Monday, May 23, 2011


When I drove out of the driveway this morning I noticed plum blossom petals drifting downward. It seems they just opened their buds and already the peak of bloom is past. We've had so much rain, and hard rain, that we wonder if the pollen got washed away. Ron said the bees were really humming on the trees the first day the flowers opened so we can hope that their efforts will result in plums later in the summer.

Next come the cherry blossoms. With a sunnier forecast for the rest of the week, they'll have a good chance of attracting the bees.

I pruned the grape vines in the orchard a week ago today. They're budding for leaves as are the new Frontenacs we planted as starters in the garden last fall. I planted garlic between the grape vines, making good use of the available space, and it has a healthy start.

We're trying straw bale gardening for our tomatoes and peppers this year. I interviewed Joel Karsten, originator of the process who is in his 8th season of gardening this way, for an article for Farm Show. Joel is so enthusiastic about this method and says it works great. Check out his website for the details. Our bales are ready to plant and its on my schedule for later in the day. If Joel is right, we'll have our own hot peppers for vinegar infusions this fall. Maybe enough extra tomatoes that Ron can make more of his famous tomato vinegar, too.

Tours are picking up. Plan ahead for your summer fun and give us a call to schedule a tour. You'll learn about the wine and vinegar making process, sample about 20 varieties, and wander through the orchard and herb garden. Tours are free. Ask about Leatherwood Vinegar; a Winery Gone Sour, the book about life here at the vinegary. You can find it at or ask your local book store.