A big box from Raintree Nursery arrived yesterday. Perfect timing! It arrived just in time for planting on a lovely, sunny day, plus my in-laws were in town and available to help kid wrangle and dig holes. The order included a 4 X 1 grafted Euro Pear tree and three apple trees, Greensleeves, Queen Cox, and Pristine. Also included, dwarf Necta Zee nectarine and El Dorado peach. Since we have mild summers, these two will live in the greenhouse to ensure they have enough warmth in the summer. Sadly, the anticipated White Doyenne pear tree was missing from the order. Raintree tends to have good customer service, so I am sure the pear will arrive shortly. In addition to the trees, a few fruiting shrubs were also delivered, including a black currant and two Highbush Cranberry.
All of the above required a lot of digging, most of which I was able to avoid. My husband and father-in-law did the bulk of this work, but I did not escape hard labor today. I took on two tough projects. First, I planted 25 crowns of Jersey Knight asparagus. I planted these in a raised bed that I prepared last fall. This required a lot of digging and stooping over to plant. The bed was heavily amended with goat manure, leaves, and straw, so it should be an ideal environment for asparagus, which is a heavy feeder. After this, I tackled the strawberry bed. I snipped off all the old growth, weeded the bed, and then applied a good covering of composted goat manure and straw. The strawberries should be very happy this year. You can see the finished strawberry bed in the photo above. Behind it, you can also see a compost bed. The white material on top of the bed is the shredded paper used as packaging material for the Raintree order. I am recycling this via composting. I also took the large cardboard box, flattened it, and am using it to extend the lasagna garden planting area. These projects were a lot of hard work and I am certainly happy to have them done.
Finally, a quick update on my seed starting efforts. As I wrote previously, I was having trouble with leggy seedlings. The consensus was that the grow lights were too far from the seedlings, so I adjusted my system and am having much better results. The leggy seedlings don’t appear to have been a disaster, though. I planted them in the greenhouse (a bit deeply because of the legginess) and they seem to be doing fine. I continue to follow the seed starting schedule published by DoubleD and am happy to report my tomato seedlings, planted last weekend, have already sprouted nicely.