Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring planting continues

My favorite plum tree - blooming already!

Spring is HERE! We have baby goats, flowering trees...and planted seeds as proof. I had so many little updates after all our hard work last weekend that I decided to do one big 'picture post' to cover them.

So last weekend we got a lot done around the homestead. I was off Thurs & Fri and between those two days and a weekend with only a little rain, we were able to be very productive. First off, we finally got those codling moths out into the apple trees. I still need to make a few more, but we are pretty well covered now.

Codling moth traps hanging in our apple trees.

Then we set about using the rope hand-held chain saw that I ordered to remove a few high branches. Our neighbor to the south lives on a very, overgrown piece of land. The trees are super tall and a couple of them had HUGE branches that hung over and shaded one of our apple trees. We wanted to cut them down, but they were so high, they were well out of reach of our ladder. Even a ladder combined with a chainsaw on a pole might not have been enough. So I searched online and found the nifty little tool we used.

While I've seen lots of people complaining about this tool, it worked great for us. One branch split before we'd sawed all the way through, but it was not 100% heathy to begin with...the other branch worked great. One of us sawed while the other pulled on a rope tied further out on the branch to keep it from falling directly onto the apple tree. I can't wait to see how this tree produces now that it'll get some sun!

The tree we were trying to help is circled in blue...and the branches we cut in red. If you click on the photo - you can see it larger.

Then we went to work in the garden. With the hay I cleaned out of the goat shed, we mulched the berry brambles.

With some extra compost we had, we 'fed' the grape vines.

Then I moved one of the square foot gardening boxes. I have created a plan to move almost all of them eventually. I want to move them closer together, add another row, and then put down mulch or gravel on the walkways inbetween. Having to mow that grass is a pain and I was annoyed at how much grass started growing in the boxes. I think we'll be better off getting rid of a lot of it. Anyway, I planted in the one box that will remain where it is and then I moved one more box so that I could plant there as well. I planted 5 different kinds of peas (snap peas, snow peas and peas that you shell) and three different kinds of spinach in the boxes. I also left space to plant more next week so that we stagger the harvest a bit.

The boxes in the middle of the move. Only the one in the foreground has changed so far - it moved to the left to make room for another box next to it.

The box where I have spinach and peas planted. The 4 squares that look a little drier than the others is where I'll plant more spinach next week.

Rick set about planting our potatoes. We did two garbage cans full of them (which I will post more about later) and one long row in the row garden area. Rick dug that row last weekend (while the ground was wet and reasonably soft). He then planted multiple types of potatoes (Yukon golds, russets, red, etc). We even planted a few potatoes that we'd grown last year (as an experiment). We did it differently (and in a different area) than last year. Instead of planting them in the ground and mounding dirt on top of them, he dug a trench, losened the bottom soil and then planted them in it. Then, as they grow, we'll cover them with the soil we dug out of the trench. I can't wait to see how it all works!

Rick planting potatoes in his beautifully dug trench.

The full trench - after all the potatoes have been planted. Sweet potatoes will go elsewhere (it's too early for them).

Lastly, we spent a little time taking stock of all that is growing in our greenhouse. This coming weekend, I'll be planting more tomatoes (starts) and a few other things to supplement what we've already got going. Our tomatoes from the first planting are doing really, really well. I hope we can get them into the ground before they start fruiting!!

Our mish-mash of plantings. Every time I see this shelf, I think 'a rag-tag fugitive fleet' from the introduction to the original Battlestar Galatica. I don't watch the new verision - I wonder if they use the same line?

Our first tomato seedlings - now almost full plants. How cool is that?

Lastly, just because they are so darn cute...another goat baby photo. This is Sass taking care of Oreo and ...wait for it... Pepe (after Pepe Le Pew). Both boys are getting playful and curious already. I forsee a full time job of keeping track of those guys in our near future!

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