On a foggy Monday, we took our steadily developing pruning skills out to Blue Ox farm to prune back two and a half acres of highbush blueberries. The roots of the bushes are decades old but the fruiting canes, which grow anew every year, are 4 years old or less. Each plant has been producing about 12 quarts of blueberries, but because of last year’s drought in late summer (which is when this year’s buds were developed) the harvest isn’t looking so promising.
By mid-week, most of the snow had melted and gave us the first glimpse of our fields (in the background). It didn’t however signify a let up of our cordwood push.
While the fields are still too wet and cold to plant in, life is coming up inside our plastic bubble of summer. Bongi and I have been assigned to the first two weeks of greenhouse chores, which involves checking temperatures and seedlings 5 times a day, starting at dawn.
Frustrations have already emerged. We’re seeing spotty germination of our Sedona and Red Bull onions. Their expected germination rate is already low (80%) but we might also be seeing signs of dampening off (pictured), an umbrella term for a condition caused by a number of different pathogens that kill or weaken seeds or seedlings before or after they germinate. It’s most prevalent in wet and cool conditions. The jury is still out.
The chard seedlings, however, are exceedingly happy.
Momoko and Eliza inspect the rest of the germination.
Warm weather also signals tractor repairs. This week we got to work on our 1950’s McCormick Farmall Cubs, a tractor designed to replace the horse on one to two acre farms.
We also got closer to finishing our “egg-mobile” – a mobile coop for our laying hens that we’ll put out to pasture with the cows.
And speaking of the layers, here’s the sunrise photo of the week.