spring.

The Red Kuri/Little Gem squash went into these. I hope they do well here. Last year, we had only 2 plants, but they produced quite a lot of squash. Unfortunately, with the drought, the squash developed so late, we only really got 3 that were mature enough to be edible. The girls and I found them delicious (my husband is finding that he’s not a fan of winter squash), and we look forward to having enough to store for the winter.

While one daughter worked on the bed of tomatoes in the main garden area, adding more support posts and winding bale twine back and forth to help support the tomatoes as they grow, my other daughter and I made use of the newly available bed next to the kulli corn.

There was a total of 13 Yellow Pear tomatoes to transplant. Once they were in, we got the box of red onion sets and planted them all along the outside of the bed in a single row, then fit the rest into the middle, in 2 rows.

The last thing we needed to do before heading inside was putting netting on the kulli corn and the Red Kuri squash. Those were the only two things that were most at risk of betting eaten overnight!

The net is hard to see. I used pipes hammered into the ground to hold the net away from the squash. The blue bits of pool noodle shoved into the tops of the pipes are there to protect the net, as there are some sharper edges on some of the pipes. Last year, we had chicken wire at an angle over cucamelons and gourds, and the vines kept wanting to attach to the chick wire, instead of the chain link. There’s no way the net could hold the weight of squash climbing it, so I wanted to keep it away from the plants as they start growing large enough to reach the fence and start climbing. On the inside, the edge of the net is held in place with ground staples. The excess net went over the fence, and my daughter rolled it up and zip tied it down. We still want to be able to access and tend the plants as needed, which will mostly be done from the inside.

The last thing the girls did was lace up the ends, so keep the critters out. A determined critter could still tear through the net, but hopefully, they won’t want to be bothered.

In the background, you can see some wire “fencing” has been added to the outside of where the Chocolate Cherry tomatoes were planted. It will get netting as well, but the only thing in there that is in danger of critters are the carrots, and they aren’t even germinating yet, so there it no hurry, there.

We have a lot more to transplant, but work needs to be done to prepare for them, first. The supports for A frame trellises need to be added, and beds need to be weeded. The rows we used for the bush beans last year, as well as the straw mulched mounds we grew summer squash in, are completely hidden by the crab grass that has taken them over. The squash tunnel, which will be a pole bean tunnel this year, needs minimal work at least, and the summer squash can be planted in the deep mulch near the potatoes. After we’ve transplanted the squash, gourds, melons and cucumbers, and planted the pole beans, we’ll have a better idea of where we can plant the yellow corn, and the popcorn. We have more bush beans and peas we can interplant with the two types of corn, too.

We also have another variety of baking poppies and dill to plant, but I think we’ll have to skip those for this year. I know where we will plant the Wonderberry, but have still not figured out where to plant the ground cherries. All of these will be treated as perennials, as they will reseed themselves year after year, so they need permanent locations.

We’ll figure it out.

As for tomorrow, I’m finally going to make our second stocking up trip to the city. It’s unlikely I’ll be able to do any work in the garden, but we shall see. It’s hard for me to stay out of the garden, now that the weather has finally turned nice, and we can catch up! πŸ˜€

It feels so good to finally get things into the ground!

The Re-Farmer