Saturday, November 10, 2012

Strawberries, garlics, and walking onions

 Couldn't ask for better weather!

 We're about to take off to put in a strawberry patch in at one of the other gardens we work. The area has already been prepped. Lots of compost turned in to fluff up the soil and add nutrients, stones that have surfaced have been removed.. all set and ready to go!

 We're relocating some everbearing strawberries. Dug up so that we could retain as much of the root system as possible.. even keeping the runners attached. Keeping a rootball on it makes it easier for me to transplant. Strawberries do best when planted at the proper depth. They also just love a surge in nutrients that well made compost provides, which results in larger more robust plants producing larger more robust berries.

 Also going in is garlic and some perennial onion sets. I was hoping to get several heads of some locally grown hardneck strains, but I didn't get there in time and it was sold out. So softnecks and the few hardnecks I have from the farmer's market are going in. No doubt I'll wish we planted more! (Isn't that always the case every year?)

 The bed that is getting garlic is also heavily amended with compost but will get a little extra by way of bone meal. Cold temperatures triggers garlic to break dormancy. The first thing it does is start laying down the root structure. In areas with really wet, really cold winters.. heaving is an issue. Waterlogged soil that freezes hard can break the roots and basically eject the garlic. Putting in a lot of well aged compost helps provide drainage but some areas may need to go a step further and mulch. We're not mulching. We're about as rebellious as Captain Kangaroo. Oh yeah. Gardening on the wild side.

 What I am also excited about (and it's making me wish spring was already here!!) is that I get to do some guerilla grafting. The apples we gleaned this fall we kept track of to figure out what we liked about them, early/mid/late production, size, storage qualities, uses. The owners of several exceptional apple trees have said I can collect some scions (cuttings) this coming spring so I can do some grafting. I'll be spreading it out quite a bit (with luck).. by grafting them on to some wild apple and crabapple trees.

 Well, time is flying by and days are so short. Good luck to you all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Murphy's law and the tasty cableboy

 Not long after the last post.. Murphy's law activated.

 The sewer line is old terra cotta pipe that tree roots have been invading. A problem we have been having to deal with repeatedly. Add to that water weeping in after a decent rain. YAY!  So the house settled just enough that the sewer line was utterly kaput in several locations.

 Hundreds of pounds of produce in my house..... and no plumbing!!!!!!

 Our neighbors came to the rescue and for the next 2 weeks they opened their homes to us.

 Luck is that during this time our one elderly neighbor threw out his back and my husband found him not long after he was incapacitated. My husband carried our neighbor down the stairs and all the way to the car... then off to the doctor. I cooked for him and as well other neighbors would check in to make sure he was ok. A week of rest, several more trips to the doctor, and some industrial strength pain meds he was good to go.

 The concrete guys who came to redo the line were wonderful. I sent them off with tomatoes, eggs, melons, peppers, squash, apples, and an assortment of my jars. It was better to give away what I could than let it spoil. They accidently hit the water main and flooded the yard.. which created a massive mudslide that covered the neighbor's driveway as he is downhill from us. Then nailed the cable line which was barely 2 inches underground when they refilled the 8 foot deep trench. They kept the work site clean, even cleaning up the sidewalk and our neighbor's driveway. They also neatly piled the old copper pipes and solid lead pipe in the basement. This was particularly lovely of them. Often if you don't specify you want that metal.. it has a way of magically disappearing from a site. 

 The cable life  line snapped and I rather enjoyed it. I ended up meeting yet another neighbor (Julie) while I was raking leaves. She's also into gardening (flowers).. but is working 3 jobs so she can't get to it like she wants. Even better.. she is as well a seed thief.. with connections! She needed a hand moving, so I helped her. She's just outside of town at a place that she can garden as much as she wants. The hitch.. cattle. There is no fence keeping the bovine away from the house. The house is in a pasture. Come this spring.. we'll be helping her put in some fencing. Until then, we get to hear tales about the cow that was on the patio.. and calling in late to work as 3 young bulls were between her and getting to her car. Clanging pots & pans no longer scary enough to convince them to move.

 The cable line was finally replaced... yesterday. They've dinked around in my house trying everything, except fixing the obvious cable wires sticking out from the middle of the lawn like a pulled thread. (The cute cable guy is in his early 20's.. and many years ago when I was single.. I'd be inviting a few girl friends over and breaking the cable darn near daily. Although back in those days.. it was a fireman in his boxers.. but that is another tale.) The dog loves Cableboy. As he busily swaps equipment and types on his laptop.. our dog stares adoringly and randomly licks. The first time.. the guy was wedged behind the entertainment center as he was stretching to get at the cords. The dog licked his arm..the flailing was just 1 indicator that he was caught off guard. I don't know what it is about this kid.. but my dog finds him tasty.

 Things are finally in working order.

 Some of the construction guys are friends with Buddy across the street. They were wondering if I have a farmstand and hoping to get more jarred goods. Next year... hopefully.

 Next year is going to be insanely busy. Right now is still super busy. I'm actually looking forward to when things slow down... Just not yet. Not until I finish planting more garlic, moving these strawberry plants and dividing the hostas.