There is a touch of Spring in the air that I have felt in the past week or so. The first tree in our village to blossom every year, began blossoming a few days ago. Spring is on it's way.
I have spent a few hours here and there planning for our warmer weather garden. Without a greenhouse there is not a lot going on in the garden at this time of year. Something we hope to change in the future, but until then we must work with the seasons. With the not uncommon November frosts, it can become a little tricky.
|listing and doodling|
Deadlines are closing very soon for my fruit tree order, so this is highest in the list of priorities right now. Last year we planted four heirloom apple varieties (Lord Lambourne, King of the Pippins, Granny Smith and Laxton's Superb) . We also planted a plum and peach (courtesy of a local charity stall, so no indication of the variety, but you can be guaranteed that they are hardy in the local conditions) and a persimmon.
This year I am hoping to add a mulberry, apricot, more peaches and plums, a cherry, pear trees, quince, chesnut and olive trees. This all sounds highly ambitious, doesn't it? Although last year we planted over 140 plants for a mixed privacy hedge around our property. That was hard work. But I do feel that the sooner we get these varieties in, the sooner we can be harvesting home grown fruit. Which was one of the reasons we originally moved here for. With the rising cost of produce and uncertainty of growers, we are very eager to plant as much as possible for the future.
|pages from the above vintage book|
I am also pondering which vegetable seeds to order this year. Certain seeds planted last year were very successful ( golden zucchini, paris market carrots, kale, red frilly lettuce, broccoli), but some were not (onions, cauliflower, sage, to name a few).
|Green Harvest catalogue|
I prefer older and generally hardier heirloom varieties for fruit and vegetables. Besides it is far more interesting and satisfying knowing that you are helping a variety to survive and thrive in this day and age of supermarket varieties, where they often sell only one or two varieties, often dictated more by their shelf life than their taste.
Here are some links to good heirloom sites that I have used. There are other good sites out there, but these I have used personally.
Fruit trees :-
- Yalca Fruit Trees - they have a large variety of apples and other fruit and nut trees. Also a berry selection.
- Stun's Sail Boom River Nursery - on Kangaroo Island. I bought my apple trees there last year and they were perfectly healthy, a good size, and have thrived here.
- Green Harvest - suppliers of seeds, plants and books. Good catalogue.
- Eden Seeds - a really huge variety available. I love reading their catalogues.
- Greenpatch - another excellent organic seed, plant and book supplier.
- The Lost Seed - many rare varieties and from a cold climate, which is perfectly suited for planting here.