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Thursday, February 05, 2009

What We are Doing: Early Feb.

It is mid winter but not to early to start planting things for the market garden. So far we have planted several kinds of onions and 2 kinds of leeks (I am waiting on the seed to arrive for the Musselburgh leeks, an heirloom am excited to try). We also have started White Russian and Winterbor kale.

Soon we will start lettuce for head lettuce (I do not mean iceberg lettuce. All lettuce comes in heads be it leaf, bibb, buttercrunch, lollo or iceberg) inside under lights along with broccoli, cabbage and chard. Most of these things will go into a hoop house for a few weeks until it stops getting really cold at night. Than the hoop houses will be removed and they will be under row covers for the rest of their lives.

In March we will do a lot more seeds. More broccoli, lettuce and cabbage will be sowed indoors along with early zucchini, tomatoes and peppers. We will also start celeriac, parsley, rosemary (which takes about 3 to 5 weeks to germinate and has very low germination too boot) and early basil. Out doors we will start transplanting the onions and leeks and will sow seed for spring mix, arugula, scallions, spinach, parsnips and plant shallot sets. I believe we also have plans to open up more beds so we have more planting room.

We prune fruit trees and deal with the raspberry and blackberry brambles in late Feb/early March. Pruning is amazing important. Without proper pruning the quality of fruit goes way down quickly as does yield. The first year we were here we were faced with 3 apple trees that had not been properly pruned in at least a decade (if they ever were pruned correctly). the fruit was small and full of bugs and disease. the trees themselves were less than healthy and had a lot of kind of dead wood on them. So Eugene did what one should not normally do-he took off nearly 50% of the trees. You generally do not want to take more than 1/3 in any given year but these trees needed major help so they were well pruned. Since than the apples have been much bigger and much higher quality and Eugene has not had to prune more than 25% of the trees since than. The brambles are much easier to deal with because we put them in.

The heritage raspberries get mowed down in late winter because they are an everbearing and we have found the do best if they are not allowed to set fruit in the spring. The Latham raspberries have to have all the old canes removed along with any canes that cross other and canes we don't want. You want to end up with no more than 6 canes per linear foot. Last year these berries went nuts and had a bumper crop (I have never seen so many berries in my life!) so there is a lot of stuff to remove this year. Once we remove everything we will also remove any perennial weeds (dandelion, thistle, etc..) and than put on a nice 6" layer of mulch which is generally a mix of straw and cedar chips to feed the berries, keep the soil on the acid side and keep the weeds down (not that many weeds can compete with these brambles)

The other thing we will plant sometime in March are nut trees. We ordered something like 10 nut trees and when ever they arrive they will go in the ground. We have a fantasy of developing a nut grove. I'll bet the local squirrels will love us for this idea

1 comment:

OhioMom said...

I know this is probably your busy season, miss the pics of your farm .. can't wait for an update :)