Rain, Rain, Rain

In the past 96 hours, we’ve received well over 12 cm or 5 inches of rain.

On one hand, that’s a good thing, but if it doesn’t stop by tomorrow (June 17), I fear for a few things. Notably, my strawberries are struggling. Most of my ever-bearers are fruiting, with green fruit, and they don’t like it too soggy.

I netted my currants, saskatoons, and the four mature Haskap I’d planted 3 years ago (2 Borealis and 2 Berry Blue (TM)) and the 4 cherry trees (Carmine Jewel and Cupid) in the front yard, since the birds are already showing interest. I’ve got some kind of fungus on the currants, and I’ll sprinkle that with common sulfur (natural) today, as I’m not using chemical pesticides or fungicides. The strawberries had a little gray fungus late last year, and a couple of applications of sulfur really made a big difference. I got my first crop, the second one was a loss, and the third one in September was excellent! So sulfur works–at least to my mind.

I’ve got about 200 of the 9000 Haskap in the Thistle Orchard in standing water. Yesterday, I went down and marked off the site where that is happening, and today, I’ll transplant them to drier ground. I still have a couple of rows that I didn’t use in the initial planting–that I can move them to.

I also marked off the site of next year’s project. I’m intending to plant a further 5000 Haskap (or maybe something else.) in the 4 acres that are still available to me on the East perimeter of the orchard. I have two people interested in possibly investing in 1000 plants each; otherwise, we probably can’t afford the full 5000. Maybe time to write up some type of contract for managing their orchards lol!! Hadn’t really given that much thought. Too busy, I guess. I do want some changes in the pollenizers and maybe do one acre with the newer Honey Bee, or Aurora. Not sure yet which main cultivar will go in those 4 acres, though. We’re also giving some thought to planting a couple of acres of Carmine Jewel Dwarf Sour Cherries; I have 3 of them in my front yard, and they’ve only been there a year (maybe 2 years old or 3), and they each have enough fruit to make a pie! I cannot wait to pick them. Cherries would add a little variety to the Thistle Orchard, but that part of the orchard has not much protection from the North Wind, so I’ll have to think about planting a shelterbelt this fall, and maybe plant the cherries in the fall of 2014. We’ll see.

The Home Acre is doing well–it’s got excellent drainage. There is a little standing water in the NorthWest Corner, but it’s not reaching where the plants are, since there is a slight incline there. We’ll likely dig a small drainage ditch through that area, with the target being the NorthEast Slough. That should neatly avoid future problems there. All in all, I’d say the water issue has taught me something I probably already intuitively knew. Track your intended sites for at least one full season, and mark off potential zones of extra wetness in Spring and again in Rainy Season (almost always mid to end June here). Then plan for either drainage ditches/tile, or avoid those areas altogether. We actually observed the Thistle Orchard area through 5 years, but given it was a hayfield it was difficult to assess exactly where the problem areas were going to be. I think only 200 plants partly submerged, with time to correct them? not so bad, considering. I’ll move them today.

I’ve got some holes in the leaves of some of the weaker plants in the Home Acre (mostly the little short ones with very tender shoots–the more robust ones don’t seem to be affected). I took a closer look with a magnifier, and can’t see anything actively crawling on them. There was a bit of a kerfuffle in the Haskap Canada site about the possibility of tent caterpillars in the Prince Albert area (100 km from here), but I’m not seeing any of those. Whatever it is, it’s tiny. Might be a type of aphid. I’ll take a sample plant in the house today, and see if I can find what’s causing it. If it’s just aphids, a little old-fashioned soap and water should do the trick, but I’ll have to wait until the rains stop.

It’s still cold (12C) all day, so I’ve spent the morning doing a little reading. Here is an interesting article written by Dr. Maxine Thompson, in 2003. Very interesting material in there!!

Dr. Maxine Thompson on Lonicera caerulea in The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts, edited by Jules Janick and Robert Paull, 2003?

I also read more articles on different amendments people are using, and other interesting things that I’ve been wondering about.

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