Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Low Maintenance Perennials

I really wish I had more time to work around the homestead. There are so many things I need to get done and not enough hours in the day. Here are a few things I have planted that don't take a lot of maintenance.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is so easy to grow. I mean it is almost effortless. The only catch is you have to let it establish a good root system before you can harvest from it. Most recommendations are to let it grow for 2-3 seasons before you harvest. I let ours go for three springs before I harvested. This plot has 10 crowns that I planted 4 years ago. I have 20 more crowns I just got in the mail. I need to find two more good spots, away from this one, so pests have a harder time moving around. Asparagus will produce for 30 years or so. Make sure you get yours in this year.

This is a Chicago Fig (Ficus carica). It is supposedly hardy to zone 5. I had another "cold hardy" fig that I lost over the harsh winter we just went through. I am pretty sure we just had a zone 5 winter. I hope this fig will do better than the one I lost.

Another plant and forget perennial is the Filbert (Corylus americana) or American Hazelnut. Pictured behind our puppy who was behaving in a rare moment of calm. I have 12 planted in the back yard and another hedge of 10 planted in the front yard. The trick is to get to the nuts before the critters do.

People tell me it is hard to grow blueberries (Vaccinium Cyanococcus) in a backyard setting. I say, look at this. Now, I do have a couple blueberries that are not producing as prolifically as this one, I just think it is a matter of finding the right variety that works well in your climate. Again the trick is to get to the fruit before the critters do.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Strawberries, Snakes And Puppies

In the words of the great George Takei; Oh my...

Our strawberries are going crazy this year. I have eaten a bunch out of hand and Dara has collected a couple bowls like this so far. There are still hundreds of strawberries that will be ripe in the next couple days. Plus, I just bought 75 more strawberry plants.

This is the Common Northern Water Snake or Nerodia sipedon. This guy was crossing my neighbors driveway, probably going to his backyard pond. It is non-venomous and will leave you alone if you leave it alone. Not all water snakes are poisonous. One easy way to tell them apart is; the heads of venomous water snakes are broad and distinctively larger than their neck. Also, venomous water snakes have vertical pupils, non-venomous water snakes have round pupils.

This is the Common Southwest Ohio Lake Pup. You can distinguish it from other species by its bright orange doggy life-vest, complete with carry handle.

Higgs only tried to jump into the lake a few times. We can't wait to take him backpacking!