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Archive for July, 2016

It’s been hot, hot, hot and dry, dry, dry here in northwestern Connecticut. Despite the lack of rain, this being New England, it’s still very humid. While we are wilting in this weather, the plants, particularly the vegetables, love it–so long as we can manage to give them lots of supplemental irrigation. It’s time like this, that we feel fortunate to grow peonies as our main crop. As anyone who grows these plants knows, they are heat and drought resistant. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up at the nursery the last few weeks.

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In July, the garden is a buzzing all-you-can-eat buffet for the butterflies and bees.

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Our veggie garden is looking great this year. Mulching for weed control and watering are key to success, but so are healthy soils nourished with compost and amended with Azomite.

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Oceans of kale!

One of our favorite figs, is the classic French variety 'Violette De Bordeaux.' It has a rich, sweet flavor, with strawberry flesh.

One of our favorite figs, is the classic French variety ‘Violette De Bordeaux.’ It has a rich, sweet flavor, with strawberry flesh.

Aronia berries are almost ripe!

Aronia berries are almost ripe!

'Portugal' quince staring to size up. These will be ready for harvest in about six weeks.

‘Portugal’ quince staring to size up. These will be ready for harvest in about six weeks.

Kasha hard at work harvesting shiitake mushrooms in 90 degree heat.

Kasha hard at work harvesting shiitake mushrooms in 90 degree heat.

We got a visit from a rarely seen guest today, a luna moth caterpillar.

We got a visit from a rarely seen guest today, a luna moth caterpillar.

We hope to introduce our organically grown fruit and berry plants to some new gardeners with our display at New Morning Market in Woodbury, CT.

We hope to introduce our organically grown fruit and berry plants to some new gardeners with our display at New Morning Market in Woodbury, CT.

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Ethan, a star member of our nursery crew, off to the new field for a ‘harrowing’ experience.

This new 1/4 field will be planted this fall. With our intensive planting plan, we can fit 5,000 tree peony grafts in this area. The soil is quite acidic, so we have amended with lime to raise the pH. If you thinking of adding some peonies to your garden this fall (hopefully on a smaller scale than we are) see our page on preparing new ground for fall peony planting.

This new field will be planted this fall. With our intensive planting plan, we can fit 5,000 tree peony grafts in this area. The soil is quite acidic, so we have amended with lime to raise the pH. If you thinking of adding some peonies to your garden this fall (hopefully on a smaller scale than we are) see our page on preparing new ground for fall peony planting.

Jacked-up 3 wheeled tractor...fourth wheel, full of calcium carbonate in the bed of the truck... just don't ask

Just in case this post makes it seem like everything is just free and easy in the summer at Peony Heaven, consider: jacked-up 3 wheeled tractor in the middle of the woods…fourth wheel full of calcium carbonate (weighing about 400 lbs.) in the bed of the truck… just don’t ask

A view of our newly cleared 4 acre growing area.

A view of our newly cleared 4 acre growing area.

At the end of the day, we're still searching for our pot of gold....

Some where over the rainbow…July 25, 2016

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July 2016 Update

A quick look at what we and the garden have been up to the last few weeks at Cricket Hill.

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Getting a new nursery area ready for all planting. Note the rock piles….

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A view of our newly cleared 4 acre plot. We can sure fit a lot of tree peonies in here.

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‘Viking’ aronia berries starting to show some color.

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‘Prolific’ pawpaw grafted in 2012.

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Our kitchen garden.

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First peony seeds of the season are ripe, from the species Paeonia anomala

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Tree peony seeds are still six weeks away from being ripe.

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Garlic is pulled and set out to dry.

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Some of our figs. These can be shipped now, during the summer.

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Haschberg’ European elderberry starting to size up.

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‘Adams,’ a selection our the native American elderberry is not far behind.

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The last of the ‘Titania’ black currants

 

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A view of our display orchard. We planted this is 2013 and it’s really starting to fill in.

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‘Chapin’ pears are looking good. This is a seedling of ‘Seckel’ and is very similar. 

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Our ‘Norris’ seedless che fruit seem to be maturing. We’re very much looking forward to these ripening later this summer. This tree is 3 years old.

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A view of one of our tree peony graft beds, in a few months these little babies will be headed off the gardens all across the US.

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Flowers on a cultivar of Chinese date or jujube (红枣). It was grafted last year and looks like it will bear a crop this year. This jujube is living up to its reputation for being precocious and the old Chinese farmers’ expression 桃三杏四梨五年,枣树当年就卖钱 (It takes three years for peaches, four for apricots and five for pears, but with jujubes you make money the first year)

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We’re happy to see another brood of blue birds in the box. One family used this box earlier in the spring.

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Just for fun, we are steeping fruits and herbs to make homemade cassis and elderflower liqueurs, as well as the first ever batch of absinthe.

 

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