Chronicles of the Long Shot Farm

Planting More Grapes

We planted nearly 2 acres of grapes today, the majority – 550 – at Zach and
Rachel’s farm just down the road, and then just 200 at the Long Shot Farm.  We had a better system  than in past years, and it went rather quickly.  Jeff made deep rows with a large single plow blade.  (We had already measured and placed posts to mark the rows on both ends).

Jeff used his deep sea fishing rod, which is over 12 ft long,  and duct-taped it to the tractor, so it stuck out 10 feet (the distance between the grape rows).  He had a string with a sinker at the end of the pole, which basically was centered above the previous row while he made the next furrow, so the spacing between rows remained a constant 10 ft.

We then used marking spray paint, and a “measuring stick”, to mark each spot where a grape had to be planted.  Lars, Jens and Zach alternated with marking spots, digging out the hole within the row a bit deeper, and planting.   Rachel and Tina helped with planting, and trimming roots, and Toben and Fiona dropped trimmed grape plants by the marked spots.

After the grapes were planted, Jeff used his “home-made” hiller – which consists of 2 disc blades mounted on a frame in the exact distance needed to disc/hill the grape rows shut, while straddling the grape plants.

Updated Herb Garden Layout

Since we installed the greenhouse in the middle of the herb garden last fall,  the former layout of the garden was completely off center.  This weekend, we finally too some time to re-do the herb garden paths so they actually lead to the greenhouse door.  It took quite some digging and moving dirt, but the end result was worth it!  We now have  much broader paths to reach the greenhouse, and still plenty of space for herbs.

By the way, the very cold winter did kill some of the more tender herbs, like the large rosemary we had for three years.  But we already planted new rosemary, and replenished the parsley (curly and flat).

We also added the old tractor part as “yard art” to the herb garden. We found this in one of our fence rows during spring cleaning and had to move it with the tractor – since it is so heavy.  It sort of resembles an over sized bundt cake pan!  We placed it on an old tree stump and will fill it with colorful summer flowers once it gets warmer!

Garden Started with Cold Hardy Plants and Seeds

We are actually on time this year with planting the early spring garden. For the last two weeks Jeff has been plowing, discing and laying some plastic and we now have the following seeds and plants in the garden:

Brassicas ready to plant

  • 50 lbs of peas
  • 50 lbs of red potatoes
  • somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 onions plants
  • 2 flats of cauliflower
  • 1.5 flats of broccoli
  • and half a flat of Brussels Sprouts
We also doubled the size of our asparagus patch.

Mulching More Elderberries

We have been planting more and more elderberry bushes along the steep hillside and around the perimeter of the lower pond.  Last fall, we got behind with weed-whipping and a lot of wild brambles started growing up around the elderberries.

This weekend, we thoroughly weeded between all the elderberries, and then added a very heavy layer of wood chips to subdue all weeds and retain moisture.  It looks very “landscaped”, but we hope that it will be easier to maintain this season.  (The forsythia is marking the corner of the elderberry patch)  Hoping for a small elderberry harvest this year!!

Pruning Season

Concord grapes on a high wire cordon trellis

Chambourcin – spur pruned cordon