Springtime finally really feels like it is here. Fun project for Patti and the kids has been hatching eggs to help the Adickes Farm ( http://pastureadickes.com/ ) increase the size of their laying flock.
Days 21 & 22 were fun to watch, as 35 chicks came into the world.
When they were all out for 24 hours, they went up to the Adickes farm and we picked up a bunch more eggs which are on their 7th day in the incubator, today.
Nell and I took a day to do prep work on squash hills (just digging and adding wheelbarrows of compost) and planted 60 hills of sunflowers.
Patti and I made a couple of trips to the Adickes green house (where there is a lot more room to work) and over a couple of days, potted up about 400 tomato plants.
I cleft grafted 30 apple trees on EMLA 106 rootstock, and gave myself a mandaid due to mishandling my grafting knife.
Then I made 39 whip and tongue grafts of pears onto Bartlett seedling rootstock.
Those are all sitting in a refrigerator for a couple of weeks as the cambium layers callous together and form vascular channels so when we take them out of cold storage, the grafted tops do not just dry up and die. Instead (assuming I still know what I am doing) we are going to have a bunch of custom grafted apple and pear trees.
Chip bud grafts I did last year (95 mostly Antonovka rootstock, with a few semi-dwarfs as well) are mostly pushing buds this spring which is good to see, being last fall was my first attempt at that technique. (see http://threedaughtersfarm.com/wp/?p=8115 )
The Nanking cherry trees in the yard are blooming and full of happy early season pollinators.
We had storms yesterday that knocked a lot of petals down, but only a fraction of the buds had already opened. They look and smell wonderful today.
The 40+ Red Lake Currant cuttings I dropped in the ground a few weeks ago have ALL pushed buds, which bodes well for them rooting this year and being ready to move up north next year. The friend who gave my my first bushes of them says he has some from another variety that gives exceptionally large fruits to give me this year as well. I will plant those directly up on the farm.
The quince cuttings I was gifted by a Ukranian friend from prunings he made this year are starting to push buds as well. I have 35 cuttings of those in the ground, and I have no idea how many will fully root. This is a new things for me, and our interest came from finding that in the days before packaged fruit pectin, quince and hawthorn were used to jell up preserves. Honestly, I think there are hawthorn up on the property already, and if not, there are named varieties readily available in quantity at fairly low costs from wholesale nurseries. Quince though, other than the decorative flowering quince, are a more rare thing. This one gets fruits that look like huge pears, and apparently taste good, although they do not ripen on the tree (like pears) and have to sit on a counter for a week or so to soften up, or they are cooked to make a fruit paste, and lastly, are added to fruit preserves to jell them up without having to also buy packaged fruit pectin. The whole “do everything you can yourself” side of that, strikes a happy chord within us. Especially with how much fruit pectin we have to buy every year to do the 100+ jars of fruit preserves we do. It will be some years before any of these are producing, but no time like the present to start.