Espalier, Hops Trellis & Strawberries

Last year I decided to plant a mini orchard in the back yard.  A few trees died but quite a few survived and I added a few more this season to replace the ones who didn’t make it.  A few that in their second year are now ready to be trained so I can create an espalier masterpiece.  Ok, I shouldn’t quite make such a bold statement but still, I’m really excited to see how they come out.  I’m not following one particular method or really trying to have any predefined design I am following.  I want these trees to fruit as soon as possible so I don’t want to trim any of the branches back and wait for new growth so I am just guiding the branches that have already grown to see what it leads too.  So far I have only guided 1 plum and 3 apple trees.  I still have about 6 additional fruit trees that I will espalier but they are not big enough yet.

Also in its second year is my Hops plant.  It is already looking quite strong so I am hoping it will fruit this year.  With the last week full of rain and warmth it has sprouted a few big tentacles that needed something to grab on to.  I finally stopped by Lowes yesterday and picked up a roll of fencing that I was going to staple to the porch so it had something to climb.  It now has some stability so I am waiting to see how big it gets.  The fence reaches the second floor and if it is still growing,  I will train it to grow horizontally across the railing.

I have mentioned in past posts about going to workshops at the Dickinson College Farm and how great they are.  There is another organization on campus that recently had a great rain barrel workshop and gave everyone a free rain barrel. FREE! YAY!  From their website: “ALLARM  (Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring) is an environmental organization based out of Dickinson College that empowers local communities with scientific tools to assess, protect, and restore waterways.”   They make a focus in their mission on teaching local groups on waterway maintenance and keeping our local Letort Run clean.

My plants have also been benefitting from all the rain as I have seen a bunch of flowers peeking out including beans, cucumbers and squash. Can’t wait to start eating straight from the garden. Soon, very soon!

At the end of last year I stopped by a store and found that topsy turvy planters were $1.  I picked up 8 of them thinking I could gift them to people with my other Christmas presents but I ended up forgetting about them.  I pulled them out this spring and decided I would try them out.  I have a spot in the garden dedicated to strawberries but I only started them out last year and didn’t get any real haul from them .  I’m going to have a little competition between the 2 topsy turvy planters and the bed to see which one actually gives me more fruit.  Stay tuned.

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