Spring Fever- Farm update

February brought seed packets and seedling fruit trees to my doorstep via Fed Ex.  Oh what a happy day:)  IMG_2209100 packets of seeds.  I tried to stay calm and conservative.  I really did try…….

Using egg cartons for some of the seedlings.  I am going to start most of our vegetables in the ground from seed- there is no need for the head start here as the growing season is so long.  That makes life so much simpler!  I did start about 250 herbs and flowers- the bees will be arriving in one month so I wanted a head start on pollen.  IMG_2237poked holes in bottom of each compartment and then nestled into the egg cart0n top.

Realized that we didn’t have a watering can (still living out of suitcases) so quickly washed out the liquid laundry soap container, poked holes in the lid and created our own watering can.IMG_2239

IMG_2240watering baby grape vines Chuck propagated for me.  Our acidic soil is perfect for grapes!!

I think we did everything wrong to these bare root apple and pear trees.  It was storming and flooding when they arrived so I just kept them wrapped up in the plastic bag and put them in a cool closet.  The weather continued to rage and then I left town for 3 days to teach.  As soon as I returned we had several days of freezing temps, so it was 2 weeks before they were planted.  The roots appeared to still be moist.  I hope they survived our stumbling!  We ordered from Fruittreefarm in Tennessee.  They were very affordable (about 15 dollars a tree) and a healthy size.  IMG_2228

We have been adding mulch to the orchard/garden area for 4 months.  I couldn’t believe the number of worms- every shovel full had at least 20 worms in it!  IMG_2233find Waldo the worm and all his cousins!

Scott located a free mulch site where a tree company dumps all their chipped up trees and everyday on his way to the property he shovels up another load- we have lost track how many truckloads we have added.  Enough that I am getting some shoulder muscles:)

Our soil appears to just be red clay, but the experts say there is much more in it then meets the eye.  The soil analysis was encouraging- we need to work on phosphorus, adding organics and increasing the pH.  This was before we added lime in December.

Analysis Results
Soil pH 5.7
Buffer pH 7.50
bar graph
Phosphorus (P) 11 lbs/acre
Potassium (K) 240 lbs/acre
Calcium (Ca) 1539 lbs/acre
Magnesium (Mg) 298 lbs/acre
Zinc (Zn) 7 lbs/acre
Manganese (Mn) 71 lbs/acre
Boron (B) 0.8 lbs/acre
Copper (Cu) 2.5 lbs/acre
Sodium (Na) 9 lbs/acre
Sulfur (S)

The unusual amount of rain severely tested the soil’s drainage- a few of the holes we dug for trees took over 24 hours to drain after a really heavy rainstorm.  I decided not to use those spots for the fruit trees as I read they need really good drainage.  I know this is an unusually rainy season but I don’t know how careful to be.  So for now we will just garden in those spots.

IMG_2227Took a full day for the water to soak in.  I wonder how much time and organic material it will take to see a difference in the soil.

I am currently teaching Primary Health Care in Kona and hanging out  with my natural farming friends as much as possible- so excited about the new IMO methods being taught.  As soon as I get home we will be making IMO and Korean Natural Farming inputs- I will show you how to do this as we go.  I am determined to grow apples and peaches without pesticides and chemicals.  Peach farmers explain that peaches are delicate and fall prey to so many insects and diseases, so they are sprayed constantly.  I am thinking that healthy soil and strong IMO presence will give the trees a superior immune system to fight disease and pest. After all- it works for humans! So far all the farmers I talk to just roll their eyes at me- I am getting used to that:)  Who knows- we just might be successful!

One last sweet note- my farmer friend/neighbor was playing with his big toys and dug me a pond!  It’s rough looking right now but we will pretty it up with grass and beautiful trees.  Then we can grow duck weed to feed the chickens and maybe even a few fish……IMG_2244

IMG_2224 With this packed clay soil and the number of trees we have yet to plant,  I have to say it was worth every penny:)

As March begins we have 2 peach, 14 apple, 2 pecan, 1 cherry, 3 fig, 2 paw paw, 2 persimmon, 2 muscadine vines  and  5 pear trees.  This spring we will add plum, apricot, cherry, grapes, and a few more peaches.  Then I suppose I better stop for a while:)

Next up- bees and chicks.  I love this season of my life!!!

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