Saturday, March 9, 2013

Stump Grinding Completed

Andrew grinding away at the big cedar stump.
    The past two Mondays we've had someone grinding up our stumps in the front yard.  I am so glad that Linda talked me out of trying to do it myself. It took Andrew, who has a pretty good lumberjack physique,  a good day and a half of hard labor.  There was still plenty of hard labor left over for me in the removal of ivy that covered the stump and in removing numerous wheelbarrow loads of chips.  Now the stump is no more, but there is still some ivy left for me to remove. We probably have less than half of the ivy we had at the start of the stump project. There are also some big hunks of cedar wood that need to be split into firewood. There is still a substantial pile of chips remaining from the stump that need to be moved to other places in the yard and gardens. Last of all, I get to shovel the piles of dirt back into the holes where the stumps used to be.  Linda and I are both very happy to have the stumps gone and I am excited at the prospect of an enlarged vegetable garden in the front yard this summer. Linda's only requirement is that it has to be a "cute" vegetable garden. She has informed me that a few pole bean tepees are mandatory.
All that remains of the largest stump is lots of mulch and a few  big chunks of firewood to split.

The remains of the medium size stump next to the road

    I planted seeds in my cold frame about a week ago. So far, the only seeds to emerge have been the arugula, a few of the Italian parsley, and a few brussels sprouts. The cabbage, dill, onions, and leeks have yet to show themselves. I planted a new arugula variety named "Adagio" that I got from West Coast Seeds.  It is supposed to be much slower to bolt than normal arugula.  My daughter, Rachel, has had very good luck growing arugula in Hillsboro, Oregon. The one difficulty has been the fact that it goes to seed so readily. When I read up on arugula I learned that it is normally planted in late summer for a fall/winter crop. The seeds are also good for sprouting in the winter.  I planted the "Adagio" arugula for spring salad greens while I direct seeded arugula seed outside that I got from Rachel. If and when it bolts I will just plan on harvesting a crop of arugula seeds for winter sprouting. I'm planning to do the same thing when our broccoli goes to seed. Sprouting seems to be a much more sustainable strategy when I can grow a significant proportion of our sprouting seeds.

   My bee yard is looking much neater after the addition of about eight or ten wheelbarrow loads of mulch from the stumps. I also mulched under the front deck, on some garden paths,  and a few other places.  I've noticed that fresh mulch puts Linda in a very happy mood. I finally started feeding my bees  on Wednesday.  I bought three fifty pound bags of sugar from Cash and Carry and made up my first two batches of 1:1 sugar syrup.  I've started feeding three of my hives that I knew for certain had survived the winter. I will wait a few more days to figure out which other hives are still alive before I start feeding them. I didn't put any fumigilin ( a fungicidal antibiotic) in the syrup as I want to make sure they are taking it well before I give them medicated syrup. I also made up some "grease patties", an easy treatment for tracheal mites. The recipe is one cup of vegetable shortening, three cups of sugar, and several drops of a food grade essential oil like wintergreen, spearmint, or peppermint. I happened to have a bottle of wintergreen oil so that was the one I used. I won't put them on the hives until I get a good 55 degree day.

    On Tuesday morning I grafted onto the rootstocks I had purchased Saturday.  I did two Danube cherries. This is a new variety of cherry from Hungary that is a cross between a sweet cherry and a pie cherry. I'm hoping they will do better than normal sweet cherries in our maritime climate.  Hopefully, at least one of the grafts will take. I have more trouble grafting cherries than anything else. If the grafts fail, I will just do bud grafts this summer to turn them into pie cherries. In addition to the cherries, I also grafted an "Aromatnaya" quince, a "Puget Spice" crab apple, and a "Pristine" apple. I also have a "Chehalis" apple and an "Ashmead's Kernal" apple that I grafted last year.  I'm pretty sure I don't have room for seven more fruit trees so some of these trees will need homes elsewhere.

     I also have some mature apple trees that I want to redo as they are way too scabby for me.  Most of the trees I  currently would work better if I had more free time in the spring to do lime sulphur spray for scab. The reality is that I am way too busy in the spring to spray my apple trees every time it rains. Instead, I've chosen to simply get rid of all of the apples that are susceptible to scab.  That doesn't mean I'll be digging up trees. I'll just graft in scab resistant varieties onto the existing trees.  Chehalis is a scab resistant variant of Yellow Delicious.  Pristine is a scab resistant summer apple. Ashmead's Kernal is a scab resistant fall apple which has a russeted skin. Varieties I plan to phase out include Melrose, Spartan, and Yellow Bellflower. Melrose is a wonderful apple in a drier climate. However, life is too short for me to spend my time growing scabby apples.


1 comment:

  1. You've been so productive! ..we've been playing badmitton...badly...but it's still fun.