A veggie seller called The Greener Grocer that used to be in North Market used to give me scraps for my chickens. The broilers wouldn’t touch any of it, so I threw it all to the laying hens. I’d just pull the truck up next to their run and throw everything over the fence. They loved it! Anyway, the last of the hens was taken in 2012, so I no longer had a reason to throw anything into that run. It sat ignored and neglected until this year, when I started to occasionally let my ducks play in there.
I just went in there to evaluate what repairs are needed, and I saw some unfamiliar “weeds” growing…one of which had fuzzy little protuberances I recognized immediately. Peaches! I looked around and counted five more little trees that had leaves identical to the one that had the peaches growing on it. Six wild peach trees, still little enough to relocate! In addition to the others, that’s a total of nine peach trees.
I’m interested to see what else might be growing in there. I know there are several raspberries, including one that was unlike the native black raspberries growing all over the rest of the farm. Now I have a good idea how it got there. I’m going to dig up all these things and relocate them before releasing chickens into that run again.
Also, a couple years ago we had to remove a couple giant ash trees that had been killed by emerald ash borers. Now that they’re gone, the pear trees there were shading have really taken off, and for the first time, they’re now covered in fruit. The grape vine there that a tenant had hacked back has recovered. I’m going to move it to the farm to grow on the deer fence. It’s a Concord. Some of you may have tasted it in my Purpleberry Jelly. I’d like to get some nice red and white table grapes to grow with it. I also have four blueberry bushes to get in the ground, if I can ever pick a spot.
Things are starting to move along on the farm. I have several potted trees showing leaves or buds. Even ones I thought were dead are showing new growth around their bases as they struggle to come back. I potted up some new plants today–two hazelnuts, an elderberry, and two spruces. I planted two flower beds in the front yard, and later tonight, I’ll be planting sweet corn. I’m brooding ten chicks and twelve ducklings. The garlic is doing great, especially in the beds where I was able to mulch with leaves. I tilled up another bed last night, and I’m building several more. I have a couple trays of strawberry plants I need to decide where to plant. Once the ducks are moved and the barn is ready, I’ll order at least 25 broiler chicks to start with. Once those sell and get the cash flow going, I’ll get more chicks, including some layers.
I’d be further along, but lately I’ve been putting a lot of time into applying for a grant. A local organization, in cooperation with the USDA, is offering grants of up to $40,000 to urban farms in Columbus to try to get more fresh produce into the hands of poor people in the city’s food deserts. I decided today, though, that right now I need to focus on developing the resources I have instead of spending all my time chasing more. I can apply next year, when I’m better prepared to do so. The proposal was to cover, among other things, a couple 26’x36′ hoop houses and materials for about 2,250 feet of chain link fence to complete the perimeter fencing around the property. But I’ve got enough on my to-do list already without adding such major construction projects. They can wait until next year.