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New Year - New Plantings - New Hope

It's mud season in New Jersey. Dreary skies and soaked ground.

2021 was a rather rough year, a hawk killed 7 chickens, the Apple trees had a heavy attack from codling moths and the 17 year locusts, and in the last week of December, the sheep (Woolbur and Fudge) girdled most of the fruit trees in the front orchard and I doubt that the trees will survive.

Girdling cuts through the outer surface of the bark and completely severs the cambium around the tree's entire circumference. The sheep had been in that orchard for weeks and never touched them and then, in a single day, they got to most of them. I suspect that they didn't have enough food and they were hungry. I was sad and disappointed but finally got around to seeing it as a sign that I will have to replant with some new varieties. In the meantime, I have wrapped most of the trees in a 5 foot wire mesh to prevent further damage and have started making yet another paddock next to the orchard in the back field so as to give them another place to roam. It's a messy, muddy job and a bit of work.

Today, the first day of 2022, I planted onion seeds in the green house. They are interesting varieties (Red of Florence, Globo, and Flat of Italy) from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and I am looking forward to seeing them sprout. I have also begun an attempt to start Cherry Trees from seed. I have had success starting trees from seed with Apples and Chestnuts thus far so we shall see. The seeds are now in the refrigerator for 10 weeks as they require a cold stratification period that normally occurs during winter.

The chickens are now safe and secure in a new chicken run. The sheep are well fed and soon to have yet another place to roam. I am well and still in love with growing things and working toward a permaculture environment where peace and beauty reign.

New Apple Varieties:

- Airlie Red Flesh Apple - Red Devil Apple

- Belle de Boskoop Apple - Morgenduft Apple

- Chisel Jersey Apple - White Limbertwig Apple

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