Notes from the Horticultural Department (aka dear ol’ Ma)

The Farm is not just livestock. There is indeed a slowly encroaching greenery around our high desert acreage, as some of you who came to the farm this fall to pick up poultry may have noticed. Free tomatoes from an incredible first-year crop were enjoyed by many, and a lucky few got some of the yellow heritage tomatoes called pineapple. Plenty of sage and rosemary were being pruned down for the winter, and sprigs went home with the birds.

Since we are here to stay for a long, long time here in Powell Butte, we invested in some permaculture fruit plantings–apples, blueberries, rhubarb, gooseberries and even a dozen frightened little grape vines. We have been advised that even if the trees and shrubs survive, chances are good they will not bear much fruit, but how can we not try?

However, we do have a warm feeling about the thousand raspberry plants dug into a hedgerow around one of the pastures at the cost of horrendous human labor. They have the look of plant thugs, able to beat the thick pasture grass to light and water, and we have high hopes  for a token crop at least next fall. Autumn Britten is supposed to be everbearing but that seems to mean most come in the fall; we’ll see what a ninety day growing season does.

So now in December we ( and the gophers of perdition) are tucked in mulch and wooly socks for the winter, and planting sugarplums dance in our heads. Sweet corn–could we? Should we? What about tiny taters? Will the gophers eat them? Fancy striped beets?