SPRING IS LATE BUT IT IS RUSHING IN NOW!

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Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 02-04-2014

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Last Thursday I checked the Wisteria in anticipation of scheduling our 4th Annual Wisteria Soiree.  The bloom had just started to swell.  I checked again today (or should I say panicked) when I noticed that we had a 10% bloom underway.  That is quick.  Five days and the rush to make up for the delayed Spring has begun.  I am scheduling the Soiree for FRIDAY, APRIL 4TH AT 3:30 TILL   and hoping that there will be many blooms and that the weather is sunny.  I know this is short notice but the rain threat next week forces my hand.   For those of you who don’t know about this event, we hold it each Spring when the Wisteria is in bloom and invite all who get this blog to attend.  It is always a delightful late afternoon/evening gathering where we all enjoy each others company, the garden and the food brought by our guest (wine, soft drinks, cheeses, fruit, , horsd’oeuvres, and whatever else along with boiled shrimp which we provide.  Please let me know if you plan to come { (843) 524-9649 – or email at seaislandman@islc.net} so that I have enough shrimp.  Also bring a chair so you won’t have to stand in the garden.  The swings under the Wisteria arbor as usually full.  We look forward to seeing you there.

PLUM BLOSSUMS

Our pear and plum trees have already bloomed but the citrus is just now starting to regrow green leaves as they lost everything this winter.  I was afraid that some of the trees would not recover (one has not – a grapefruit) but it looks like most will come back.  I don’t know what kind of a fruit load they will carry this year but anything is better than I feared.   Our 20+ trees can usually handle a quick drop into the mid teens but we had 36 hours at 18 degrees followed by 24 more a week later at 18 degrees.  We did loose all leaves and fruit but they are now greening up with a few lost branches.

 

This winter we completed our building project to convert the entire garden into raised beds.  The practical results are that we can manage our soils better, control the weed growth in each bed and along the walkways between the beds, better organize our rotation plan and apply our drip irrigation more effectively.  The beds are supposed to warm up faster in the spring for earlier crop growth.  We will see.

The most difficult part of creating the beds after the actual construction which was completed by Davis, my son, Cam,  my grandson, Keegan and myself is to fill the beds with a rich soil from which we can build a better soil.

PA PA !  PLEASE  650 PIXELS

Keegan and Katie working the new beds.  Keegan is a real farmer and has claimed a 4 x 4 bed for himself.

 

Sketter’s Seedlings

I have know Frank Gardner (Sketter) for 40 years.  He is a fine cabinet and furniture maker as well as a builder.  Several years ago, he built a swiveling greenhouse (moves to follow the sun) in his back yard and he sprouts many of his own vegetables which he grows in his garden.  This year he had extra plants and offered to sell some to me.  I jumped at the chance because they are non-GMO seedlings and much nicer than I grow myself or purchase from Lowes.

SKETTER'S ROTATING GREENHOUSE

Sketter’s greenhouse

 

SKETTER'S TOMATOES AND EGGPLANTS

Part of Sketter’s garden.

 

SKETTER -OUT STANDING- IN HIS GARDEN

Sketter “out standing” in his garden.

 

I have planted the plants I got from Sketter in our new raised beds and have jumped back to watch them grow.

PLANTED  NEW BEDS

Eggplant and tomato plants in new beds.

 

The fig hedge rootings are sprouting new growth and I expect them to grow into the hedge this year.  My experimental plants have attained heights of 4 feet (where I prune them off and have spreads to 4 feet wide.  Once grown out, the hedge will be easy to net and pick unlike harvesting and protecting the 15 foot plants they usually grow into.  Our hedge is the Brown Turkey variety but I am rooting the Celeste variety to make an additional hedge and hopefully extend the harvest time.

BROWN TURKEY FIG ROOTINGS

One year old fig rooting.

 

I pruned the blackberries back as the literature suggest and set 100 rootings under large bell jars (made from 5 gallon water bottles).  I plan to plant them along the inside of the garden fence where the birds and gardeners can get their fill.

ROOTING BELL JARS

Rooting bell jars for the blackberries.  Note the spearmint invading the bed.

 

BLACKBERRY ROOTINGS

Blackberry rootings.

 

FRESH BLACKBERRY SPROUTS

New growth on existing blackberries.

 

I can’t wait until the berries come in.  It is a joy to pick a couple gallons for morning breakfast and an afternoon cobbler not to mention the fresh garden snacking.

Bees are flying like crazy – all three hives.  I will probably have to split them mid Spring to avoid swarming.  Anyone want to take up bee keeping?

Gordon

 

 

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