Chickens like many things. They enjoy birdseed. Corn. Watermelon. Cantaloupe innards. Seedy zucchini. Burnt corn bread muffins. But, when Zach dumped the small bucket of tomato scraps from my canning adventure onto the ground, the excitement was palpable.
Seeing the chickens go to town on a pile of tomato scraps was a comforting sight in what has been a whirlwind of a month. I’ve been feeling pulled in 1,000 directions lately as the season ends and we get ready for the first snowfall of the season, which, as Zach points out on a near daily basis, is just around the corner. It’s crazy to think of how short our season was this year and how turbulent it’s been in regards to weather. The late, wet spring, dry summer, and early frost made it really hard to determine planting dates and maturity tables for our crops. Our garden got in late, and the slugs had a field day with the warm wet start. Only about ⅓ of our crops made it, which is a pity, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
After some thinking on the uncertainty of Mother Nature, we are going to focus on the fruit side of things for edible products. While the trees and bushes take a longer establishment time than annual vegetables, they are more certain in regards to their production. We found a reputable, quality, local nursery with a large selection of fruit trees and another few reputable nurseries for fruit bushes, vines, and brambles. This year, we planted half of the orchard. A minimum of 5 varieties of fruit have been selected from each tree type, since variety is the spice of life! Stay tuned for the following: apples, pears, Asian pears, peaches, nectarines, apricots, tart cherries, sweet cherries, European plums, Japanese plums, blueberries, gooseberries, currants, red raspberries, and blackberries. It’s alot, but Amy has a love of fruit that just can’t be quenched. Plus, she has experience working with it on her dad’s farm in NEPA and is quite excited for the development of the orchard. We don’t expect to have a wide selection of fruits until about 3-4 years from now, when the trees begin to produce in abundance.
Next year, we will have a limited farm stand, with strawberries from this year’s planting (If I can keep the deer out of them!!), extra vegetables from our home garden, and eggs. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the maturity tables, but I’ll be posting updates to our facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/snowybrookfarm Stay happy and healthy everyone!