Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Cold Snap and a Toddler Attack

We've had unseasonably cool weather here at the vineyard.  We'll even come close to a late freeze tonight.  While there's been plenty of rain, the coolness of the season is going to change the progress of the garden this year.  I hope that the grapes will be nurtured by this weather, and produce delicious grapes.

While the peas are sprouting, I despair over anything else popping out of the ground.  Two of the children have been brutal.  One has stomped over all the garden, just at the time when I expected to see a sprout.  He was particularly harsh on the mounds where I had planted potatoes and cucumbers.  Alas, I love cucumbers from the garden.  The other toddler has almost flooded the seeds with over watering.  We've had plenty of rain.  I suspect that there has been too much water for there good.  With three children, I know better than to plant all the seeds at once.  Beside, incremental planting is wise for the lettuce and carrots.  I may have better luck with the progression over the next few weeks' plantings.  We'll see.  At this point, I'm only confident that my previous efforts this spring will produce peas.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sprouting Peas and Waiting on the Other Seedlings

The peas I planted just a few days ago have sprouted.  While I hadn't planned on two years of peas in this same spot, I have it nonetheless.  I hope that the soil will benefit the future grapes here.  However, I love peas so much, and so does my four year old, that I'd hate to crowd out our little space for grapes only.  Perhaps in the future, I can make a trellis for a spot for peas, and still have the grapes in their permanent spot.

I have planted a seed for one new grape vine.  I decided that it was worth planting directly in the permanent spot, instead of starting it indoors.  If it fails, then I have seeds saved from last year.  If it thrives, then I'll feel confident in planting more.  If I have an abundance of seeds, then I am ahead of the game with seed exchange.  I have no idea if it's an heirloom seed.  I have only faith that these grapes belong here.  Seeing as how that's how the vineyard itself started, I have confidence that we'll see beautiful production in time to come.  I haven't yet seen any sprouts besides the peas and weeds.  We'll be attending their progress.

Also, in the vegetable garden, I've planted bull's blood beets, lettuce, lime basil, Italian parsley, cilantro, baby carrots, potatoes and cucumbers.  I have had good success with the heirloom varieties from Botanical Interests.  While my seeds are not all organic, the method I use for tending my garden is.  I have ambitions of moving toward a biodynamic, or at least biodynamic inspired, garden in the future.  I am not merely interested in withholding petrochemical based pesticides, but in noting all the details of my gardening.  I'd love to see my garden blog expand to note all the details.  I'd love to be able to nourish the soil with a more aggressive composting plan.  For now, I'm working on keeping this blog active with planting dates, and as many details as I can get into it.

I do have concerns as to how accurate my attempts at pesticide free planting can be.  With the cottage garden being so close to our neighbors, I wonder about cross contamination from their pesticide use.  I've planted the peas right along the fence.  The neighbor on the other side makes no bones about her vigorous use of whichever pesticide she may discover.  Can I truely claim an organic garden with a neighbor so close?   While she doesn't spray all the time, how much of her previous efforts still affect my work?  These and other questions may be too difficult for me to answer, but I am undeterred as to my efforts.

Monday, April 15, 2013


My northern vine is already bearing tiny grapes.  I was shocked to see them.  From a few budding leaves, to full leaves to grapes in just a few weeks.  It's not just the one bunch either.  This year promises to be our first real production of fruitful vines.

I expect to plant my third vine tomorrow.  We're on our way to fourteen fruitful vines, here at the vineyard.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Peas: Planted

This year I have decided upon Pisum sativum, or Wando shelling peas for the back fence.  It's an heirloom variety from Botanical Interests.

My second son is delighted, and eager to watch them grow.  The packet provided far more peas than I had expected.  Last year, I had the peas starting at the north corner, then going all along the back fence toward the south.  I expected that this year, I'd plant my grape seeds in the area where last years peas had grown.  I will plant a vine or two, but I have far more peas than I planned.  Partly, I had more pea seeds to plant than I had planned.  More importantly, I had a passionate pea lover in my son.  He, and his younger brother, will be far more interesting in eating the peas off the vine than enjoying the grapes we grow.  But, then, the Vintner and I have different plans for the grapes than giving them to the children anyway.

I'm not sure of the wisdom of planting grapes after two seasons of peas in the years prior in the space where I plant the grapes.  However, since I planted the previous vines with little hope of them surviving, perhaps they will do just fine.  After all, the current vines had no soil preparation.  They were planted on good Faith.  I trust the future vines will thrive on the same faith.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Late Freeze, An Intuition and a Garden Saved

This year I was partially feeling guilty about waiting so long to start my planting.  Am I lazy?  Why couldn't I bring myself to dig and hoe and plant?  Then, we had freezes well past the date I would have planted.  Thankfully, the vines are undeterred.  Both are sprouting new leaves.  The beets loved the cold.  The chives haven't stopped spreading.  The weeds are just as thick as ever.

The tiny seeds?  This year they needed more time.  Much like my children.  They need more time for their physical development.  They aren't on a typical child's gross motor development.  I've trusted my instinct on what do about their education.  This week I found out what the public school system would have expected of my kindergartner in the name of "safety," and it would be detrimental to their long term progress.  They would have stuck us in an unpleasant situation due to expectations on his bowel disability.  We've done what's right for him at the right time, but their timetable wouldn't have done that.  My gardens needed more time this year: both my green one and my kinder one.