Monday, June 7, 2010

Lots to do....

Since i didn't feel like writing for a couple days, i have some stuff to catch up on.

I need to start taking some pictures too.  I took the cover off all the hoops to do some work under them the other day.  I left off the cover that was over the melon row since the plants have grown quite a bit.
It rained all weekend so the ground is now nicley moist. We even had some tornado warnings yestrerday.  The system that had what was reported to have a funnel cloud actually passed within 5 miles of where we live. So it was a bit surreal for a while watching radar loops and the news station.  We did get some pretty hefty winds and some huge rain drops.  I didn't look under the hoops yet, but the wind only pulled one hoop out of one socket but everything stayed put.

I have a few mail order items to expect in the next week or so. Henry Field's does not have an estimated arrival date with their UPS tracking feature.
My grapes, blueberries and lingonberries are on their way from Stark's, that should b here by Wednesday
Burpee has shipped my weed barrier, but not my grapes yet. But the weed barrier is expected to arrive tomorrow.

My Big Hip roses came in on Friday and they look good. The ebay auction was for 5 plants but it looks like i got 7. Yay!

I did get the corn planted on Friday as planned. Three types.
Stowell's Evergreen
Golden Bantam

I planted them in the last half of my Tomato row and it rained shortly after they were planted, so i should see them come up fairly soon.

I need to try and get my stakes in the ground soon, for the grapes.  I don't know if i should dig up the Suffolk Red.  I need to take down the little trellis i made for it to put up my new stuff....  its not going to survive a winter up here.  I think even if i go to heroic lengths to shelter it, it won't ever recover enough to fruit. I might try to keep it in a pot if i can't find a home for it.

I tried to Round up the grass and stuff under the electric fence, but it rained less than 3 hours after i sprayed it.  So i might have to do it all over again today.
I think i'll put the cardboard down too.  I think i will lay that out, plug in the posts and then put the weed barrier right over the cardboard and then plant the grapes.  I hope the cardboard will attract the worms as it breaks down. The area that i plan to put the grapes in looks pretty barren right now so it needs some compost too.  I don't know if i can get the Mantis into it, but i'd like to.

I spent some time trying to decide what trelising method i want to use on the grapes. I'd kind of like to be systematic about it. Make a real plan instead of just plant them and watch them take over everything. My first thought was to do what turns out to be similar to what is called  Four Arm Kniffen.  It looked like the simplest plan, but i guess it is better for some grape types and not so much for others.  I'm having a hard time finding the info on which method is best for which of the grapes i have.  Its been a bit confusing trying to research this.
I have gotten a lot of use out of the charts at Double A Vineyard's site.  The chart recommends Top Wire Cordon for 3 of the four grapes that i am getting. The last wants a Modified Munson. After much research, i know what those are and in finding that i also read that those styles may not be the greatest for cold areas like mine.  These training methods carry the cordons on the topmost wires- and in the winter they are very exposed to cold.  I do not have any desire to lay down these plants each fall, which is why i chose Zone 3-4 hardy vines. Except for Reliance. Hopefully the extra padding of a lower zone will make up for lack of extensive winter protection.  The most i would intend to do is wrap them in burlap or sandwich them with straw bales.

ANyway, the most asthetically pleasing trellis method i have seen is the Low or Mid Wire Cordon. The main part of the vines take on a candelabra shape.  I have read that it is an acceptable method for cold regions since the snow cover will help protect the cordons and in the summer the heat radiating back from the ground is helpful for ripening.

Good thing is that it will take a few years to establish this shape and as long as i don't lose the vines to a harsh winter, i have plenty of time to decide before i am committed to one method.

You Tube has actually been quite helpful in picking up the vocabulary of the world of grapes and also lets me get  an idea of what to look for as the plants grow.

I think we have decided to let the big apple tree go. It looks pretty sad this year. The leaves are small, it has no apples, and its such a mess. I was advised that i could just lop it off at the point where it bends over and it might re-branch itself.  I'd like to try that, but it dosen't solve the issue of the trees being within 4' of eachother.  If the big tree wasn't so thin this year, the little tree wouldn't be getting half the light it is getting now.  If we get the big tree healthy, the little tree will decline.  The little tree is in decent shape so far, so it would be a real shame to let a declining tree ruin a good one.
I think there is a chance if we cut the big one down to a tall stub, i could send it to my parents.  They have an apple tree there that is about to go, this might make a fair replacement once it recovers.  At the very least,  this tree can be stripped of bark and chipped up for smoking meats. It won't go to waste.
I don't know for certain, but with all the wild apples around here, i might not need a second apple as a polinator. I'm not 100% sure-  but i did learn a bit from a Chuck Ingals video i came across that if you don't have a polinator tree, the next best thing is to find another apple tree that is in bloom, pick a few stems and bring them home to your own tree.  It was kind of funny because in the example picture he used (it was a filmed power-point lecture) he had used a vase to hold the bunch of blossoms and had to carefully balance the vase in the branches of the tree. He had laughed at himself because he was asked at a previous lecture why he didn't use a bag of water and just tie it to a branch....  it was amusing.  I'm not exactly sure where someone might get fresh apple blossoms from a distant place, but i could get them from my parents' and maybe a nearby orchard won't object if i ask to carefully pick a few small twigs.  Anyway, it is an option at least until i could get another apple  to blooming size if i discover next year that the wild apples weren't enough.

After a few days of rain, its nice to see the sun out.  We are getting some stiff breezes but the air is warm.
I'm also going to try and get the Grapefruit tree outside. I usually get its summer vacation started a few days earlier than this and the rainy days would have been perfect, but i kept putting it off.  The plant is upstairs in a window and though its not really heavy, the pot and stand is awkward and Grapefruit trees have thorns!

Oh, did i mention that on Friday i also got all my little marigold seedlings planted out in the garden, most of the basil, all the rosemary, the sage, nasturtiums, and all those little odd herb and veggie seedlings from the re-sown onion flat (the ones that had blown over in the greenhouse). I put out the chives too and most of the Welsh onions.  They are perennials like chives, but thicker, white-flowered and more like garlic in flavor. I'm giving some to my parents as well.
I'm also giving my mom most of the perennial seedlings i sowed. I hadn't decided for sure what i was going to do with the front and side flowerbeds at the time i planted the seeds, but by the time we dig out the flowerbeds this fall, it will be too late for the seedlings to get a good grip before winter.  So i hope to plant some at my mom's within the next handful of weeks.  They are gaillardia and ornamental rudbeckia and a couple of the rose root plants.  I might keep the pleurisy root since its more of a wildflower and though i love the half-wild look in most plants, my mom prefers the more refined looking things, so it might not be as welcome in her garden. The rudbeckia would be pushing it if she didn't like the wild ones as much as she does.

I really want to just start ripping the messy flower beds out right now, but i need a more reliable babysitter and stronger pain medicine for that.

My niece, who is now expecting her first baby, helped me dig it out the first time.  I sure wish she was here to play in he dirt with me right now. lol

I have to coordinate prepping the fenceline for the blueberries.  I don't think my soil is quite acidic enough. It seems to be close to neutral, so i want to try and take a few large Rubbermaid type totes to my parents' and load up on fallen pine needles. I could till them in before planting or i could mulch the plants with it.  It shouldn't take much i imagine. I'll have to watch for ticks though!

I still haven't harvested castings from the worm bin yet.
...and i think it might be too late to plant annual seeds and expect much.
I can't say i don't have enough things to do!


i just checked my email and i got a note from Stark's.  I won't be getting my Lingonberry this year, they ran out. *sniffle*

They are going to refund me the difference.  I hope i don't get another email telling me they are out of something else i ordered. I can accept the lingonberry, but i can't accept the grapes or blueberries not being available. I may be downright angry if anything else is out of stock, especially after they already told me everything was sent.  I'm bracing myself for more frustration. Grapes take 4 years to bear, i don't need any setbacks.

Of course, the refund of about $10 will allow me to buy a book on grapes through Amazon for Kindle for PC.
 I may order lingonberries again next year if i have enough room, i tend to fill up spaces quickly.  Nature abhors a vacuum, and i have a lot of goji seedlings....and 2 beach plums...


Faith said...

Round-Up is usually rain-proof within 30 minutes. Check the label.

Yup, I love YouTube. The help I have received from generous videographers makes me so grateful! I have learned many things. :o)

People often have crabapple trees for decor in their yards. That would do if one is near.

LOL Busy, busy, busy!


icebear said...

It looks like the Roundup just started to do its work before the rain, but it only did a halfway job. It has been too breezy to safely reapply yet.

Its amazing how useful YouTube is i have learned and re-learned many crafty tasks on it.

If a crab apple is sufficient as a pollinator then i will be well off, there are a ton of them around here :o)