Fall planting begins

With the onset of September we begin to creep into fall.  There are beautiful mums at the market and pumpkins and gourds start to appear.  Fall also makes me think about what planting I want to get done before winter.  This week I have selected two items to add to my all purpose garden:  “Duke” blueberries and “Hill Hardy” rosemary.  Some of you are probably thinking “Huh?  Why is she trying to grow blueberries and doesn’t she know rosemary won’t survive the winter?”  Well, bare with me… I have a plan!

About halfway up the hill we have a large garden area.  It started out as a vegetable garden/pumpkin patch four or five years ago.  It has since morphed into a garden for vegetables, berries, herbs and cut flowers.  Hence my “general purpose garden”.  I like this combination much better!

My first herb addition was a row of lavendar, Hidcote and Munstead,  which is doing beautifully, so I am going to take a plunge and add a row of rosemary.  I have been reading about rosemary, and while it is true that it typically doesn’t winter well, there are some hardier varieties and many gardeners experience success with rosemary surviving cold winters.  Just to give myself the best start I did select a hardy breed known to winter well.  I’m going to plant it tomorrow and then after the first hard frost cut it back and mulch it deep.  Cross your fingers!

My first berry addition to the garden plot was “Bluecrop” blueberries.  My success in this area has not been as good.  Unfortunately I did not do enough research so my first bushes have not had the strong start I hoped for.  I didn’t amend the soil as well as I should have and I completely underestimated the deer’s love of these tender bushes!  Let’s just say my blueberries are surviving, but not thriving.  The “Duke” blueberries are to add to the existing plants because my reading tells me that having two varieties will help to increase your blueberry production.  So tomorrow I will also work on babying my existing blueberry plants with pine mulch and composted leaves, as well as adding a few new plants.  I hope that next summer will bring better success with these delicious berries!

I hope that next July I can report that the rosemary is thriving and the blueberry bushes are full!  Although the blueberries never seem to make it from the garden to the kitchen… 🙂

Broody again…

Well we found another broody hen yesterday! She is apparently much more clever than the folks who feed her. She had decided to lay a clutch of eggs in a small room under an out building by the time we noticed her she had 11 eggs she was trying to cover on a piece of plywood! That’s quite a trick with eggs rolling all over the place. She had to abandon 3 of them so she id down to 8. We decided last night to try and help her out. We moved a nesting box near her and transferred the eggs one at a time to the nest. Last we moved her. She was confused at first but now she has it figured out. We don’t know how many will make it, but we figure she deserves to try! Check back in a few weeks and we will post the results…fingers crossed!

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Peach Jam at the Mockingbird

Wow!  What a great morning at the Staunton Farmer’s Market!  Besides all our beautiful fiber products we sell home-made jams at the market too.  This morning the local Mockingbird Restaurant purchased some of our very own Peach Jam!  Apparently it was hit at the Mockingbird’s Farmer’s Brunch as we had customers coming over to the market to buy more!  So great to experience the synergy of local businesses supporting each other!  Thanks Mockingbird!!

We are very proud of our jams.  We use fresh fruits from our farm or from local farms.  We always use whole fruit, not juices, and reduced sugar.  Each jar is part of a small batch and DELICIOUS!!  We offer Strawberry, Black Raspberry, Blackberry, Peach and Apple Butter on a regular basis.  Special batches have included Spicey Caramel Apple and Pear Lime.  If you have a special request let us know!Peach Jam from Fordell Farm