Tag Archives: Orchards

Surveying Cellar Food Stores_Preparing the Garden Site

The Cellar

The Cellar

I just took some empty jars to the cellar and took an accounting of what is left from summer 2016 canning.

Full shelves from canning season 2016!

They were completely full in October but now supplies are dwindling!

We have a huge pile of potatoes leftover and will probably sell them in the coming months.  I’ll can about 15-20 quarts but the rest will go in the garden for seed and we’ll eat some more until they start sprouting.  They’re bakers and peeling size and have been so good throughout the winter.

Hubby has plowed the garden and we’re hoping we’ll get some spring rain on it before we disk it up for planting.

We use the Kubota tractor for plowing.

Our garden site has very rich soil and always produces more than we can eat and preserve.

It also seems to get bigger each year!!!  This year we’ll plan the usual crops of green beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, melons, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and in the fall some turnips and field greens.

Hope your planting season is grand and praying we have an abundant season this year.  In the coming weeks I’ll be cleaning off the various asparagus patches we have and watching the rhubarb show its sprouts already.  I had six grape vines started new last year and they all survived but one.  I bought this red grape to replace it.

It’s a red seedless grape and I love them. Hope they get as large as the one’s we buy in the grocery but know it will be a couple of years before that happens.

We also went to Food Lion yesterday and bought three dwarf apple trees for the orchard at the mansion.

Dwarf red delicious – once this starts bearing fruit we’ll take cuttings from it and graft to some new root-stock or some wild apple trees we find every year on the farm that we’ll transplant to the orchard.

Dwarf yellow delicious-dwarf trees don’t last as long as standard trees but they give you fruit quicker.

This is a dwarf McIntosh which is hubby’s favorite. We have one tree in our large orchard but it’s really old and we lose an old standard about every year.

This is the mansion orchard where the dwarf trees will be planted. The pond is close by and a mountain spring runs through it to make for easy watering.

Last years grape arbor is where the new red grape will be planted and is right beside our garden.

 

 

 

Adding To Our Fruit Crop

Apple crops

Apple crops

Grape arbor in the backyard.

Grape arbor in the backyard.

Every spring I try to add 2-4 new fruit trees to our dwindling orchards.  The past few years have been apples and peaches.  My daughter got me two new cherry trees for our anniversary and they’ve been planted in the back of the apple orchard and fenced to keep the deer from eating them up.  Last year I planted four new grape vines along with some English walnut trees .  All of the grapes have survived but I lost one walnut tree.

This year I ordered two Green Gage Plum  trees and two Black Tartarian Cherry  trees from  Aaron’s Farm (http://www.aaronsfarm.com/) .  The plum trees are three years old and about four feet tall and the cherry trees are three years old and 5-6 feet tall.  The were shipped bare root and pre-pruned.  We set them out yesterday evening and watered them well which I will continue to do daily until we get some rain and there after as needed daily or weekly depending on the moisture in the ground.

The Green Gage plum tree is an ancient European plum descendant that has been extensively grown and propagated in England and France since the 1700’s. My grandparents had these plums on their farm in Paint Bank, VA for years when I was a young child and we would eat them until they ran out our ears.  I’ve not seen any for years and have been looking for them for about five years and lucked out with Aaron’s Farms this spring.  I can’t wait to have some “green gages” in a couple of years.  Green Gage plums are green-skinned when completely ripe with a pink overlay at the base of the fruit when tree ripened.  The flavor is deliciously sweet with a slight sour taste to the skin.

The black cherries are my husbands favorite and most of the cherry trees on our farm have died or only produce pea size cherries.  I’m hoping these will bring back some good memories especially when I make him some cherry pies in a couple of years.

Black Tartarian Cherry Tree

The Black Tartarian Cherry tree is a sweet cherry with a black skin and bright red pulp. They  are cold hardy which is one of the reasons I chose this type.
I can’t remember the name of the cherry trees my daughter got for me but think they are a red cherry.
Now we have blue plum, wild red plums, pears, rhubarb, peaches, apples of all kinds, grapes, gojiberries, blackberries, and raspberries on the farm.  Plenty of fruit to add to our meals and snacks.Newest grape arborNewest grape arbor

End of Summer clues

You know that summer is coming to an end when the kids start back to school but the real clues are when the garden is being cleaned off for the fall crops, the woodshed is full and the cellar shelves are stocked. I was riding home yesterday and saw a hint of gold and orange in the tops of maple trees on our road. Last night we saw a herd of deer near the house and three of the larger bucks had lost the velvet from their horns. The apples are starting to drop and the wildlife is scarfing it up almost before it hits the ground. The hummingbird population has dropped from 30 to 10 or 12. The chickens molt has come to an end and the new feathers are shining. The cats and dogs on the farm have almost quit shedding. The katydids are screaming way before dark and the evening porch sitting is so much cooler. Best of all, the screech owls are calling!! Fall is near!!