Monthly Archives: March 2010

Finally, Spring!

Everything waited roughly 3 weeks to bloom, but we can finally say it’s Springtime in Oklahoma!

Daffodils got the show started, followed by the Bradford Pear.

Then the Saturn Peach,

The plum tree,

The old peach tree,

and today for the first time, the apricot tree.

One last spot of color comes from our new flowering quince. A really early bloomer which will provide some nectar for the bees well before anything else.

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Nursery

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know we have a lot of trouble with deer. They eat everything, and what they don’t eat they might strip the bark off of. Well, I’ve been needing a nursery area to propagate plants for the food forest I’m designing, and of course it needs to exclude the deer.

My niece, Emma, and I finally built the nursery last week, forty-eight feet long but only 4 feet wide. My hope is that the deer will see it as a double fence and too narrow a gap to fit into. We made sure the location was within one hundred feet (the length of my hose) of the nearest outside faucet and I installed a soaker hose.

Once built, and the Spring snow storm threat had abated, I quickly populated the nursery with plants. The clove currant (Ribes odoratum), acquired from a specialty nursery in Clinton OK, started blooming within a couple of hours of being watered. They really do smell like cloves. I can just imagine what it’s going to be like walking through the food forest in Spring, dotted with these lovely flowering shrubs, the air heady with the scent of cloves. I also added a couple of varieties of Elderberry and a Mexican Plum.

To this mix of fruit bearing plants, I added seedlings of native pecans and bur oaks, 25 of each. The other 50 I planted out on the property in locations where dead blackjack oaks had created gaps. The trees outside the nursery, may not survive the deer onslaught, or the brutal first summer, but at least I’ll have replacements in my little nursery that will get a couple of extra seasons of growth in safety.

Trailing the gopher

I’ve been slowly progressing with the garden refurbish in the back yard. Two gardens are finished, the two nearest the house are fully edged. I was digging the trench to line the final garden when I discovered there was a gopher inside the garden. I found clean tunnels through the soil, the entrance to which would mysteriously fill up if left alone.

I tried to encourage it to leave by cutting off all escape routes but one, leaving an isthmus of intact soil leading out between the two gardens. I brought D’Argo out to examine the site and he seemed interested but couldn’t fit in the trench. I started digging out the block cutting it back towards the isthmus, then brought D’Argo out again to show him the gopher tunnels I had unearthed. He showed little interest this time and the reason became clear once I finished clearing the soil.

There were two escape holes visible. One under the gray soil on the right, the other under the drain pipe on the left. The problem was, I didn’t know which tunnel the gopher had taken. If it had gone to the right it would get trapped between the gardens. I left the holes uncovered for a while, and true to it’s nature the gopher came back to fill the active tunnel entrance to prevent intrusion by predators. He went under the drainpipe! I quickly installed the barrier and dug out the gap between the two gardens. My back gardens are now officially gopher-free!