Before the blackberry plants arrived, we had already planned the vegetable garden, plowed and disked the soil and put in the cold weather crops. (The picture shows Jeff and Zach in the garden)
Here is what we had planted by April 5:
- 20 lbs of Kenebec potatoes
- 20 lbs of Red Pontiac potatoes
- 3 seed packs of Hollow Crown parsnips
- Green Ice lettuce ($1.25 worth of loose seeds)
- Detroit Dark Red red beets ($1 worth of loose seeds)
- Little Marvel peas (~ half a pound)
- 300 onion plants ~ about 260 Candy, and 40 Spanish
- 50 asparagus roots in a separate trench
This evening we also planted 1 lb of Early Frosty hull peas. And Jeff and Lars put down drip irrigation hoses for the vegies. Then we decided this garden was not going to be large enough, and Zach plowed another plot for extra sweet corn.
Meanwhile, the tomato and pepper plants (and some flowers and herbs) are growing in flats inside the house – in sunny windows.
Well, Duff (in the picture with his wife Anja) came up with the name while we were all brainstorming about what to name the farm. The entire exercise was more difficult than naming a baby. It took a while to sink in how fitting The Long Shot Farm name really is and how flexible and appealing to everyone. Good job Duff!
It turns out that everyone we mentioned this name idea to interpreted the meaning a different way, here is a sampling:
Jeff: “Great, and for our website URL we could use 25.06” (his favorite caliber)
Tina: “You are right, I never thought we’d pull this off and actually get a little farm”
Sam: “I thought it’s because everyone in the family is a really – REALLY – good shot, you know, we are the long shot family”
Zach: “you are not allowed to post anything about me”
Rachel: “As in ‘slim chance of succeeding?'”
Knud: “As in the extra tall shotglasses at a bar? Perfect”
Anja: “I was really surprised to come back from Germany to find out that you named the farm after Duff”s idea – wow”
On a more practical note:
- We are just about a “long shot” from the borough of Carlisle…meaning it’s a relatively short drive.
- A photographer would think of the beautiful scenery being captured by a wide angle lens.
3500 feet of tubing, 600 emitters, assorted fittings and (most importantly) a bunch of “goof plugs” later – the irrigation lines are working and dripping slowly onto the newly planted brambles. We set it up so that we can connect a water house from an outside spout to the irrigation feeder line as needed, right by the garage. With the current water pressure from our well, we can run three of the blackberry rows at once. Jeff set it up so each row has it’s own on/off valve, giving us lots of flexibility. Since the irrigation is working so well, and was rather easy to set up, Jeff wants to now irrigate the vegetable garden also.
By 8:30 this morning we had figured out how to work together to get the brambles into the ground rather quickly: Jens and Zach took turns running the auger to make holes for each plant.
Jeff trimmed the roots of each plant and dropped them into the holes, Tina followd and planted each bramble. Then Lars inserted an emitter into the drip line at each plant.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the UPS truck pulled into our driveway and delivered 2 huge boxes of dormant blackberry plants. After reading every article, website posting and advertisement and re-reading the Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide all winter long, we had finally decided to start off with the Apache variety.
We had already planted Arapaho, Navaho, Hull and Chester (we think) varieties in our previous backyard, but decided we needed to expand – which is how our farming adventure got started. This is our first spring at the new farm and we have been clearing trees and fence rows all winter long. Jeff had been working on what will be our first acre of blackberries for weeks – marking off the rows, sinking the end posts for the trellis wires, figuring out fertilizer needs. So planting brambles is our first order of business, to be followed by replanting vidal blanc and chancellor grape vines that we left behind at our old house.
So this week we officially started to plant the 600 brambles. By Thursday evening we had finished about 100 plants, with Jeff drilling the hole with a hand held (gas motor driven) auger, Tina putting in the plants, and Lars putting the drip emitters into the irrigation line. Then thunderstorms moved in and we did not get any further. The remaining – dormant – plants are sitting in large plastic bins covered with moist peat moss and we are hoping for dry and warmer weather for this weekend.