Planting seeds in the spring is always an exciting time for me. I love to drop the dry bits into crooked rows, cover them with dirt and check them every day to see if they’ve sprouted yet! I’ve been a little behind on most gardening related projects this year, but we did get a few seeds in the ground. To our surprise, the first ones up were the carrots! They’re usually the ones we just about give up on before they finally decide to poke through the dirt. That was true of the beans this year – very unusual.
The most exciting thing we’ve gotten to plant recently though, are apple trees!
H. and Tiger spent the better part of a Saturday three weeks ago gathering supplies so they could plant two locally purchased apple trees (Fuji and Yellow Delicious) down at the farm. Someday the farm will have a fascinating name. We have some ideas, but nothing sounds just right yet. This farm could be in our family for decades, maybe centuries! It needs a name that everyone approves; one that will last.
Back to the apples trees . . . Tiger couldn’t understand why Dad was taking so much time to pick the right spot and prepare the soil well by adding in mushroom compost and worm castings. When Dad told him that he wanted the trees to be positioned well for sun exposure and have the nutrients to grow strong enough to live a hundred years, Tiger just laughed. Dad told him they could be his trees some day, so they both spit into the hole before settling the trees.
The next Thursday a rather large, long box arrived on our doorstep labeled “live plants.” Eight more apple trees (bare root ordered from Stark Bros. as a gift from Grandpa) were looking for a home.
On Friday, I opened the box to see if there were any delayed planting instructions since we weren’t going to make it down to the farm until Sunday. I found what I was looking for, sprinkled the shredded newspaper that surrounded the roots with water, closed up the box and relocated it to the unfinished part of the basement where they could rest in the cool darkness, away from prying hands.
On Sunday we hurried home from church, downed some lunch and packed the van – wheelbarrow, 24 T-posts, 100 feet of stock fence, shovels, picks, pliers, clips, bags of peat moss, worm castings and mushroom compost, snacks and water. An hour later we were on the road.
We were thrilled when we arrived at the farm to notice that the trees planted a week prior already had leaves and even a few buds on them. Since H. and Tiger had already measured and marked the planting site, we knew exactly where to start digging.
Thankfully the recent rains had softened the ground and digging wasn’t as hard as we expected. The pick mattox wasn’t really necessary, but it was fun to use!
Snack breaks are always important . . . of course I didn’t pack enough of them. We ran out way too soon, but everyone survived.
The kids helped scrounge some mulch from the edge of the woods to place around each tree.
We also surrounded each one with a five foot fence to protect them from nibbling deer. The girls made good fence sitters! You can see them here with Tiger in their “fort.” They really did help by sitting on the corners while I unrolled, measured and cut each piece.
We had intended to pack a 5-gallon bucket for hauling water up from the pond so each of the trees could have a drink. We forgot it . . . and all that could be scavenged from the barn was one with two large cracks half way down its sides. We used it anyway until one of the boys let it get away from him – then it floated to the center of the pond and sank! Thankfully God took care of the watering with both rain and snow (!) later that week.