Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Working on the orchard/permaculture project....

The past two weeks have been very busy; cutting posts, building trellis' systems, grafting trees, starting seed of fruiting varieties of brambles and trees and planting them and oh so much more.

By next spring we plan to be a certified nursery, we will, with any luck, be able to provide grafted apple trees, wild and river grapes, raspberries, thorn less blackberries, gooseberries, pear trees and on and on and on....just another facet of our business, of course I'll keep that up to date here, but at some point in the near future I'm going to have to get a "real" web-site developed.

This year I have learned a number of grafting techniques that have turned out well and I ended up with 30 something pear trees which are coming along nicely, I planted a ton of gooseberries and blackberries, and some "sport" cherry trees from a local endemic population located on an old homestead which seem to come remarkably true to type. Our experiment with creating a persimmon seed bed in the garden last fall paid off in spades and we were able to dig, pot up and sell many seedlings in small pots this season as well as transplant the delicate little trees where we wanted them. A crop of early mulberries paid off not only in raw wine making material but in germplasm which germinated quickly and are growing vigorously, first in pots and now directly in the field, and at the moment we have a number of valuable varieties of fruit seed (varieties which do come "true" from seed) awaiting us in frozen suspended animation for next season.

This past Thursday I received an abundance of budwood from the USDA and took the crash course in teaching myself to "t-bud" onto rootstock ordered earlier in the year from Willamette nursery. Worked out pretty well and seems to be an easy and reliable system. Today I visited the old orchard down the road which was once run by the principle of the old school here in Pekin Indiana. It is in bad shape and in deep disrepair and most of the apples are of common types, however there are some real gems hiding in there including several which I could not identify, the lack of pruning and the abundance of fire blight as well as years of neglect and ice and windstorms has done the orchard little justice but the two "gems" I did find were baring fairly prolifically and unaffected by the lack of pruning or fire blight. I have 14 root stocks planted in the field which I will use to graft this material to early next spring.

The past couple of weeks I have been working hard on the old garden area (the garden my parents first tended when we moved to the farm, adjacent to the house, also the area where the old chicken coop was located) building a number of trellis systems, incorporating a new system, building a alpine/musk/sand strawberry selection nursery for the further improvement of those stocks, and re-incorporating the old chicken coop into the design. The first of the trellis systems was built this past spring and used to grow an abundant crop of blue lake, roma, and greasy beans which are still there, they were built from leftover fencing materials as well as cedar posts taken down in last seasons ice storm, they have now been expanded using nothing but pole nails and cedar posts. This area is going to be the center block of our "berry blocks" of the future (areas planted in between and underneath trees or in otherwise unused areas). Here we will trellis blackberries, raspberries, European gooseberries, rambling roses, wild and river grapes, wolf berry, and many others including the elusive "snowbank" black berry (a white blackberry bred by Luther Burbank, as well as orange, red, black, white, and yellow raspberries). Where the corn currently stands in the photos we will have some type of shrub or very small trees in a line.....still to come....the same goes for the opposite side of the old chicken coop which I am slowly trellising and incorporating in the design. Mull berries have been planted on the northern ark of this new "berry block".

This week several grafted apples, some sport cherries, some mullberries, and gooseberries will be installed on the grounds......and as always anymore it seems I will find myself in the Forrest cutting cedar posts and driving ridiculously long pole barn nails once again this week...

1 comment:

Name: Johno said...

If you have a cordless drill, consider using log screws on your pole trellises. They drive surprisingly quick and easy, and come in a range of lengths. Last I checked, they were about 75 cents a piece, but after you use them, you may decide they are well worth the expense.