There wasn’t much of a winter this year. Now, the ground is essentially bare at least a month early for VT. The ground is still frozen, and more snow and freezing temperatures will certainly come and go into May. I’m not planning on doing anything rash, like planting peas super early. It is really nice to have some time to work on tasks like pruning, cleaning up gardens and areas that are wild with brambles- without snow and before there is a rush to plant. We have started seeding some early crops in the hoop house. Early carrots, beets and radishes have been sown. The overwintered spinach is still growing out, but looks like it might bolt, where as the claytonia is just starting to crank. We are planning arugula, spinach, cilantro, snap peas, and mini onions for the early hoop house as well.
Last year we experimented with some hard wood cuttings of red and white currants, forsythia, pea shrub, and mulberry. We’d heard that trying to root dormant cuttings in the late winter/early spring is easiest. You could start them in pots inside, but we opted for sticking them in the ground in the hoop house, since last year there were still several feet of snow in March. We only had success with the currants. This year we are trying again. I read up on the technique and found I may have been burying the cuttings too shallowly. I’ve now cut my twigs into 6-10″ sections with at least 5 buds, three stuck under ground and 2-3 above. The 2016 experimental collection includes black currant, a seedless grape, mulberry, forsythia, and I’d like to add some elderberry.
Here’s another propagation experiment. This black raspberry is wild, but has berries easily twice as big as the usual. I’ve allowed the tops to bend over and be buried. Later this spring if it seems they’ve set root I’ll cut the cane from the mother plant and dig and move the new plants to extend the row.
Warm weather has also inspired some spring cleaning. Basically the garage needed to be hoed out in order to have enough space to work on refinishing our farm sign. Though it is still far from perfect, it’s much more functional now (the garage that is, still working on the sign). I also hope to get some sheet mulching done that never got finished in the fall. We are always expanding garden space for annuals a little more, while perennials are starting to take over some of the older garden beds.
And finally…I can’t complete another post without mentioning our root cellar/passive cooler campaign. We have just 6 days left and a long way to go to reach our $12,000 funding goal. We can use your help to make this research possible. Please visit our campaign site and make a donation or share our story today!