I took a few days in early November to head-up to the farm to get the seedbed installed. I have 100 hazelnuts seeds from a variety found in Saskatchewan, 100 burr oak seeds (acorns) from a selected variety first found in the US in the early 20th Century, 100 red oak seeds from High Park, and a few hundred butternuts, and black walnuts that I had collected throughout the GTA. For the last few months, I’ve had scrap material solarizing the grass. This worked very well, and the soil was bare and would have been easy to work, were it not pure mud.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the farm this October. It was such a sight, to see all three wheelbarrows in use, and accomplishing things in minutes instead of hours. Unfortunately the Sunday was rainy, but the Saturday was glorious. We completed the paths, planted a bunch of spring tubers, and harvested radishes, carrots, sunchokes, kale, chard, chives, and much more.
The Food Forest is looking lush and green, with cosmo’s and clover flowering in the foreground.
I was pleasantly surprised to recently arrive up at the food forest, and see a mostly lush landscape. All of the trees planted (apples, pears, hazeulnuts, serviceberries, alders, buartnuts, black walnuts, butternuts) and berries (red, white, black currants, jostaberries, honeyberries, raspberries), garlic, chives, oregano and thyme had taken.
My brother and I went to Fiddlehead Nursery, run by Ben Caesar in the Beaver valley a few weeks ago to pick-up a bunch of edible perennials plants, including sorrel, sea kale, turkish rocket, sweet cicely, and lovage. It was the first time I’ve been to the Beaver Vallay in many years, and it was an extremely beautiful area. The escarpment reminded me of the landscape in Iceland.
With the spring melt the location of the food forest pond at the crotch of a watershed on the site means that it is slowing and infiltrating the water, hopefully to the point where the pond becomes well sealed and holds the water.
On March 2nd, Sonja and I helped my parents in collecting maple sap and making maple syrup. My dad built quite the firebox from a wood stove and we used a evaporator table made by a welder in Orillia. Eventually, we even incorporated a fan to create a high temperature flame and had a roiling boil.
On October 8th, the buckwheat cover crop that I had sown a few weeks before in the orchard was in full bloom (on the half we seeded first). It was shocking to come up to the orchard and so late in the season be surrounded by bee’s, attracted to the flowers. It is a moving experience to really hear the buzz of bee’s and know it is because of see you planted. You can see the orchard in the bottom of the picture above. The next morning, a strong frost killed all the buckwheat and no more bees were seen. No the buckwheat can become some bio-mass for next years plant growth.
I dug the pond out only a few hours before a major rain storm that brought 40-60mm of rain to the area. Within 12 hours there was a little muddy puddle in the bottom. In the weeks that have followed it has been remarkable to see how quickly life is attracted to the pond.
Last Friday I was able to dig most of the pond for the orchard. I chose the crotch of the small valley on the site as the site, so that drainage from the surrounding slopes can collect there, and hopefully recharge the water on-site.