Strawberries, etc.

More progress on the farm this weekend:

I’ve filled in another path and another bed. One rugosa rose goes up by the entrance – see its tiny green there in the lower left-hand corner? – and another got planted over by the grapes. I haven’t chosen any spots for the remaining 3, but I suppose they’ll probably go somewhere around the pond on the south side, to beautify that swampy mess.

The new bed is home to my 6 Kiowa blackberries, and did I tell you I planted my two blueberries as well? They’re in the bed nearest the chicken coop. My original fruit trees are planted (you can see the white tape on them to protect from sun scald) as is a “windfall” $5 gala semi-dwarf that a good friend found for me.

Yesterday was mostly spent digging a bed for my 25 sad little bareroot strawberries. You can see the darker half of it running parallel to the entrance path. Eventually I hope they’ll form a “matted row” as a form of productive ground cover, but now they’re 24″ apart and so I’ll have to plant small annual crops in between them to use up all that space. (I’d planned on planting green manures like vetch, clover, and peas all through the orchard, but I can’t imagine how those kinds of crops wouldn’t just smother the strawberries and block their light.)

Here’s my south-facing slope, and there’s the rugosa rose on the right and my first grape planted on top just left of that silly rough stairway. I spent a good few hours clearing the ivy, honeysuckle, and briar rose from that hillside – and I wonder if I didn’t pull something because ever since, my back has gone all pins-n-needles between my shoulders when I lean forward. Hm.

In any case, at least it’s clear and sowed with a million alfalfa seeds. I chose alfalfa because its roots get up to 20 feet long, perfect for breaking up and amending nasty clay soils like the one this hill is made of.

I didn’t manage to get out there at all today, and I’m getting nervous because I was supposed to start transplanting a million onions, garlic, and brassicas this weekend; but at least I did manage to make 14 quarts of tomato sauce, a pound of mozzarella, ricotta, and a triple batch of sugar cookie dough. And now it’s time to go make lasagne!

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