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Happenings Around the Homestead

It is often said here, as in other areas, if you don’t like the weather, wait a day. It will change. This week has been a real example of that. Within a one week time period we went from very low temperatures and greater than a foot of snow on the ground to a fantastically warm 72° F. Welcome to spring in Kentucky!

I was on the road for my job last week, and was anxious to get back home for a number of reasons, one of which being to check the winter sown vegetables. I am very excited to report that many of them have sprouted! Check these pictures out:

Winter Sowing Sprouts

Calbrese Broccoli Sprouts

 

Winter Sowing Sprouts

German Chamomile Sprouts

So far I see sprouts in the Romanesco Broccoli, Purple Broccoli, German Chamomile, Purple Cabbage, Calabrese Broccoli, Early Jersey Cabbage, Forage Kale, and Russian Kale winter sown containers. Woot! Now to see if they survive the coming cold spell, though I suspect they will.

One thing I am excited about this year is my Back to Eden garden.  While I can’t speak to the success of the garden here yet, I can tell you that I will be able to get my garden out much sooner than I would if I were planting traditionally.  Our ground is absolutely saturated.  Even so, I can walk all over these woodchips and not feel as if I am sinking in at all.  This is wonderful!

Despite the rain on Saturday, I decided to go ahead and plant some brassicas and lettuces:

Kale, Cabbage, and Broccoli

Kale, Cabbage, and Broccoli

 

Lettuce in the Raised Bed

Lettuce in the Raised Bed

I also decided to spend some time pruning my fruit trees this weekend.  I received some nice pruning equipment for Christmas, which I have been wanting to use, and I am several weeks behind the latest date I wanted to do this, but the weather has not been cooperating at all.  Here are the tools:

Pruning Tools

Pruning Tools

Let me tell you – that saw is sharp!  Don’t ask me how I know that.  However, if you see me over the next few days, you will know how I know.  🙁   If you want to see what happened, you can check it out, but don’t click on the link if you can’t handle seeing pruning wounds.  Seriously, it’s not that bad, but you still may not want to click on it.

I pruned two apple trees and a cherry tree, and I am extremely pleased with how it turned out.  Here are a few before and after shots of the apple trees:

Apple Trees - Before Pruning

Apple Trees – Before Pruning

Pruned Apple Tree

Pruned Apple Tree

Pruned Apple Tree

Pruned Apple Tree

So the point in pruning back so much is to shape the tree as I want it to be shaped, and to limit the height to something usable/reachable for me.  I also want to provide plenty of air flow and sunshine.  While they look a little bare right now, I am expecting them to fill on out as the spring and summer move forward.  If I have done the job right, we should see better apples this year off these trees.

As you can see, I still need to clean up the branches, but that can wait.  I plan to cut up that wood to use for smoking food later in the year.  There are also still a few branches on the second tree (the last picture) that need trimmed, but I need my pole pruner to reach them.  I will hopefully get to that today.


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