Our 2023 garden: shifting spaces, and you can do it, little luffa!

A little bit of garden therapy on this cold, cold day. According to one of my phone weather apps, we’ve reach -25C/-13F, with a wind chill of -33C/-27F. Hopefully, things will keep warming up for another hour or two because it takes the predicted deep dive overnight!

Our onion seedlings are getting tall enough that it was time to move them away from the light. Which, for our aquarium greenhouse, means rearranging things inside the tank.

The onions are going to need a hair cut soon!

The tray holding the onions is on the heat mat, which was unplugged when the seedlings started showing. Onions prefer cooler soil, anyhow. The luffa, however, have not germinated yet, and need warmer soil. They were raised up higher on a box, to get some of the warmth from the lights, but the heat mat would be beneficial for them – assuming these 3 yr old seeds are still viable at all. Shifting the two, and removing the box the luffa were on, would give the onions the space from the lights they needed, and the heat mat should make up for the slightly reduced height for the luffa pots.

Since they are in a plastic drain tray, I added the aluminum oven liner sheet to protect the plastic from getting over heated and diffuse the heat a bit, even though the warming mat doesn’t get very hot.

As I was doing this, I noticed what appeared to be disturbed soil, where that arrow is pointing.

So I took a peak.

Yes!!!!

There is a baby luffa sprout, starting to push its way up through the soil! One of the other pots seems to have a new soil hill, too, but I didn’t peak under that one, and just gently covered the first one up again.

Hopefully, the extra warmth will encourage more germination!

When it comes time to transplant these, I want to find a way to have them in the very sheltered microclimate on the south side of the house that we will be growing the lemongrass in. They can be grown in pots, if the pots are large enough. A 5 gallon bucket would be the right size for one plant. Not that I’d waste a bucket by drilling drainage holes in it. I think we have other containers we can use that are large enough. The challenge will be in how to also include a trellis for them to climb.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s see how many germinate and survive, first!

You can do it, baby luffa!!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: onions update

Not a lot of garden related stuff going on, but I thought it was time to post another picture of how our onion seedlings are going.

They are really coming up well! So many, they’re actually lifting up the surface soil on one of the trays.

If anyone is wondering why I’m starting onions so densely like this, it’s based on how MI Gardener now does it.

We did this last year, and they did just fine!

I’m looking at the trays, though, and thinking…

We don’t have enough onions! 😄

As for the luffa, no sign of germination, yet. It might be a while for those, still.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: That was fast!!! and planning ahead

We had a light snowfall last night, making everything all white and fluffy this morning.

The outside cats didn’t mind it at all!

I counted 21 this morning.

Meanwhile, indoors, we have our first signs of spring.

When I checked the trays this morning, three out of four of them had onions sprouting. When I came back about an hour later, there were sprouts in the fourth tray!

I’m absolutely amazed by two things. One is, how quickly they started to germinate.

The other is, how much cat hair there is, all over the soil surface. These trays had lids on them. Where did all that cat hair come from? I mean, Beep Beep practically lives on top of the lights. She naps on them, rolls around on them, and even hugs them, so yeah… I can see some of her fur drifting down… but getting under the lids?

Yesterday, I marked on our communal calendar, two sets of dates. One was the number of weeks counted back from our last average frost date, June 2. This way, we can see at a glance that something that needs to be started 10 weeks before last frost, needs to be started around March 24, while something that needs only 4 weeks can wait until May 5th.

The other dates I marked was number of days counted back from our average first frost date, which is Sept. 10. We have exactly 100 days between our average last spring and first fall frosts. That’s the growing season we can mostly count on for frost sensitive plants.

For things that have really long days to maturity, it’s that “days before first frost” that we need to consider. If, for example, I have a gourd that requires 110 days to maturity, that’s May 23. If it needs 7-10 days to germinate, I would start them at least a week before that.

If I have something than need 90 days to maturity, that falls on June 12 and, by then, I could get away with direct sowing, instead.

One of the really useful tools I’ve found is the Farmer’s Almanac planting calendar. Most planting calendars just give number of weeks before first frost, because they’re meant to be generic. I can get that information from the seed packet. Farmer’s Almanac, however, lets you input your area code (or zip code, if you’re in the US). You can even put in your city (ha!) and province/state. It will find the climate station nearest you, then give you the calendar dates for starting indoors and transplanting, or seeding outdoors. It even gives you the choice of dates based on frost date, or on moon dates. Oh, and I discovered something very handy when I hit the print button on the web page. It allows you to remove things from the list that you aren’t growing, which greatly reduced the number of pages that got printed out!

It’s still a bit generic, of course, but the date range is pretty wide. For example, it tells me bell peppers should be started between March 24 and April 7. We have five varieties of bell peppers, and four of them are early varieties, so we could use the information on the seed packet to figure out which ones need to be started in March, and which can wait until April.

Of course, they can’t cover everything, so we still need to make adjustments. For example, their calendar says to start winter squash outdoors between June 16 and July 14. With some varieties, we could do that, but we’ve got some large varieties of winter squash that need more time to fully mature, so we would be better off starting them indoors. If we use the biodegradable pots that can be buried, that would reduce transplant shock.

We have always started summer squash indoors. I think, this year, we might direct seed them. The calendar says zucchini can be planted anywhere between June 16 and July 14, which is when we can expect the soil to finally be warm enough.

As for the things we’ll need to start the earliest, the herbs (except dill, which is direct sown) will need to be started at the same time as bell peppers; in March. The eggplants and tomatoes can be started in early April, melons can be started in early May, while pumpkins and watermelon can be started in mid May.

The direct sowing dates are pretty interesting for some things. If we decide to try growing radishes again, they can be direct seeded in early April – at the same time we’d be starting eggplant and tomatoes indoors. Carrots can be planted in late April, early May, which would be about the same time we’d be starting melons indoors.

All of which needs to be taken with a grain of salt. For example, the calendar says to start onion seeds outdoors in early May. Sets, sure, but seeds? Nope. There’s a reason people out here start their onion seeds indoors in January! Also, it has dates to start lettuce and chard indoors, but none for direct seeding. Who starts lettuce and chard indoors? I mean, sure, you can grow them indoors, but for transplant?

As it stands now, though, we won’t need to start anything else indoors until March 24, at the earliest.

That gives us February and most of March to get the materials we need and build a removeable door and frame, to keep the cats out of the living room, and out of the seedlings!

We’ll also need to build a barrier to block an opening in the shelf to the left of the door in the image.

Our 2023 garden: getting started (video)

Yesterday, after many delays, I finally sorted through all our seeds, old and new. I was happy to find I still had luffa seeds left, so I got those started, along with our onions.

Since I’m running out of media storage space on my WordPress account (the down side of having such a photo heavy blog!), I took my photos and made them into a video, instead. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to let me know what you think of it, either here or in the comments under the video at YouTube. If you watch the video on YouTube, you can subscribe to my channel there. I’ll be uploading it to my Rumble account, too.

I will probably be doing a lot more of these, since I’m not about to spend over $300 a year to upgrade my account, when all I want is more storage space! It takes a lot more time, and I borrow my daughter’s microphone for the voice overs, but it does allow me to use higher quality images, and more of them, than I would here. I’d call it an experiment, but it’s not like I have much choice!

On another note, I’m quite enjoying the Movavi Video Suite to make these videos. I’m just barely skimming the surface of what the software allows me to do, since my needs are really basic, but if I wanted to, I could create some pretty professional looking videos. The only complaint I have is how it keeps wanting me to buy into subscriptions to get more choices in media and effects, etc. But that’s pretty typical of most media software these days, I think.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the video!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: going through the harvest

The sun room is starting to get too cold and night to leave our harvests in it anymore. This morning, I went through them and binned them up.

All of the carrots, both types, filled one bin enough that the lid can’t quite close. Those will need to be taken care of quickly. The Black Nebula carrots are already getting wimpy!

All the gourds will go someplace warm and dry to finish curing.

The Tropeana Lunga onions are growing rather than curing, so they will go to the kitchen for fresh eating and dehydrating.

The hulless seed pumpkins that have ripened the most will be moved inside to ripen some more, while the remaining ones were shifted around on their shelf to get more sunlight. We should be able to get away with leaving those there for a while longer.

The tomatoes that are ripening were laid out in a single layer on the bottom of a bin to go inside for further ripening. The green ones that have shown no signs of turning colour by now are not going to, so they all went into one small bin. I picked through them in the process of sorting through, and the more wizened ones went into compost. The rest will go to the kitchen as we decide what to do with them. The problem is, I’m not the tomato person in this household, so I’m not exactly inspired over them!

Now that these are clear of the sun room, we’ll be able to continue cleaning out and partially reorganizing the sun room for the winter.

The Re-Farmer

More progress on the old kitchen garden

We are having a nice day today, before temperatures drop quite a bit tomorrow, so I wanted to get some more done on the old kitchen garden. We’ll expected to have only one cold day before it warms up again, so we should still be okay for getting things done.

With the new raised bed done, it was time to work on the south edge of the old kitchen garden.

This is where my daughter has planted her irises, and at the far right is where her daffodils are. The bulbs were planted deeply, so that they would better survive our winters, but it meant I could only dig around the top few inches. Which is where most of the roots and rhizomes are, so that worked out.

We had a couple of boards on the ground to mark where the outer edge was, though they were mostly covered by grass and weeds. After moving those out, I used where they were as my guide for were to work while clearing things. Once I’d weeded as much as I could, I wanted to see what I could do about the stepping stones and the paths we’d be leaving open in the wall it will be edges with. I found one more paving stone, like we’ve got as stepping stones under the kitty’s butt. I also tried to find matching, unbroken bricks for the gap in the wall.

The other stepping stones are actual stones. After digging around the rock pile near my late father’s car, I found a couple that had split and were nice and flat.

If you look just above the handle of my digging tool, you’ll see a bit of green. That is one of the irises that, for some reason, it still green. I wanted to make sure it was protected when we use the stepping stones.

The stones and bricks were laid down, then I dug a shallow trench along the outer edge. I was able to fit the shortest log left over from before between the concrete block retaining wall and the bricks, without having to shift the bricks much at all. The longest log from the pile just happened to be the perfect length to fit between the two pairs of bricks, with no adjustments! The last log I added didn’t need to reach all the way to the laundry platform, since that area is sheltered by the mock orange tree you can see the leaves and branches of in the bottom corner. I just hope I didn’t cover that single Egyptian Walking Onion that’s somewhere in there. That thing has managed to survive for many years. I’d hate to be the one that finally killed it!

The logs are just there as temporary place holders. My daughter wants to use rocks to create more of a wall along the edge. Once the logs and stepping stones were in place, I spread the rest of the sifted soil on the tarp all along the edge, and the logs will help keep the soil in place.

This is the first year we were able to protect that onion enough for it to grow bulbils. You can see they’re sprouting, but no roots had started to form, so I moved it out. Then I found another onions while I was weeding.

I figured, what the heck. I may as well plant them!

I planted them along the raised bed, covered them with a grass clipping mulch (and put some around that one iris by the stepping stones), then added sticks at either end to mark it. I knew for sure that there wasn’t anything else planted there. I figure they will be sheltered by the log wall, and still get full sunlight, too. If they survive the winter, we might have more walking onions next year!

That done, I gave everything a thorough watering, including washing the soil off the bricks, stepping stones and the log edge.

After that, it was just a matter of clean up. The pile of roots and weeds went to the burn barrel.

The area is now done. The next area I need to work on is the L shaped bed around the double lilac. I’ve got lettuce I left to go to seed in there and that’s it. With the weather we’ve been having, though, I’m not sure we’ll be getting any seed out of them this year. We shall see.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest, and a survivor

Here is today’s morning harvest. 😊

I found a little round cucumber lying on the ground and picked it, leaving the others to get a bit bigger. There were a few peas to pick, as well as some carrot thinnings. I would have thinned more of the purple carrots, but they are a very long variety, and our soil just doesn’t want to give them up!

I grabbed some of the smallest Red of Florence onions for today’s cooking, and decided to grab a few little turnips, too. There was one Magda squash I went ahead and grabbed. There was also a single green zucchini, and one large-ish sunburst squash, that I left to get a bit bigger.

The yellow bush beans are almost done. I couldn’t see very many developing pods left as I picked these. The purple Carminat beans are very prolific! There are so many more of them, compared to what’s on the green pole beans.

In that pile of green pole beans, however, there were two extras.

They are from this one little bush bean plant, grown from a leftover seed of our first planting of green bush beans under the sweet corn. The second planting of green bush beans are starting to develop pods, while this lonely original had a couple ready to pick.

I’m happy that this year, we at least have plenty of these two varieties of beans. The Red Noodle beans still show no signs of blooming, though they are at least starting to climb the trellis more. I’m curious about how the shelling beans will turn out, given how incredibly small and fragile the plants turned out to be. There are a lot of pods developing, too.

We planted so much this year, with hopes of having lots of food, in many varieties, to have over the winter. I always expect to have at least some losses. I didn’t expect to have so many total, or near total losses! Which makes me extra thankful to have what we do have.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest

Though we have been grabbing lettuce and spinach leaves, as needed, this morning we our first harvest from the garden!

One bed with onion sets planted around it got a hair cut. They were trimmed down to about 6 inches, and that almost filled the colander. I did see one that was starting to form a bulbil, so I left that to go to seed. Onions are bi-annual, but with sets, their time in dormancy has them acting as if they are in their second year, instead of their first. With the onions we grew from seed, I would like to leave some to overwinter, so we can get seed next year, but I have to figure out how to do that and have them actually survive the winter.

I also gathered the very last of the scapes in the big garlic. The other garlic that is behind is not yet showing signs of scapes.

In the high raised bed, the first spinach we planted was starting to bolt, so I pulled them all up, before they could get too bitter.

After trimming off most of the leaves, the remains were laid along either side of a row of onions to act as a mulch. They are more on the wood chips than against the onions. These onions are from seed, and are looking like they could use a trim, too, though they are quite a bit smaller than the onions from sets.

The other row of spinach looks like we’ll be pulling it fairly soon, too.

Once those are out, we can plant something else. I still have radish and chard seeds that would work. Most likely, chard will be planted. We’re not big on radishes and, if the conditions had been better, they would have been planted much earlier to try their pods, rather than for their bulbs. It’s too late in the season to grow radishes for their pods, I think.

We’re nowhere near the stage where we can be harvesting something out of the garden every morning, so it was really nice to be able to have something like this now. What we don’t use fresh right away will be cleaned, trimmed, chopped and either frozen (at least the onions), or dehydrated (that worked really well for the spinach, last year).

If we do any dehydrating, though, we’ll be doing small batched in the oven, rather than using the screens. All the mint we had dehydrating, and by the time they were done, there was only enough left to barely fill a small jar. The cats wrecked the rest! At least with the mint, there is still lots in the garden.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: beets, lettuce and bunching onions. Also, cats!

Today has turned out to be a warmer day than predicted, and beautifully sunny. When heading out to do my morning rounds, I had a whole crowd of hungry kitties, waiting by the sun room door for me!

They were running around so much, I didn’t even try to count them. While putting food in the kibble house, TDG not only let me pet him, but let me pull the big ole wood tick in the tip of his ear! In fact, he didn’t even seem to notice I did it.

Which reminds me; while topping up the cat food last night, I got to touch Rosencrantz a bit and finally got a closer look at one of her ears. I thought she might have lost the tip to frost bite over the winter, but the tip is still there! It’s just badly torn. Not a new injury. Not much we can do about it, unfortunately.

The transplants got set outside for hardening off. They were supposed to be out for 5 hours, but we ended up bringing them in a bit early. The winds really picked up, and some of the pots were being blown around.

Wind or no wind, I was determined to get the old kitchen garden finally planted!

This is now our beet bed. We bought two types of beets this year, Cylindra and Bresko, plus we had some Merlin left over from last year. The support posts handily divided the bed into three sections, so that makes it easy to keep track of where one type starts and another one ends.

After the bed was seeded and watered, I broke open the roll of netting. This is the stuff my daughter picked out that I thought could be used for deer fencing. It’s a much finer net than I expected! The black just disappears, too, but in the photo, you can see where the excess is bunched up along the sides. I’m really glad I found that big bag of cheap tent pegs in the garage. We used quite a few of them to pin down the edges of the netting. The short ends are held in place at one end by a stick rolled up in the excess, while at the other end, the excess went under a board I was using to mark the end of the bed.

Next was the L shaped bed. Lettuce went into there. I thought I had 4 types of lettuce left over from last year, but it turned out one of the envelopes was empty. That actually worked out, for the amount of seeds in the remaining packets.

The hard part was covering the odd shaped bed. One of my daughters came out and we sized up a piece of netting for the longer part of the L shape and cut it. The netting is 14′ wide, so we stretched it out on the grass and cut it in half.

The short side of the L, up to the label you can see near the bottom of the photo, is one type of lettuce, which is about as much as the other two together! There were still a few seeds left over, including some that had spilled in the baggie the seed packets were in, so those got scattered in the odd little bit of space next to the rose bush. They didn’t get covered with netting; the space is too small to bother.

The long side of the L shape was pretty easy to cover, but the short side curves around the lilac and gets wider at the end. While I used pieces from the canopy tent frame as supports at one end, there weren’t enough of that length for the whole bed, so I dug out some metal support rods I got last year. They’re not very strong and some had pieces broken off, making them shorter. Those matched the tent frame pieces more easily, but other were full length. I could push most if them deep enough to match heights, but with a couple, I kept hitting rocks that were big enough, I couldn’t seem to get around it. That one stake that has a spider web of cords from it is the highest of them all, and there was no way I could adjust it to avoid the rock I was hitting, and still have it where I needed it. (The bottoms of water bottles are there to keep the netting from falling down the stakes) That extra height in particular made pegging the netting down more of a challenge. In the end, we just had to push some of the stakes inwards to create some slack. We managed it, though.

That left one more bed to plant in.

For this bed, I transplanted the Red Baron bunching onions, in little groups of 3 or 4 seedlings. These are not going to get covered, since nothing eats the onions. Hopefully, the cats will leave the bed alone!

While working on this, I checked out the small bed we planted the poppy seeds saved from last year. I think they are starting to come up, but there are so many things coming up with them, it’s hard to tell! For all the roots I dug out of these beds, we’re still going to have a lot of weeds to fight off.

Now, the only thing left in the old kitchen garden are the retaining wall blocks. I’d transplanted mint into alternating blocks, but they’re not showing yet. I don’t know if they’re going to show up later, or if they got killed by the winter cold. It takes a lot to kill mint, but they did just get transplanted. I’ll leave those for now, but still plan to plant things in the remaining blocks. I just haven’t decided what, yet, since we will likely not be covering those. Plus, this area gets shaded by the ornamental apple trees a lot. With the T posts there, we could put up trellis netting and plant climbers, but anything like that would be deer or groundhog buffet, so we would have to find a way to cover them. It was very difficult to cover the retaining wall blocks last year. We’d planted lettuce in it last year, which we were able to protect from the deer, but didn’t count on the groundhogs getting at them.

We’ll figure it out. We can tuck something into the blocks, later one. For now, I’m just glad to finally get this garden basically done!

Oh, before I forget, just a quite update on my mother. I called her up this morning, and she’s still in a lot of pain. She’s quite surprised by it, it seems. She’s also disappointed. She thought that the doctor would be able to fix her. I tried to explain, they can’t fix everything, but she started taking about how, with all the modern technology we have, there must be something. I had to go back to using my husband as an example, since he’s been dealing with debilitating back pain for a very long time now. Even if they technically could do surgery for one thing, the risk was too high for little benefit, and it would have to be done again in 2 years anyhow – and that wasn’t even for the main source of his pain, for which there is nothing that can be done other than painkillers and, for some of it, physio. He hasn’t been able to do physio since we moved here. Some things just can’t be fixed. I don’t think my mother realised just how fortunate she is to have reached 90 and not had to deal with something like this before.

Ah, well. It is what it is. We just deal with the hand we’re dealt with!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: first spinach sown, and onions transplanted

It was a bit cooler and overcast this morning, but still pleasant enough to get the plants outside for a couple of hours.

I am really happy with the newest seedlings. This tray has the cucumbers in the left half, with the Teddy and Red Kuri winter squash on the right. It took so long for the winter squash to germinate, I wasn’t sure they’d make it, but we have 100% gemination!

The purple peas in this tray are getting nice and big. The summer squash in the other cells took a long time to germinate, too, but they seemed to get a boost after I put the warming mat under them. It’s hard to see, but even the green zucchini is finally germinating, next to the peas. I thought the Magda squash had started to germinate, but not quite yet. We had less success with those the last 2 years we planted them, too. Our first year, we had only 2 surviving plants. Last year, there was just the one. Magda squash just seems to have a harder time of it.

So far, only 2 of the yellow zucchini have germinated. Last year, we had some germinate, but when they started producing fruit, they were green, and we no yellow zucchini at all. I’m hoping that won’t happen again, this year!

The transplants seem to be quite liking their time outdoors, and even the newest little tomatoes in the foreground are looking generally robust.

We have 3 Crespo squash – and they are budding! Would you look at that!

I considered pinching them off, but these first flowers would be all male flowers. The next batch of buds should be both male and female. So I’m thinking to just leave them? I don’t know. There is very little information out there on how to grow Crespo squash. They do seem to be very enthusiastic growers!

While moving the blooming Wonderberry in and out of the sun room, we have been brushing the 3 plants against each other, in hopes to pollinate them, just in case. I don’t know how if they are self pollinating or not. Nowhere I’ve looked about them even mentions pollinating.

The transplants were left out for 2 hours today, which gave me time to work on our very first direct sowing – and transplanting – in the high raised bed.

The first thing to do was dig trenches through the wood chip mulch, so that things could be seeded/planted into the soil beneath. We have three varieties of spinach seeds from last year, and for this bed, I chose Lakeside, which is the fastest maturing variety of the three. The tray of onions I grabbed are the red onions, Tropeana Lunga, which should look like this when they mature…

This image belongs to Heritage Harvest Seed. You can see what else we ordered with these, here.

By planting the onions around the spinach, they should help with keeping away harmful insects, and maybe even keep hungry critters away. The high raised bed is buffet height for deer, though, so we will be covering them later.

There is space to do a second planting of spinach in two weeks, which will also finish off the seeds we’ve got left of this variety.

The largest Tropeana Lunga seedlings filled the two outside rows, but there were still a few tiny seedlings left. The size that would be considered not worth planting. I hate to just toss seedlings, though, so I ended up sticking them in the soil at the base of the raised bed on the north end. When this was a low raised bed, it was quite a bit longer, so the soil is softer on that end. If they take, great. If not, that’s okay, too. We don’t have a lot of this variety, so I’m hoping to be able to overwinter a couple of bulbs to go to seed next year.

I was left with nice, soft potting soil in the tray the onions seedlings were growing in, so I used that to gently top the spinach seeds, and put just a little around each onion plant, more to keep the wood chips from falling onto them than anything else.

I have to say, I LOVE the high raised bed to plant in! It was completely pain free, with no strain on my joints. Well. I suppose that doesn’t include my arthritic fingers, but I didn’t even notice pain in my hands, either. It took me less than half an hour to plant into this bed

I didn’t bother watering these, since it was already starting to rain by the time I was finishing up. It’s been raining off an on, ever since. My daughter and I got a bit damp when we headed out later on, to figure out exactly where to plant our tree order when it comes in. With 30 silver bison berry to plant, those were the ones we need to figure out the most. They should be planted 3-4 ft apart. Since we are doing these as a privacy hedge, we will planting them 3 feet apart, with most of them along the east end of the garden area, leaving a lane just wide enough to drive through, if necessary, between them and the fence line. Taking into account where the phone line is buried, we’ll be able to plant two staggered rows of 10, though as we get closer to the spruce grove, we many need to jump the rows closer to the fence itself, to keep that driving lane open. There is a branch pile that will be in the way of any lane we leave open, but we’ll still be able to plant around it.

We’ve got 5 sea buckthorn that will be planted nearer the north fence line, to close a gap in the lilac hedge. Any remaining bison berry can also be planted along the lilac hedge, and still keep the lane over the telephone wire clear. This will leave a gap in the privacy hedge, once they’ve grown to full size, that will need fencing or a gate to close it off from deer.

The Korean pine are a whole other issue. Originally, I wanted to plant them in the space between the north side of the spruce grove, and the crab apple trees. These, however, have an 18 foot spread. At their mature size, they would completely fill that space, and we need at least some of it to be kept open to drive through. The alternative was along the north side, which would make an excellent wind break, but with that 18 foot spread and the lilac hedge, we’d be planting them on top of the phone line. Not going to happen.

Which means we’ll have to plant them in the outer yard.

Just past the fence on west side, which has a gate that leads into the garden, there is a space where we can plant 2 of them. Then there is the gate to the secondary driveway – our “emergency exit”, if you will. It was through here that one of our truck loads of garden soil was delivered.

The remaining 7 seedlings will need to be planted on the other side of that back gate, along where there is already a couple of rows of spruces, with some willows at the south end. If we plant them 18 feet apart (we might go with 16 feet), we will have a row of seedlings matching the length of the existing shelter belt trees.

The only problem with this is that the south end is currently under water.

Still, knowing that this is a low spot will help. We can make sure to basically build things up a bit, so that the seedlings will stay above water during spring melt.

Then we’ll have to make sure to put something over them to protect them from being eaten. I don’t know that deer would eat Korean pine, but they could certainly damage them, just by walking over them.

We have not yet received a shipping notice for the trees, but with so many holes to dig, the earlier we get started, the better. Hopefully, by the time they do arrive, we’ll be ready and can plant them right away.

Oh, I just double checked my order! We’re not getting 9 Korean pine. We’re getting 6.

Which means we won’t be digging holes in water, after all. 😀

It’s going to feel weird getting our little 2 yr old plugs and planting them so far apart. Especially since they will grow very slowly for the next 3 years. Which is exactly how my mother ended up planting so many trees way too close together! 😀

Oh, my goodness. I just checked the short range weather forecast, and it’s changed yet again. We’re supposed to get more rain over the next couple of days, then for the two days after that, we’re supposed to get a mix of rain and snow!

What I planted in the high raised bed should be cold hardy enough to handle that, but we might cover it anywhere, just in case, at least for the night.

Last year, May was a very warm month. On this exact day last year, we had a new record high of 30C/86F. The record low for today, -4C/24F, was set in 2002.

After a long, cold winter, it seems we’re getting a wet cold spring.

Still, there are things we can plant. I just hope things warm up decently in June, so we can get the warm weather transplants in!

The Re-Farmer