Sunday, June 1, 2008

Fruits of our labors

I have a strong desire to plant some gooseberries and currants this year so that's in the works. I also put in a request to the Farmer to plow up a nice long stretch of the pasture to plant a patch of strawberries, as well. With the help of a devoted gardening neighbor who also wants strawbs, we are planning a BIG patch.Spent some time researching varieties online, but my hope was to find the heirloom strawberry of my youth. My grandparents and dad always planted Fairfax. I've been looking for years. They were huge and deep red, but not a good market berry, apparently so they may have been lost to hybridization. I won't give up. Sparkle and Earliglow are grandchildren of Fairfax, but not quite the same. I read somewhere that Suwannee and Belrubi actually taste better than Fairfax. That is simply hard to believe!This is one of three apple trees that we grafted at a grafting workshop at Landis Valley Farm Museum maybe eight years ago now. One didn't make it but the other two are popping with fruit this year. Unfortunately, I wish I could share the name of this heirloom variety. All three had a copper labels tied on with copper wire that just somehow disappeared over the years! I know that one of them was a Spitzenburg apple, reported to be one of Thomas Jefferson's favorite apples. But it could also be a Stayman, which is my favorite apple. Just keeping my fingers crossed that they grow to good eating size this year, whatever they are.
After many years of pruning experimentation, the Concords look like they have decided to gift us with a future good harvest. Definitely going to have to figure out a way to keep our fruit-loving hens away from them this year. They go crazy for the grapes, jumping a foot off the ground to accurately pluck a ripe one from the bunch.
The blueberries are absolutely loaded with fruit this year. I think they are so beautiful when they are this color. The girls have already stripped a few of the low branches, but these particular bushes are high ones. These branches are especially appealing to mockingbirds. I think I'll invest in a little netting this year. I like to share with my feathered friends, but they don't know when to stop or how to fly away from my washline to do their business.This is the two year old patch of elders we planted in a damper, shadier spot behind the barn. Our three garden elders are the parents of these newbies and they are budding up well. Looks like we should have enough to finally harvest enough flowers and berries this year. There is elderflower 'champagne' and elderberry mead, (as well as enough syrup to last the winter) in the forecast this year.


Clare said...

Sue, everything looks great! Best get those apples thinned out though, so you'll have a chance a a nice sized apple come harvest time...

Susan said...

Thanks, Clare. I have wondered about this. The other branches are not nearly this full. Do you think I should take very other one? This many apples on the tree is new to me!

Tina Sams said...

Hey! I put gooseberries and currants in this year too! The plants came with bare root stock, and I let them dry out too much (bad gardener! Bad!). They're just now starting to recover.


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