Fraudulent Farmstead Garden Roundup, March 21, 2016

Bicolor daffodil | Fraudulent Farmgirl

First official full day of spring!

Farmstead 3-21-16 | Fraudulent Farmgirl
The Fraudulent Farmstead on 3-21-16. The daffodils are going full-bore already.

Weather

Unseasonably warm temps the last couple of weeks have led to people forgetting this is Indiana. In March.

Last night’s low was 31 degrees. On the radio this morning, the DJ said, “What happened to spring?” Buddy, this IS spring. Frost in the morning and changeable weather is the norm for early spring. You were misled by our recent May-like weather, when this is in fact March.

What I Did

For starters, I went to the Indiana Flower and Patio Show with some fellow GWAers (GWA is the professional organization for garden communicators.) Thanks to Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, we had press passes and were able to get in early. We hit all the gardens, ignored all the vendor tables, and got out before the doors opened to the public. It was ideal.

The IFPS is not a flower show in the vein of the Chelsea Flower Show. It’s a nice shot of spring in what is usually a dreary season, but it focuses largely on hardscape, not plant material. As a result, things often feel similar from year to year, despite some creative twists from the designers.

I saw some ideas I thought were clever:

Log plant tag | Fraudulent Farmgirl
These log plant tags were cute. That ink wouldn’t hold up in the garden, but these would make cool name cards for a party.

And a couple I thought were nuts:

Red wine fountain | Fraudulent Farmgirl
Nothing makes the trickle of water more relaxing than dying it with the blood of my enemies.

Thanks to the warm weather, I was able to do some work in the garden. I finally painted my rain barrel a boring tan color so it fades into the brick on my house. The blue of the original (recycled food-grade) barrel clashed with the blue of the door, so bye-bye blue, hello practically invisible water retention device.

My fruit trees arrived from Stark Bros, about two weeks before I expected them. I spent an evening last week planting out a peach, a nectarine, a plum, and two more apples.

Plum tree post planting | Fraudulent Farmgirl

I planted the stone fruits together on 4′ centers. I’ll keep them pruned to about 3.5′ tall to create a low hedge on the north side of the garden. I did the same with the two new apples on the south side.

Part of keeping them low is being ruthless in establishing the scaffolding. So I whacked those babies off at about 18″ from the ground. The buds closest to the cut should become the lowest level of lateral branches.

Pruned fruit tree whips | Fraudulent Farmgirl
Behold, my 18″ fruit sticks!
Annotated Farmstead | Fraudulent Farmgirl
That apple in front has steadily been shaded out, so as soon as the fruit sticks start blooming, I’m taking that tree down.

The light colored daffodils have now joined the ‘King Alfred’ in blooming.

Bicolor daffodil | Fraudulent Farmgirl
I think this is another of the heirloom daffs I bought when I worked at Smith & Hawken. I have no idea what variety, but I love that orange cup agains the pale yellow petals.

What I’m Reading

The Lavender Lover’s Handbook, by Sarah Berringer Bader. I’m a sucker for lavender, and I add more every year. I’m perusing to see which variety to buy next. Plus, this book is gorgeous.

Lavender Lover's Handbook

Fraudulent Farmgirl
I teach garden and homesteading skills—the stuff your great-grandmother knew how to do. But if there's a faster, cheaper, or easier way to do it, I'll find it!By day, I design earth-friendly gardens for Spotts Garden Service. By night, I don my Wellies to become the Fraudulent Farmgirl. On my small urban homestead, I've ripped out the front lawn to plant vegetables and fruit trees, turned the garage into a chicken coop and grown enough strawberries to feed half the neighborhood.

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