Thursday, August 30, 2007

Great Busy-ness Returns

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not quite 8 PM and it is very dark out. It tried to rain all afternoon and got hotter and hotter but only a brief offering of small drops fell....kind of like my dad used to say, "Not enough to wet the dust." He said this a lot when we lived on Church Hill Road in Woodstock because in those days nothing was used for dust control and the house sat about 20 feet from a dirt road, originally no wider than an International Harvester tractor or a single Ford truck.

We have begun to increase the tempo here at Vermont Flower Farm. It is time to begin the move to the new property. Last weekend Gail and Michelle and I got about 20 crates of daylilies dug and cleaned up for replanting. As of tonight I have two left in the B's and then will start with the C's. This is a difficult task as I really don't know when to get started. I made Gail a nice Excel sheet of all our stock but my work was based upon my knowledge of what plants Gail has and where they are. As example, I thought the C's would start with Catherine Neal but tonight Gail reminds me that there is Carefree Peach and 2 rows of Cedar Waxwing waiting outside my office. They are all nice daylilies but the point is I only want to plant them once---and in the correct order.

I had made 24- 50 foot by 10 to 12 foot plots. Our original thought was to plant one huge clump and then a number of rows in front so customers could see what the plant looked like as a mature specimen and then we'd dig out a smaller plant to sell them. When you're crawling around on your hands and knees you can't get much closer to the reality of your thoughts. After I planted about 10 plants worth the way Gail and I had planned it, I could see this was a foolish idea. If the intent of new gardens was to cut down on labor, then why was I planting huge clumps in the direct path of the rototiller? At some point soon I'll go back and fix those rows but right now I'm on a roll and all the new rows are dress-right-dress and they look quite good.

I had put on over 200 yards of manure in these plots and did a super job rototilling with the new tractor. Except the edges of the higher-on-the-hill plots, the tilling is superb and the plants should be monsters. The edge is a different story as the perimeter is where the clay starts and stops and that will affect how well the plants close to the borders grow.

For each row I dig a trench a foot deep. I put in 10-10-10, a couple inches of maple leaf mold from last year, a couple inches of manure, and some lime. I mix this thoroughly and then begin lining out the daylilies, one name per row.

Last night I hitched up the new gas operated water pump. My idea of what was supposed to happen and Gail's were quite different. I figured I would plumb it up the way I understood, put oil and gas in the 5 hp Honda engine, fill the pump with water and pull the cord. I figured I'd see water come out the hose end and I'd be on my way to the next project.

Gail came down to visit abut 5:30-6 and seemed like the rest of the kids on their first day of school. She was so happy there was water that she couldn't believe it. I got what I expected and that was the end of the story. Gail grabbed the hose and watered previous plantings and worked her way down to where I was planting. She was just overwhelmed by the fact that water could come out of a river, up a steep bank and across an entire elevated field to new rows of plants. It was apparent that she didn't think I could figure this out but since this worked so well she was free with kind comments and thank yous.

Next year when we have electricity, I'll go to a bigger pump and a different location but right now this is just fine. If any of you have questions about how I picked the pump, ask away. For what I wanted and what I was prepared to pay. I'm quite happy. Right now, some sleep without interruption would be nice. Think I'll give it a try.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where it's a quiet and calm 65 degrees out and a "not too nice" 78 and humid inside.

Kind gardening thoughts,

George Africa

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