Monday, 31 May 2010


Well well. I am now sitting in Milligan Collage. Some people might say that I am not a very 'social' person. I am not very out going and I don't spend my time chatting over things that I don't do, or know about. I enjoy talking very much about gardening, my research on different things, and winemaking. I could talk for a long time and not get tired. Its just, I don't spend a whole lot of time chatting with people. I prefer to hear people talk, listen to what they have to say. So, here I am sitting in my room, waiting for supper and than the speakers.

I got up at 6:40am and checked on the garden, pollinated two zucchini flowers, no three I think. Anyway. I made sure everything was in order and than told Jedidiah what he had to do. Thankfully with all the rain we have had, and with all the mulch I put down he will not have to water. Especially since it rained today. But, I told him to check on the zucchini every day and pollinate any flowers, since I don't have enough bees around my garden and the flowers only open for about 6 hours and than are gone. So, the two things he has to do up until he leaves is pollinate and harvest zucchini.

I am afraid that two of my zucchini are not going to survive. They have been in the fridge for a while and now I am gone and when I felt them this morning they were slightly soft. Oh well, I guess. When I get back maybe we can take them camping and grill them.

I finished packing this morning. I didn't have much to pack. I did pack quite a few books though, because I think I will be doing a fair amount of reading during our 'free time' each day.

At 8:30am my mom got a call from a friend and needed my mom to take her to the hospital. So, she left in the van. At a little after 9am I left with Londa to go to church. I stopped for gas and filled up. We got to church and we packed the van the church was renting to come up here. By a little before 10:00am we got going.

We stopped by chick fil a and ate lunch. We than got in and drove the rest of the way. At 2:30pm we got in. We registered and than got our stuff unpacked into our rooms. I found out the password to the internet and here I am.

So, I came here to hear the speakers, not to have 'fun'. After all, my kind of fun is doing research on a pump that pumps water using water. Or a man who built a castle by himself. :) Anyway. Supper is at 5pm-6:15pm and than Ice Breakers (not sure what they are, I forget what they had last year), and than two speakers.

Well, talk later!

English Vintner

Saturday, 29 May 2010


I think I have touched on this topic before but, its always good to 'recover' this topic. Wednesday or Thursday morning the mower guy came by and mowed. The next morning. It must have been Wednesday that he mowed, the next morning Thursday I got up and raked most of the grass right across the street where he had mowed. I left some on the more bare patches for fertilizer. I raked up a loose wheel barrow load. Last year I put all the grass over where I did sunflowers last year up by the curb, this year I am doing wild flowers. Anyway, back to the subject. I got a wheel barrow load and mulched the things up here. The 2 square foot gardens, the pot with zucchini and potatoes, and my blackberry that I have in a pot.

The next morning, which would be yesterday, Friday morning I woke up at 7am. About 8 hours of sleep, but I was good to go. :) I was able to rake all the grass along the stretch from the woods to the road along Ikerd Dr. I raked it up and PACKED it into two wheel barrows. I say packed because it was 3-4 times the amount I got in one wheel barrow on Thursday morning. You really can pack alot! :) I did not have time yesterday to do anything with the mulch, so I just dumped the two loads at the front of the compost compound. It rained quite hard yesterday afternoon and gave everything a good drenching, including the hay. :( But, oh well. I could still spread it fairly easily.

For most of the day we were at the Homeschool Book Fair. I got to here a few conferences and got to look at a lot of good books. I finally found a book I wanted to buy, on herbs. The book weighs about 5lbs and is called The Encycolopedia of Herbs. It is quite good. I got it for under $30, and I saw it on Amazon when I got back for nearly $60. So, I got a good deal.

It was too dark to see anything when I got back, so I couldn't do anything with the hay. In the morning I got up and drove over to my friends house, to clean our hive frames with lye and paint out bee hives. I got lost an took an extra half hour, but not too bad. It was just as well though because he was still asleep when I got to his house. Turns out two of his kids threw up in the night. So, we got in his car and got something to eat and then we were going to go to his friends house to pick up a brew pot to do the lye in. Well, it was aluminum so we didn't get it. We got back to the house, and than went back out to Lowes. We picked up a 15gallon galvanized tub and brought it back. We got water heating on it (we had a fish fryer outside burner). So, we started soaking and scrubbing the frames.

We took a break for lunch and than finished doing it. We also painted the hives. Than we used the lye solution and poured it in the cracks on top of the drive way. I took a look at his fruit: plums, peaches, apples, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, kiwis, and I dug up some ginger he had growing.

I got home easily enough, unloaded the hives and frames and went down to the garden. I used up the rest of the hay I had gathered. I mulched the zucchini, parsnips, peppers, tomatoes, watermelons, asparagus, and other spots in the garden. I think of all the garden area I have I think 3/4s of it that I have planted is mulched. 2/3s of it has grass used for mulch and than I have a lot of it under leaves also. I am hoping to mulch the garden heavily this fall, anything that doesn't have anything growing on it.

But I hope that the garden areas that I don't have stuff growing through the winter I hope to have wheat and soybeans over wintering. I would also like to do some more garlic, and fava beans through the winter.

So, I guess thats all for now. I have to pack tonight for next week. I hope to do quite a bit of research in the free time I have next week. Well, I shall be going now. *puts on ring, and vanishes* :)

English Vintner


English Vintner


English Vintner

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


The smell of brownies is in the house, and the humid air greets me. :) Thankfully a cool breeze is running through the house though.

I just got back from planting 35 sweet basil, a package of beans, and a small plot of baby carrots. I am only planting in the two biggest terraces we made so far. I want to get stuff growing before the weeds sprout.

I divided each terrace in half, and than sectioned the half into different things. This year I am not really adding the terraces into the 4 year rotation, but I hope to have it planned out for next year. In the top terrace in the right half I have an L of corn, and in the space not taken up by the corn I put summer lettuce. I am hoping the corn will grow faster than the lettuce, helping shade it more.

In the left bottom terrace (just below the top one) I divided the half into two sections the long way. And on the west side I did the beans, so that they will not shade what will be on the east half. On the other half I planted 2/3s of baby carrots, and almost a 1/3 of sweet basil. I will do a little bit of something right at the end.

So, thats about it. The tilth of the beds is very nice. We rototilled it very smooth. Most is no courser than a pea, a fair amount marble size, but nothing bigger than a quarter for the most part. Very nice. And the dirt is rich top soil. Deep brown in color, with a small patch of red clay at one end. Quite well drained.

Anyway, better go pick up the kids from the Greenway (a running/walking path near here) and check on the brownies.

English Vintner

Monday, 24 May 2010

Hard Work

Well, well, well. The play that we did was fantastic. Totally amazing. I enjoyed my role more than any other role I have ever had! (I was Dogberry, we did Much Ado About Nothing)

Friday afternoon my grandparents and two of my cousins arrived. We hung out and did a little gardening till supper time. Than my sister and older brother and I left to go to the theater early. We went over a few scenes. When the doors opened the rest of my family arrived and settled in. The play started at 8:00pm. It was quite good, we had an audience of around 80-100-/+. Which was quite a bit for the small bit of advertising we did for it, mostly through facebook and posters.

Afterwards friends from church took myself, my sister and older brother and our two cousins out to Steak and Shake. We enjoyed the fellowship, but didn't eat a whole lot, I got a raspberry shake.

We were in bed by about 12am. Than up by 7:30am to get in a bit of breakfast before we left to the theater for the second showing. The second showing went well, but not quite as good as Fridays showing. We had less of an audience Saturday, and less energy. But it was still quite fun.

After the play we had to take home everything, props and all, and clean up everything. We finally left a little before 11:30am. My cousin and I had decided we wanted to do something big, but we were not sure what. Maybe make a terrace or something. So, we got home ate lunch and head down to the garden.

We worked from 1pm till 6pm with a few breaks. During that time we put in two terraces each 5 feet wide and 15-20ft long. We had to haul some trees and chop down a few. At 6pm we started the grill because I wanted to see how my cousin grilled zucchini. We got the first zucchini and grilled it up, along with some fish. We ate that along with enchiladas. At around 7:45pm we headed down to the garden. We worked for about 20 minutes and came back up. Washed dishes and did some jazz (as my cousin likes to say). By 8:30pm we headed back out and worked till 9:30pm. Thankfully the moon shown brightly, because it would have been hard to see if it had not. For that last hour we finished up the two terraces and got them all nice, made the paths on either side of them and put in a few other spots to plant. We than tilled and cleared the area to the right of where we made the two terraces. Tilled it all up.

At 9:30 we came up, got some water, and took showers and were asleep by 10:20pm. I got up at 7:10am the next morning to have breakfast ready. I pollinated another zucchini (for the last week or two I don't think I have gone more than 2 days without pollinating a zucchini!) and got breakfast ready. We left for church at 8:40 and had a good worship service. We took a walk later on in the afternoon before evening worship service and took a look at someone else garden terraces in our neighborhood.

Sunday night, after church we came home and opened up 8 beer bottles, of cream soda. :) My grandma like it so much she asked me to make her some and she would buy it next time we come. So, I was quite pleased. We than got together a game of Catan with my cousin Jether, Josiah, my dad and I. It was the first time my dad had played, and he won. We got to bed a little after 12am.

Than, this morning we got up at 7:30. Came down, saw that breakfast was porridge (that needed cooking) and so we went to go down to the garden. We got down and started cutting down trees and making 4 smaller terraces. We cut down 1 poplar, about 8 inches thick, 1 elm that was aboaut 7 inches thick. And 3 memossa. One was 12 inches thick that we cut down in 6 minutes (yes, we can work fast!:), we both chop at the tree at the same time! At 9am we went back got packed and while he packed I ate a hurried breakfast, or bowl of porridge. We than rushed down to the garden and finished putting in 3 terraces and making a path for one of the big terraces we had made on Saturday. At 9:45am we headed back up to the house and said our good byes. A great time had by all.

I than showed by family the work we had done, came back here with two cups of coffee, and so sit here writing down the journal of the last few days. I think Isaiah will be glad to read it, here what we did while they were here, even if he did miss out on it. Now to enjoy vacation.

God Bless!

English Vintner

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


It was suppose to be sunny today. But stayed cloudy up until the afternoon where we got patches of sun. I would guess that we have gotten close to 5" or rain since Saturday night. The garden loves it, but was missing the sun that we have not had more than a few peaks at since Sunday. I am hopeful that tomorrow will bring a full day of sun.

We did not get to go strawberry picking because of all the rain. But we might go tomorrow. I really would like to get in some more strawberries. We could probably use 30 gallons to last us the whole year, but I will settle with 20 -/+.

I have learned of my fruit that we should be getting a cup or two of raspberries, a dozen or so of black raspberries, and a cup or so of black currants. All these were put in this year, which is very exciting. The strawberries did better this year, but with the deer the growth will be cut back once again. I would like to put in more strawberries this fall. Either next to the ones in the bed, or make a bed somewhere else, I haven't decided.

I would also like to plant some ginseng this fall. A crop which I am not at ease talking too freely about on the web, for reasons if you want details about I can email chat with you about.

The garden is doing quite well, most things seem to have benifited from the rain. My zucchini are doing fabulous. Every morning I get up and see if I need to pollinate any female flowers. It is fun, I have zucchini flowers blooming everyday, usually a few male and a few female. I think I have 4-5 pollinated zucchini forming. And I could probably harvest the biggest one this weekend, we might grill it. I have 6 big zucchini plants, 3 that are a little behind, and another 4-6 that are only 8 inches tall. So a total of about 14 plants! If each plant makes ONLY 6 that is 84 zucchini! So, I will probably start selling zucchini pretty soon. Within the next month. If we get loaded with a few zucchini bread is always a favorite among the kids!!!

At church I was given tomatoes from a fellow organic gardener. Her family does not have a very stable job and they have a HUGE garden. Enough to get them through most of the year! I am hoping to have their family over soon. She gave me around 35 tomatoes! All heirloom! So, I think we will have a lOT of tomatoes this year! I am planting them in every spot I have possible. I still have about 20 left to plant. I will be saving the seeds from each one and keeping them for next year. Next year I am doing all non-hybrids, unless something convinces me other wise.

My cousin gave me about 5-7 different varieites. Now I have another 15+different varieties! Quite fun.

My beans are all flowering, as are most of the peas.

I was reading up about corn. Some varieties can get up to 12ft tall! I would grow that just for the organic matter! :)

I was also doing some research on Monsanto. It is sick what they are doing. I might post a few websites that I posted on facebook.

English Vintner

Monday, 17 May 2010


We had a terrific amount of rain last night. Quite a bit, since we haven't had much rain for a month or two, we have usually had a few sprinkles, but nothing more than an inch at at time. But this time we got almost 2 inches of rain. Great for the garden, since I won't have to water for a few days!

My corn is sprouting in the bed that I prepared for them and sweet potatoes. Speaking of sweet potatoes, my sweet potato slips are sprouting quite fast, I have two shoots that are 4 inches long. I hope to have at least one bed planted before June. Next year I will start the sweet potato slips MUCH earlier. I hope to get some sweet potatoes in around april, and than maybe do a later planting near the end of May.

My watermelon and muskmelon are coming up that I planted in pots. My asparagus is doing great, I would say more than half of the roots we planted have sprouted, and more than half of what has come up is over 12inches tall! So, I think we should be able to cut a little bit next spring! Rhubarb, only one crown has come up so far, but it is almost 8" tall and doing great. 4-6 sprouts that are 1/2" in diameter. My horehound is HUGE! It is 3 ft tall and VERY wide! My silver dollar finally has silver dollar. Until it did I wasn't sure which was silver dollar, and which was horehound. My mints are well, garlic doing ok also. A few of the flowers I planted seem to be getting attacked, or maybe just transplant shock. Nothing too dangerous, just some of the shoots from the roots don't look to healthy. My casecade hop is about 14" high, two shoots. My other hop is not sprouting yet. I did some more research and found that I might not get any hops this year, but next year I should get a few hops, and the year after that and the following I should get TONS!

My niagara grape vine seems to be getting a disease I think. I have about 9 books that I bought on vineyard/wine/winery/running a vineyard and such, so I will have a look at a few books that I have and see if I can figure out what is going on. I have 2 raspberry canes that have a few flowers. I will probably let them flower, even though I probably should not. But I have so many red raspberries I wouldn't mind getting a handful this year. The other fruit that I bought from Stark Bros is doing quite well. I have a flowering quince, seems to be doing alright, but shrub type bush I got that has a few aphids and is not doing as well.

My potatoes are coming up in the potato plot I have. My zucchini are doing awesome! I have 1 that is 6 inches long, and I think I have one more that was pollinated a few days back. But yesterday I pollinated by hand another zucchini, and today I pollinated 2 zucchini. It is quite easy to tell a female flower from a male flower on squash plants once you learn. So, I hope to get a good crop of zucchini this year. Our family LOVES zucchini bread, and is probably what a lot of it will go into. You make it like banana bread and the kids love it! We will probably try it a few different ways as well also.

My peas that had aphids are recovering. And most are flowering. So I expect we should be picking peas in a week or two. A small harvest for what we planted, but I hope to get one this fall that is better. My beans are doing well. Actually most of them are flowering. I wasn't sure how big they would get before they flower, but they are between 12-24 inches and flowering. Some of the varieties are flowering smaller than others.

My parsnips are growing well I would say. Not quite as many germinated as I would have liked, but I think I should get a pretty good harvest this fall. Most are between 2-4 inches tall, with a few leaves past what they started with. My onions are doing pretty well. Most of the onions are between 4-8 inches tall. The shallots are at least as tall. And the leeks are between 1 1/2-4 inches tall.

I have learned a lesson. When you harvest lettuce, a whole bunch, be sure to pack it away in plastic bags and refrigerate! I opened up my cooler which I had had ice packs in and about 6 heads had started to turn. Because of lack of ventilation, too much moisture without enough air movement, and lack of cold. So, we live and we learn. At least it goes back into the compost!

My hope, is to get about 40 watermelons this year. I will have planted, or will plant soon, by the end of this month close to 30 watermelon vines. So, as long as they do well enough, I hope to get a decent crop.

The deer came for the first time and ate some of my garden early Saturday morning. Yeah, go figure, once I take the chicken wire off the strawberries, they come. They ate 3/4s of the leaves of my strawberry plants (like last year!!!!) and ate 1 or 2 tops of jerusalem artichokes. I think they tried the jerusalem aritichokes and didn't like them. They also ate the 3-4 berries that would have been ripe on Saturday.

Saturday morning we went strawberry picking, I picked a total of 5 gallons, and the rest of my family picked 6 gallons, a total of 11. I am known as the fastest strawberry picker in the family, I guess not just for any reason. I know what color a strawberry should look like from 24 inches away, and I look on both sides of the row, and I brush the folliage out of the way as I scan the rows.

We made quite a few gallons into freezer strawberry jam. (My favorite) Froze a few more gallons and with the gallons that were left demolished them all by sunday night! I hope we can go again this coming Wednesday. We might try and go with some friends. If we do go again it would be nice to get 13 gallons (that is the amount of baskets we have), but I don't know how many they will have by than. So, I would be pleased with whatever the amount is we get. I wouldn't mind making a gallon or two of strawberry wine.

I've been doing some research on lunar stuff. Gardening by the moon, beekeeping by the moon, and drinking wine by the moon. Some pretty interesting stuff. If you would like to read more on it I can post the link or email it.

Somehow our cat was able to get into my winery and went to the bathroom! At times I am QUITE fed up with the cat. He is able to get through a space about 12 inches by 8. I had previously blocked up with insulation. He got through and jumped 7 feet to the nearest object. Than he can't get out!!! I spanked him hard and put wood up in the spaces. At times I feel he just does it to spite me, I wouldn't be surprized if he does. I really wonder if I will have an indoor cat in my own house.

Anyway, had a great time with my cousin who just graduated from Le Tourneau University, with a major in biomedical enginearing. When he did the SAT I think he got perfect math! He had quite a few collages who wanted him! :)

English Vintner

Friday, 14 May 2010

More Corn

Well, after clearing our the lettuce yesterday I had a nice patch of ground that was bare. Well, not completely, I had 3 inches of leaves as mulch around the soil. Let me back up a little. Back in March I put in the romaine lettuce, transplants from the green house. After a week or two, maybe early April I spread oak leaves (the small ones) all around the lettuce as a mulch. I think since April I have watered 3 times (not counting when it rained). The amazing thing is that the lettuce did great, and was not bitter (often happens from not enough water. So, with the lettuce planted so close together and the use of mulch I did not have to pull a single weed, and the water it conserved was amazing! I HIGHLY recommend you mulch your crops.

Back to corn. So, using the hoe I dug up the soil, it was held together by the small roots from the lettuce, but was very easy to break up because the mulching had kept the soil moist. After I had it well tilled I got about 8 gallons of manure (yeah, I know, you don't really measure dry ingredients by gallon, but think of a 5 gallon bucket) and added it to the soil and mixed that in. I wasn't sure how much nitrogen was in the ground, even with the addition of manure. So I sprinkled some bone meal (for strong roots for the corn) and some blood meal as some ready available nitrogen. I mixed that in. I than planted the corn. I left room for two watermelons to grow (just a small 4 inch space to put the transplant). I than spaced the corn about 4-6 inches apart. The area that the lettuce was in was as wide as the deep bed (4ft aprox.) and 3 feet wide roughly. So, I got in about 64 kernels of corn, or so.

The method I am using here is what some people call, the three sisters. That is the name the indians (native americans) called it. You have your corn that you plant. Than, you plant your beans, and the beans grow up the corn. Than you plant the melon/squash/pumpkin on the ground. The corn grows up, the beans grow up the corn, and the squash grow along the ground and block out weeds. Also animals don't like to walk on spiky spikes that sqaush have, so they won't eat the corn or beans. You first harvest the beans and than the corn, and than at the end of the season you harvest the squash. So, I am not planting beans here, because I am planting soybeans here in the fall, and don't want to grow the same crop in the same space twice in less than 3-4 years. (I practice good crop rotation, unlike most gardeners, no offense).

I am very pleased with the corn I am growing. I hope to get a good harvest, and it will add a lot of bulk to the compost!

Alright, on to mulching. The main reason that I mulch is to conserve moisture, the second reason is to keep down weeds. The best material in my opinion (and most organic gardners) is organic material. So, leaves, grass clippings etc. Now, a lot of mulch covers are plastic. The only reason for this is to warm up the soil and keep down weeds. The reason for using organic material is that it adds to the garden soil.

Probably the best thing to mulch with is fresh grass clippings that are slightly dried. You don't want them wet, because they stick to eachother. But you don't want them to dry either, or they lose the nitrogen content. But, most people do not have a readily supply of grass clippings. The next best options are bagged leaves (I picked up about 25 bags from around the neighborhood last fall, great for compost and mulching) and hay and straw. Unfortunately only fresh grass clippings will add nitrogen to the soil, leaves, hay, straw and newspaper only add carbon.

So, use whatever you have on hand.

It is best to mulch after a heavy watering, since it doesn't allow as much water into the soil. So water the plants heavily before mulching. It is best to mulch the plants when they are around 4 inches tall. You don't want to smother them, but on the other hand you want to use the mulch before the plant is done growing.

Well, I guess that is all for now. For more information on mulching, and a great site about gardening, go here:

English Vintner

Thursday, 13 May 2010


I was able to get the post that I tried to write last night. Here it is:


Life is busy, and I am a little discouraged about my headway in math. I am on the third unit, half way through, and I have 4-6 left to go before September when I start a co-op chemistry class. I have found some of it hard to understand and times, when the examples they give do not exactly match the problems I am doing. I am than left with questions about things. I am going through it on my own, partly because my mom is not much better at math than I am, and she is so busy I don't bother asking for help. But, if I take life one day at a time, it tends to look a little better...sometimes.

Anyway, gardening is always a good thing to to do. And the amount of stuff I research on the internet cannot compare to what the average public schooler would know. Besides, I am researching and doing the things I plan to be doing for my work, my life.

I decided today that I wanted sweet corn. I decided where I was going to put it before I made the decision to buy it. We went to Lowes to pick up a few things, along with corn. I got a variety that looked good. Didn't spend a lot of time figuring out which one I would really want, just picked one. I got two packets, they were inexpensive and I didn't know how much were in each. It turns out that there are about 250 in each! I also picked up some blood meal, and got the wild flowers that someone was going to pay for for my mom's birthday.

I got home and tilled up the area where I am planting the wild flowers. It was quite easy at this point, for I think 3 years ago we had a friend till it up for the first time basically ever. Than I think two years ago I tilled it with a mattock (yipes). And last year I may have done the same with pick axe. So, it had been turned over for the last 2-3 years. And this was the third time I had tilled it this year. I tilled it back in March, and than again in April to get it to a fine tilth. Today I tilled it to disparage the weeds and give the flowers a good head start. After tilling it I brought the tiller back down to the garden area, but I decided to do some tilling on the other side of the creek, so I could plant some lettuce that might survive the burning summer heat. So I tilled it up (careful not to let the tiller fall into the creek! What a disaster!) and I am hoping to plant another 30 heads or so in there.

I previously in the after noon had tilled up the area where I was planning to put sweet potatoes. I had gone over it quite a few times, the last time to keep the ground moving so the weeds are harder to grow. This time it was just to loosen the soil just a little so I could mound it. Jedidiah helped me make the bed where I wanted to put the corn. It was about 24-30 inches wide, and 20ft or so long. I planted the corn about 4 inches apart, we will see how they do. I did about 250 kernels of corn. And hope to do the other bed in a week or two. I want to space them out by a little bit. I will do sweet potatoes in the middle. Once the sweet potatoes are big they will act as a living mulch. I am expecting the corn to be ready sometime in August. I expect a big harvest! And lots of bulk compost! :)

I sprinkled some blood meal over the corn because I could not very easily spread horse manure. So, we will see how they do.

I am still picking up the silk worms from the brassicas. My shelling peas are flowering. So I should get a sizeable harvest of peas this spring. But I hope for a bigger one this fall.

I sprayed most of my plants, especially the ones that had aphids on them with a spray of garlic, onion, and a little dishsoap. No oil this time. Last time the oil burned the plants when the sun came out. I am hoping this should get rid of most of the aphids.

I planted some more acorn squash in a box also.

English Vintner

English Vintner


I had written out a long blog post, and my computer died. That was last night, today I plugged it in and had to restart. :( So, I lost it.

I had to harvest all my head romaine lettuce today. I have a sign out front and I am selling it. Maybe I'll get a few bucks.

Busy day today, better go.

English Vintner

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Garden Time

Well well well. I have been busy. Though I think I have had more fun than school lately.

The garden is doing well, though the dreaded aphids are back again, and silk worms are eating my brassica. The silk worms seem to come in patterns. I am assuming the moth or butterfly lays the eggs and they are hatching every 1-2 weeks. I experienced this last year when I tried to grow cabbage. But the soil didn't have enough nitrogen (other than that the soil was awesome) and the silk worms came every week and it was all I could do to keep them off.

My chinese cabbage is doing quite well, I think we should be able to eat it soon. My peas are actually flowering, my cousin said they are probably doing this because the plant is under stress, so it seeds sooner than usual. So, I will probably get a small crop of peas. I am hoping to get a better crop this fall.

I actually found out something that surprized both me and my cousin. My black currant, that I bought just a few months ago, is flowering! This is the first year I have had it, so it looks like I will be getting a small crop of berries this year!!!! I am amazed!

My tomato plants seem to be doing well. My potato plot has not come up yet, though I am not very anxious, I planted most of them before many eyes came on them. Most of the other fruit is doing well, though I don't see any flowers. My niagara grape vine has reached the top of the fence, and will soon reach the ends of the fence. I hope that next year, or the year after that I get a few bunches of grapes!

The other grape vines I planted are doing well. Most have sprouted. My beans are doing quite well.

The bee keeping business seems to be coming along well. I am hoping to get together with my friend sometime this week so we can get everything organized and do some stuff together. We have not gotten bees yet, he talked to another person who was cheaper and he has not talked to me yet if he has answered him. Tomorrow we should be setting a time, and hopefully have a better idea of where we are getting the bees.

Well, its time for me to go have some sparkling juice and raspberry trifle!! Celebrating my sisters birthday tonight! I made one of the angel food cakes (from scratch!) for the trifle!

English Vintner

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Raspberries. They are probably one of my favorite fruits (though currants and gooseberries may soon be my favorite). Last year I got 45 plants. And we did not plant them in the best place. We didn't dig the holes very well. As with most things, if you have mass than you tend to not pay as much attention to each individual one. Well, only about 6 survived last year (a lesson learned, and thankfully not TOO costly).

This year I ordered 3 black raspberry and 5 red raspberry. My cousin than brought another 5 or so black raspberries and 8 or so red raspberries. I made a bed for the red raspberries and than my cousin helped me make a bed for the black raspberries. I then recently received from a good friend of mine, 3 yellow raspberries, 4 black raspberries, and several more red raspberry plants. So, I have quite a few raspberry plants this year! Around 15 black raspberry plants, 18 red raspberry plants, and 3 yellow raspberries. So, I hope that next year I should get a small harvest, and the year after an even bigger one.

I was recently doing some research on raspberries. I had wondered about yellow raspberries and purple raspberries. Raspberries like other berries are related to blackberries. The four main cultivators of raspberries are red, black, purple, and yellow. I have not found much information on how they got yellow raspberries from red raspberries, but somehow they did. The yellow raspberries grow quite similar to red ones. Purple raspberries are a cross between red and black raspberries. Purple raspberries tend to grow more like black raspberries. Black raspberries canes tend to be more curved, arched, while red raspberries grow a little more straight.

The other difference found in raspberries is that you have everbearing and summer bearing raspberries. Summer bearing raspberries tend to produce fruit fairly early on in summer, bearing once. While ever bearing raspberries bear fruit a little later and than have a few weeks where the do not bloom, and than they have another harvest. Some everbearing raspberries will continue to produce fruit until a frost.

Raspberries are a great berry to grow!

For more information on them, and where I collected most of the information on them, go to this website.

English Vintner

Saturday, 1 May 2010


I just read March Action by Will Sutherland. It is encouraging to hear what he is doing, I always try to savor each section that he writes. If you don't know the website (forgotten or other) than I can send you the link.

I have killed a lot of the aphids by spraying with garlic oil, dishsoap water. I just hope that the peas will regain strength to grow some more from the damage done by the aphids. I also hope that the oil in the water that is now coating the leaves is not causing any 'burning' on the plant. I know it said to not spray on sunny days, but I figure, either they get eaten by aphids or they might get burned? I found that the peas up here in the bed had aphids TOO!!! Why peas??? I also sprayed the strawberries. But with the strawberries I was able to concentrate the spray on the stems and lower down verses the leaves. I have heard that ahpids don't like garlic (next year I will interplant garlic with EVERYTHING! :) so I did that, I can still see the bodies of the dead aphids, but I can see more on the peas again. So, I will be spraying more this evening.

The grapevines came last night. I planted 4 of them on the fence already, hope to get the rest of them planted. It appears that I got an extra 2 Muscat grape vines. So, I will split them, give you an extra one and me an extra one. I am not altogether sure what grapevines you get, so I will go back and check. I will be putting your grapevines in pots and bring them to you when I see you.

This was taken from an email to a good friend and gardener of mine, incase it sounds a little bit more odd than some of the other posts.

No time to dilly dally. I still have more stuff to plant before the sun goes down! Bee hives are coming along well! Cheers!

English Vintner

p.s. Here is the link to Will Sutherlands website: