Saturday was a wonderful spring day. Lots of sun and mild temperatures. It was wonderful to see and chat with my neighbors. Many I had not seen very much during the cold months.
I had to open the cold frames during the warm parts of the day so the plants would not burn.
I raked up several pockets of old leaves. The wind blows them and hides the leaves around a couple of corners of the house.
After raking the leaves and a couple of flower beds I moved to the raspberry beds.
I pruned the red and black raspberries. Both beds have more plants in them than they should. To improve plant health and productivity I cut out anything small or old. I do not want the plants trying to grow small canes and new canes while trying to produce fruit. Pruning also makes it easier to harvest fruit. The only task I need to complete is to tie the raspberry canes to the guide wire.
On Friday I planted the heirloom tomato seeds I purchased from the Medomak Valley High School heirloom seed project. Three types of “sauce” or roma-style tomatoes. The fourth is a yellow tomato developed by a teacher who passed away about ten years ago. I am honored to continue his work. I also planted four parsley plants. I continue to try to improve my herb going.
This past Tuesday I attended an Apple Tree Grafting class offered by the Schuyler County Cooperative Extension. The class was taught by John who runs Daring Drake Farm, where he specializes in ducks, minor fruits, pears, and heritage/heirloom apple. It was a fascinating class. Not only did we walk away with a wealth of information we were able to put our knowledge to work. Each member of the class was able to select two root stocks and two scions. Most apple trees are hybrids, so their seeds will not grow true to the variety but produce one of the parents. So to produce apples true to variety are grafted to a root-stock. I selected Honey Crisp and Keepsake. We had two options for root stocks; Bud 9, which is a dwarf and needs to always be staked, and M7 EMLA (my selection), which is a semi-dwarf and does not need to be staked.
The green you see on the trees is a “wax” to protect all the open places until they can heal over. The trees will stay in the dark for about a month to prevent bud growth so all the trees’ energy goes to healing the grafts. At the end of the month I will either plant them in the ground or a five gallon bucket. I should have apples in either three or four years.
It is exciting to be planting more fruit. What fruit do you want to add to your home? What are you doing for spring clean up?
Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.