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Any updates on how the Hardy Kiwis did?

Ours our loaded with blossoms this year and we were lucky enough to not dip below freezing here.

The cuttings I stuck in a pot seem to have a few that may have rooted, but all the cuttings I completely buried seem to have done better. I will update you again later.

Comment by Brian Thu Apr 17 13:49:21 2014

Here in s.w. Oregon all our fruit trees have bloomed! Yikes!!

My strawberry plants are blooming and Mt raspberry plants are loaded with flower buds. Peas are up and garlic is growing. I have taken the chives Swiss chard and kale out of the green house.

Just praying that no snow or heavy frost appears.

Comment by mona Thu Apr 17 12:59:23 2014
Yeah, so I'm commenting here for the first time. I've been reading a while now, half-year? And so a THANKS are in order, first off. For all the tips and sharing and good information you've posted. Love this chart referenced on the fruit tree kill. So maybe I'll start commenting here more often. I follow a few other 'farm blogs' but mainly on Wordpress. Anyway, much blessings to you in your endeavors, good thoughts and love your way, from Indiana, Eumeaus.
Comment by Eumaeus Thu Apr 17 12:01:16 2014

here are some links to articles about bee viruses.

“I want to be cautious,” Chen said. “The cause of colony collapse disorder remains unclear. But we do have evidence that TRSV along with other viruses that we screen on a regular basis are associated with lower rates of over-winter survival.”

from wikipedia Additional evidence that CCD is an infectious disease came from the following observations: the hives of colonies that had died from CCD could be reused with a healthy colony only if they were first treated with DNA-destroying radiation,[98] and the CCD Working Group report in 2010 indicated that CCD-exhibiting hives tended to occur in proximity to one another within apiaries.[38]

these articles are all about ccd which I think you suspected was the case with one of your losses in a previous year. But, often times you can get just weaker bees with a virus without getting ccd. Which could contribute to a failure to survive the winter, although this winter was just crazy cold.

Comment by rebecca Thu Apr 17 08:33:08 2014
this was delicious! I forgot the balsamic vinegar and it was still yummy. This is my first time cooking with dandelion greens. Thank you!
Comment by Anonymous Wed Apr 16 22:24:58 2014
Although I don't live near swampland Spring storms tend to flood lower garden area . I used this technique to create raised beds. The ditch (on both sides of beds) will be filled with shredded limbs from power lines. Hopefully the beds will drain quicker while wood chunks store the excess for later use. Best of both worlds; isn't permaculture great.
Comment by Tom Wed Apr 16 21:27:12 2014

Rebecca --- Excellent question! I'm not worried about the two colonies we lost this past winter because I know what happened to them and neither problem is contagious. One absconded this past fall, probably because I treated them for mites with powdered sugar. The other was a very late swarm that simply wasn't big enough to stay warm through the winter.

The diseases that seem to be likely to carry over in old hives (according to the literature) are the two types of foulbrood. If I had any thoughts that bees might have died of foulbrood (or if I was using equipment from an unknown source), I would definitely try to disinfect. This is the method we've used in the past to disinfect suspect equipment.

Your specific question was about viruses, though, and I've never read about any viruses that affect bees. It got me wondering, though --- could there be viruses we don't know about? Definitely worth pondering if bees die of unknown reasons.

Comment by anna Wed Apr 16 13:52:51 2014
Can't wait to see how it turns out!
Comment by TERRY Wed Apr 16 11:47:24 2014
you have had many hive failures at this point do you ever disinfect the failed hives incase there is a virus involved in you colony deaths?
Comment by rebecca Wed Apr 16 11:13:43 2014
Eric --- A chinampa is a raised growing area in swampy ground with ditches around it. It's really more about the growing area than about the ditches --- you just need the ditches to make the growing area work. (If you follow the link in the post, you'll read much more about it.)
Comment by anna Tue Apr 15 20:08:04 2014

Anna, what is the difference (guess I cold have wiki'd it) between this fancy 9 lettered "chinampas" and a good 'ol fashioned "Ditch" (five letters)?

I can recall my youth, I could have told my dad I "put the car in a chinampas" and maybe he would have been less mad than he was as I put my car in the "ditch" that winter night I went out despite his advisement. :)

Comment by Eric Tue Apr 15 19:00:21 2014
Children need to express their style and creativity. Even if their "individuality" is exactly like everyone elses! I'd say something about "yadda yadda living under your roof..." but she clearly isn't. ;)
Comment by Emily from Bristol Tue Apr 15 17:43:51 2014

If wet aisles do become a problem, instead of all the work involved with schleppin' around wood chips, etc, just wear galoshes.

To put drainage problems in perspective, I've read that American farm production would be increased by 25% if all farmers made complete & proper use of drain tiles!

Comment by doc Tue Apr 15 16:26:20 2014

Daniel --- I did put punky wood in the swales in the forest pasture, but that's because I won't be walking there much. I want to be able to walk and run a wheelbarrow through these aisles, frequently, so nothing bulky can go there. If I had spare wood chips, they would be perfect, but I never even have enough of those to mulch the fruit trees, let alone "waste" in aisles.... :-)

Brian --- I'm probably going to wait until our frost-free date to uncover our figs. Last year, I uncovered them earlier, they leafed out, and then they got nipped....

Mom --- Glad you enjoyed it! I don't know enough about whether tomatoes were a big part of their gardens at that time to answer your question, unfortunately.

Roland --- It's always a tradeoff with blight around here. My best results have come from putting plants in the sunniest part of the yard so anything that splashes up dries quickly. Of course, if I had a spot that was sunny and had well-drained soil, that would be even better, but the choices are wet soil and sun or dry soil and shade, so I chose the former. :-)

Comment by anna Tue Apr 15 13:28:54 2014
Kathleen --- I always want a dwarf avocado tree, but the realist in me doesn't let me get one. A gardening friend tried it and failed to get any fruits, and my own experience with dwarf lemon trees inside suggests that our trailer is neither warm nor sunny enough in winter to keep tropical trees happy. I guess that's the one "vegetable" we'll keep buying....
Comment by anna Tue Apr 15 13:24:07 2014
Wouldn't a wet environment around the tomatoes produce more splashing in case of rain, possibly producing more tomato blight?
Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Apr 15 13:19:13 2014
I'm wondering if your tomatoes will want to be near a ditch? But, also, how the early farmers in Latin America best raised tomatoes?good you ahve enough bats, for mosquito control! The photos of the farmer with the corn, near his water looked sort of like Mark, and I gasped, at the nearness of the water, thinking it was of your place, and what you would do if water ever gets that close!
Comment by adrianne Tue Apr 15 10:29:53 2014
I was going to ask if you had uncovered your fig tree yet, but the photo in today's post answers that question. I guess it's a good thing too with the weather coming over the next couple of days.
Comment by Brian Tue Apr 15 09:15:23 2014
I'm wondering, rather than worrying about wet aisles, what if you filled them with wood chips and punky wood? My thought is that the wood will soak up the moisture and break down quickly. Once they've decomposed enough, you could mulch the beds with it and refill - your own little soil manufacturing plant.
Comment by Daniel Tue Apr 15 08:46:57 2014
Thank you Anna!! Especially for the advice regarding the tarp:)
Comment by amy Mon Apr 14 20:29:37 2014
Do you ever want a dwarf avocado tree?
Comment by Kathleen Mon Apr 14 19:48:55 2014
Amy --- I save all of our row cover fabric, even the pieces that get tattered after a few years on quick hoops or cold frames. That's what I use to cover up plants at this time of year when things need protection from cold spells. Tarps can work, but only if you wait to put them on just before dark and take them off first thing in the morning. If you're willing to do that, you can also use five-gallon buckets, blankets (if it's not going to rain), etc. Good luck!
Comment by anna Mon Apr 14 17:12:33 2014

Hi Anna,

Have to comment on that lovely looking salad! We enjoy rhubarb (and avocados and eggs) many ways here, too. We most often enjoy rhubarb savory, sauteed with other vegetables or steamed and then simmered in a curry. Yesterday, I spied a rhubarb crown peeking through the soil. Just last Monday I was boiling maple sap and in snow up to our knees. Today, a warm, gusting wind is blowing, and the honey bees are flying! Pleased to report that our one "survivor" colony is building up quickly!
Best, Eva

Comment by Eva Mon Apr 14 13:04:13 2014
Hello~Your blog is so wonderful and I enjoy getting my daily emails!! As usual the temps are dropping back into the mid 20's here in Ky...I grieve.... all of my daffodils are trying to bloom...the lilac...spice many of my little peas heads are just are the beets....Most of my leafy veg and radishes are in glass covered raised I don't worry about them too much....but the others.... I am in a panic....In years past I have worried myself to death covering everything up with tarps only to read last year on some site that covering with tarps was really bad for young seedlings! What would you advise? I would truly appreciate your experience.
Comment by amy Mon Apr 14 10:58:27 2014

The thread is a 2" NPT. Adapters here (tested and approved!)

Comment by Will Sun Apr 13 08:50:00 2014

Rhubarb Pickles.

2 pounds trimmed rhubarb, cut into spears or pieces sized to fit jars; 2 cups water; 2 cups apple cider vinegar; 1 tablespoon canning salt; 1/4 cup honey –or– 1/4 cup sugar; 1/2-inch piece thinly sliced, peeled ginger; 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes; 1 teaspoon whole cloves; 4 whole allspice.

Directions: Prepare rhubarb. To make brine, combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar/honey, ginger, and spices and bring to a slow boil until sugar/honey dissolves. Pack rhubarb into sterilized jars, and pour hot brine over rhubarb (bring to boiling just before pouring), leaving one-half-inch headspace. Center sterilized lids and apply bands finger tight. For crispier rhubarb pickles, allow to cool, then place in refrigerator. Otherwise, water bath process for ten minutes.

I only have two rhubarb plants, which are more than enough for me. I usually go to www dot rhubarbinfo dot com for rhubarb questions. Lots of good info there.

Comment by Rich Sat Apr 12 15:22:28 2014

My grandmother maintained a bed of rhubarb when I was a child. The only recipe I ever saw was pie.

I can't imagine eating it as a veggie.

Maybe mixed with other sweet fruits?

Good luck. Some things just need sweeting to be palatable.

Comment by tom Sat Apr 12 14:39:47 2014

If you have any venison or lamb stewing meat in your freezer, what about a lamb and rhubarb persian khoresh? A savory stew using tart fruit as an integral component (sometimes quince, other times rhubarb or tart apricots.)

Rhubarb as a savory component is not uncommon around parts of the Mediterranean (particularly in the eastern areas) or in Scandinavia. Those cuisines might have some interesting options. I love Persian food though, so savory stews/braises with tart fruit would be where I would start.

Comment by Charity Sat Apr 12 11:16:25 2014
When Jay was a baby he used to eat it raw. I like it that way myself. It doesn't need to be sweet.
Comment by Errol Sat Apr 12 11:06:14 2014
My folks grew a lot of it in MN , they juiced it as well as freezing it, the juice was used as a mixer to make a "screwbarb" on occasion.
Comment by Eric Sat Apr 12 10:16:28 2014
Looking forward to getting some rhubarb! You can use less sweetener if you use raisins or prunes, or maybe dried apples or even dried peaches, in cooking your rhubarb. Or you might try mixing in some of your jam. When tasting for sweetness, you should let the sauce cool down, first. The whole point of rhubarb is its tonic quality. If you let the sauce be pretty watery, it becomes almost like a lemonade, as a thirst quencher!
Comment by adrianne Sat Apr 12 09:18:14 2014
I like to stew the rhubarb with a little bit of water and some maple syrup and use it as a sauce for plain thick yogurt. Yum! Not too much maple syrup, just enough to take the edge off the sourness.
Comment by Alice R. Sat Apr 12 08:37:36 2014
I find that a blender is better than a food processor. Important! Use only 1 1/2 cups of nuts for each batch. You will have to stop it from time to time to work the mixture from the edges to the center, but as it processes and gets warm it will blend and liquify. If the nuts are fresh you will not need any oil. I now use 1 cup of peanuts and 1/2 cup of cashews for a flavor treat. My problem is finding salt free shelled peanuts. I will start shelling and roasting mine now.
Comment by Anonymous Fri Apr 11 17:13:35 2014
I am REALLY jealous! We won't have grass like that for another month. Our green is just beginning to peek out from the dead stock piled pasture from last year. :(
Comment by Elizabeth Thu Apr 10 23:01:57 2014
Charity --- Yep, they'd been in the fridge all that time. I'm not sure a lot of the time counted, though, since the container seems to have frozen up even though it wasn't in the freezer. (When plants measure cold weather, they usually don't count frozen time, just the not-quite-frozen chill on either end.) But whatever was counted, it worked --- nearly all the seeds germinated!
Comment by anna Thu Apr 10 11:36:49 2014
Have the seeds been in the refrigerator since your December 6th post (linked to in this post)? Just curious to know how long the cold stratification has been.
Comment by Charity Thu Apr 10 10:59:39 2014
Hi, just found this site and thought I would share something that works great for me. When you set out your tomatoes, add a Penny, (I boil mine first....just to get rid of whatever germs are on it), and add one or two Tums or Rolaids in the hole. Blossom end rot is due to a calcium deficiency and Antacids are calcium supplements. Since doing this 4 years ago, I went from having B.E.R. every season to not having any plants suffer with it!! Simple, effective, cheap and easy. Try it! Also, when using this method I've consistently gotten 2-3 lb Mortgage Lifter tomatoes every year since!
Comment by Craig Thu Apr 10 03:01:05 2014
Sounds like a lovely couple!!!
Comment by Sheila Wed Apr 9 22:26:51 2014

Brian --- Good thoughts! I'm thinking of having Mark put dog doors into the gates so Lucy can run right up to the coop --- that definitely has been a weakness of our anti-predator campaign in the past. She breaks holes in our fences so she can protect the flock at the moment....

Good point about eventual fruit fall and pruning trees high. It would be awesome if I could let the less good fruit that drops just be eaten up by livestock rather than picking it up, etc.

The ground does slope north, and I've been making swales and mounds for the tree alleys, so those trees should capture any runoff. I'm also planning on dumping duck pond water into other parts of the swales to fertigate the trees.

Good point about always being able to make changes later...

Comment by anna Wed Apr 9 16:14:53 2014

I would choose the first option since it appears to have the most long term flexibility (including dog access to protect from predators.) I would maximize the pasture and prune the trees high if you were concerned with animals browsing on the lower limbs. I would also minimize the tree alley width so the fruit can fall into the pastures. You are going to have a lot of apples when all those trees begin to bear and the pasture will probably be more valuable to you in the mature system.

Have you thought of a permanent path for when you check on the chickens every day? It may be nice if it could be built up (old tires packed with stones?) or mulched so you can get the bedding in/compost out easily even when it's muddy.

Do you have any plans for capturing any of the nutrient run off from the coop or fields or does the ground slope to the north so the trees would be the catchment? Do you have any swale or earthworks to aid in this catchment planned?

Remember you can always change your mind later if something doesn't work. Good luck in whatever you end up doing.

Comment by Brian Tue Apr 8 13:34:46 2014