Now that we are on the other side of the recent cold snap, plants are starting to come outside. The new deck is a great staging area for the house plants that are heading towards their summer locations. We have found that we do not do as well as we should keeping plants watered when they are indoors during the growing season. So - out they go!
The whole house siding project did a number on the perennial beds around the house.
Ok, back up. The perennial beds around the house have been in decline for a few years for a whole host of reasons. The work on the siding is the proverbial straw... So, we now have a pile of wood mulch in our driveway. I wonder what we'll do with that? One would think we just needed one more thing to do.
One example of things not going he way we hoped (or envisioned). This poor azalea would have loved any other home other than our farm. Ok, granted, it has lived for many years. But, our soil is not acidic enough to encourage them to thrive, the winter weather is often a bit too harsh and... Well, the farmers are just too busy to treat it with a little extra TLC to help it do well here. Every year, it gets a little smaller and a little sadder. Yet, every year, it gives us some flowers.
Speaking of not going the way we wanted. Remember that 25 degree Fahrenheit low. This is what it does to Gingko tree leaves. Ouch. It has happened to this tree before and it will likely bounce back. Sadly, the Gingko has loved our farm either. The last few years of very wet weathers has been rough on many of our woody perennials.
The spruce trees near the ash trees are looking pretty happy this year. This is a very good thing because the ash trees are in rapid decline. We are actually surprised the ashes have SOME leaves. But, it is clear the Emerald Ash Borer has reached our farm and our trees are the next victims.
Happily, the apple trees waited to bloom until AFTER the freeze. The tree shown above is our 'miracle tree.' Days after we planted it, a strong wind snapped the tree off about a foot off the ground. We did not get around to pulling the stump out immediately and were surprised to find a decent start above the graft line. With nothing really to lose, we let it go. This is now the healthiest and sturdiest of our apple trees.
The bees and pollinators are VERY happy right now. The dandelions were looking their absolute best today and there were numerous bees, bumblebees and other critters checking them out. Their fragrance is always a little surprising to me when I pick a stem and take a sniff.
I know some people don't think well of dandelions, but as you take the virtual tour of our farm, you may notice that we welcome them and are happy to have them most anywhere. About the only time we don't care for the dandelions is when we have a carpet of dandelion seed heads and we have to mow.
The swale digging project is moving forward. I realize it is hard to see if you don't know what you are looking at, but here is our first 500' long swale in the East fields. It took quite a while to do, but we are really hopeful this will lead to future success.
The garlic is looking good now and we actually decided the soil temperatures and the forecast were favorable enough to put the first batch of zucchini and summer squash in the ground. You *might* be able to see the newly germinating borage just to the right of the zucchini. The sunflowers, zinnia and peas are all coming up in this plot as well. The carrots and beets are annoying us with a 'slow reveal.'
The field we call "Middle Earth" has had potatoes planted in hills for about ten days. Today, we got the green beans and some flowers in. Sadly, Mr. ChuckyMcWoodchuckChucksWoodandEatsBroccoliPlants likes to tour this area. So, Tammy set up an electric fence in hopes that we could curl the varmint's fur a bit and keep him away from the plants we are trying to raise.
We'll end today's tour by showing you something that isn't like that anymore! The two 'portable' buildings shown here will be the new homes for our the nuggets starting on Tuesday of the coming week. We move these buildings every 2 to 3 days and enclose them in electric netting (with solar powered chargers). To prepare for this event, Rob and Rosie (the farm tractor) took them out to the pasture areas that they will enjoy for the next several weeks. The goal is to keep the birds in the brooder room through tonight and Sunday's rain, then move them on out to much nicer accommodations.