Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting shows a mature goumi plant that has fruit ready to harvest, how to tell when it is ready to harvest and the method of harvesting.

About Sweet Scarlet Goumi

Elaeagnus multiflora is the botanical name of goumi and is in the same family as Autumn Olive and Russian Olive.  While autumn olive and Russian olive are sometimes considered an invasive plant because the spread so prolifically by seed, that is not really the case for goumi.

Sweet Scarlet Goumi is a Ukrainian plant and is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4-8. It is a perennial deciduous shrub that grows up to 9 feet high.  It likes well drained soil and at least a half a day of sunshine.  It produces fragrant creamy white flowers in May followed by fruit in June.  It fixes nitrogen in the soil, which basically puts fertilizer in the ground for free when you prune it.

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Bush

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Bush

Where is the Fruit?

The fruit is deep red when it is ready to harvest.  However, if you are just walking by the bush and not paying attention, you may miss the fruit all together.  The fruit grows on the underside of the bush and if your plant is very bushy, like mine is, then the fruit is almost hidden.  You actually have to push the branches and leaves aside to see the fruit.  But use caution as the shrub has long sharp thorns.

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Fruit 3

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Fruit

Harvesting

Your fruit is ready to harvest when it is a deep dark red.  The darker red that the fruit is, the sweeter the fruit is.  The fruit will turn red when it is the size of a small marble or very small cherry.

To harvest, simply grab the stem holding the fruit to the branch and give a tug.  If you are eating the fruit right away, you could just grab the fruit and give a tug.  If you are going to try and store the fruit for a day or two, make sure you pull the stem with the fruit.  The fruit does not last as long without the stem.

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Fruit 2

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Fruit

Don’t Store the Fruit

The fruit does not store well. The fruit will store for a day or two in the refrigerator but then it gets soft and rubbery.  I have found that the taste doesn’t change much when it is rubbery, it just looks better and has a better texture when it is fresh.

Sweet but Astringent

The fruit has a flavor like I have never tasted before.  It has a pleasant sweet taste but also has a slight astringency.  Astringency is where it makes your mouth pucker a little, kind of like eating a grape seed or the peel of an unripe banana.  It has a seed in the center that I generally do not eat.  Some folks on my plant tours have eaten the seeds and they say it has a nutty flavor.  I didn’t get that when I tried it.  The seeds have kind of a woody texture to them and I can’t seem to get past that.

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Seed

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Seed

The fruit is claimed to have 3 times the lycopene of tomatoes and to be high in vitamins A, C, and E.  I have seen several recipes online for jams and jellies, but I can’t seem to gather enough to make jams or jellies, because I end up eating them raw because they are so good.  I just fill a baggie up and take them to work with me and snack on them throughout the day.

The Video

Click on the picture below to view the Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting YouTube video.

Sweet Scarlet Goumi YouTube

Sweet Scarlet Goumi YouTube

If you enjoyed the video, please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel.  Then you can keep track of when we add new videos to our channel and it helps us by raising our ratings.

Thanks for viewing the post and watching the video titled Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting.

Help support a small business:

One way to support us is by shopping on Amazon.  If you shop at Amazon, please go through our site.  All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site.  That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do.  It does NOT cost you one penny more, but it does help us out!  Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!


Here’s another way to support us: Great Escape Farms and Todd McCree are now on Patreon!  If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef. You can support us for as little as $1.

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Fruit

Sweet Scarlet Goumi Berry Harvesting Fruit

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal shows how to get rid of tent caterpillars on small trees. The video also briefly diverts to cedar apple rust.

The Hunt

Every morning I grab my cup of coffee and walk around the homestead.  This is therapy for me to just relax, take in nature, enjoy the work that I have done, and to look for items that need to be addressed.  One of those items that occasionally needs to be addressed is pests on the plants.  Recently on my walks I noticed that tent caterpillars have moved into my orchard and needed to be taken care of.

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal

These particular caterpillars are attacking my pear tree, apple tree, cherry tree, elderberry bush and a blue berry bush. The caterpillars build silk tents around the leaves and then they proceed to eat the leaves.  They do not eat all the way through the leaves but do eat enough of the leaves so that they turn brown.

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal

Why not attack later in the day?

The caterpillars move like caffeine addicts on a coffee high in the afternoon.  They are also spread out to various spots on the tree.  I have found that the caterpillars are very slow moving in the morning and that is a good time to get them when they are all in the nest.  For this reason, I usually plan my caterpillar assault in the early morning before work.

The Attack!

My method of killing these little boogers is to drown them in water.  I take a 5-gallon bucket and add some dish soap to it.  Then I fill the bucket about half to three-quarters of the way up with warm water.  The warm water is for me, so my hands don’t freeze as they would with cold water.  The soap is to break the buoyancy so the caterpillars will not be able to “walk on water” – they will sink.

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal - Bucket

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal – Bucket

The Cut

For my tree this year, I was able to cut the branches.  All of the caterpillars were at the end of the branches and there were not too many.  I just cut the end of the branches off where the caterpillars were and dropped the entire branch in the water and pushed it under with my hands (this is where warm water helps).  If they were in the middle of a branch or on a branch that I did not want to cut, I would pull the caterpillars off by hand, but you do risk missing some caterpillars or some eggs.

The Video

Click on the picture below to view the Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal YouTube video.

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal YouTube

Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal YouTube

If you enjoyed the video, please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel.  Then you can keep track of when we add new videos to our channel and it helps us by raising our ratings.

Yellow Spots on Apple Leaves

During my walks, I have noticed about half of my apple trees have yellow/brown spots on the leaves.  This is usually a condition known as cedar apple rust.  It is caused by having a plant in the cedar/juniper family close by and it having a fungus on it.  Cedar apple rust requires a plant in the cedar family and in the apple family to complete its life cycle.

Cedar Apple Rust

Cedar Apple Rust

The fungus does not usually kill the plant, but can cause a reduction or loss of fruit production.  The issue is worse on years when you have a very wet spring.  There are treatments that you can spray on the apple trees, but I don’t care to use chemicals and usually just let it run its course and it is usually better next year.

Cedar Apple Rust Resistant

There are cedar apple rust resistant plants available.  About half of my trees at the farm are resistant.  In 2017, the trees that were not resistant did not bear fruit at all because we had such a wet spring that the fungus went crazy and took too much energy from the trees to produce fruit.  The resistant trees produced just fine.


Thanks for viewing the post and watching the video titled Tent Caterpillar Removal Bag Worm Removal.

Help support a small business:

One way to support us is by shopping on Amazon.  If you shop at Amazon, please go through our site.  All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site.  That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do.  It does NOT cost you one penny more, but it does help us out!  Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!

 

Here’s another way to support us: Great Escape Farms and Todd McCree are now on Patreon!  If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef. You can support us for as little as $1.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4

This Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 goes over the upper section of a large rainwater harvesting system.  The video goes over the Rain Diverter, Leaf Eater, and First Flush Downspout Water Diverter.


Great Escape Farms is now on Patreon!  If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef. You can support us for as little as $1.


The Media

The video is a collection of various videos that I have done over the past two years.  In some videos and pictures, you will see multiple IBC Totes and in others, only a single IBC tote.  In others, you’ll see large water storage tanks.  I tried to choose the best media to get the point across.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4

Gutter Strainer

In the gutter system itself, we are using a gutter strainer.  It is simply a galvanized mesh that goes into the downspout up in the gutter itself and prevents large leaves and branches from getting into the plumbing.

Rain Diverter from Aquabarrel

The downspout diverter is a “Y” connection on the downspout.  In the summer, I will divert the water into the rainwater storage system. In the winter, it allows me to divert the water to a normal downspout to the ground so the water will not go in the rainwater storage system.  I need to do this up north because I go below freezing and need to empty all of the water out of the storage systems so I don’t rupture them and the pipes when I go below freezing.  People in the south that don’t get that cold will not necessarily need one of these.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 Rain Diverter

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 Rain Diverter

Leaf Eater

The Rain Harvesting Leaf Eater is a device that filters out medium size debris that made it through the gutter strainer.  The 3″ pipe from the rain diverter just open ended dumps into the top of the leaf eater.  Any medium size debris hits the screen mesh on top of the leaf eater and just rolls off of it onto the ground.  The bottom side of the leaf eater hooks up to another 3″ PVC pipe and takes the filtered water to the next step.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 Leaf Eater

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 Leaf Eater

First Flush Downspout Water Diverter

The last line of filtering is to filter out the pollen and any other contaminants that come off of the roof when the rain first starts.  I used a system I bought from Amazon called Rain Harvesting Downpipe First Flush Water Diverter Kit.  This is a kit that needs a 3” vertical PVC pipe to go in.  The kit consists of a “T” connection, a ball seat, a sealing ball, a screw cap, a slow release control valve and a bunch of other stuff like brackets.  The vertical PVC pipe has the “T” connection at the top with the ball seat and the screw cap and slow release control valve at the bottom of the vertical PVC pipe.  The sealing ball is free in the PVC pipe between the “T” at the top and the screw cap at the bottom allowing the ball to float in the water as the vertical PVC pipe fills up.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 First Flush

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 First Flush

The majority of pollution, pollen, and other crap will come into the system with the first couple of gallons of rain.  The idea is that the first couple of gallons of rainwater fills a vertical PVC pipe and traps all of the pollutants in the PVC pipe. There is a ball that floats on top of the water in the vertical PVC pipe and seals the pipe off after the vertical PVC pipe fills so the pollutants and “floaties” can’t get into your IBC tote.  Once the PVC pipe is full, any additional water is diverted out the horizontal side of the T connection at the top of the PVC pipe and goes to your rainwater storage system.

The Automatic Part

The slow release control valve at the bottom of the vertical PVC pipe is what makes the system automatic.  It slowly releases water out a hole that is very small.  It might take an hour or more to fully drain the vertical PVC pipe.  Once the vertical PVC pipe is empty, it will catch the pollutants from the next rainfall.  The bottom of the vertical PVC pipe has a screw cap so you can periodically empty the pollutants out of the pipe.

There is a small filter included with the First Flush system to keep the slow release control valve from clogging, but there is an additional option that can be purchased separately called the Stainless-Steel Filter.  The other filter is still used, so you end up with two filters in the First flush system if you use this one.  Since the slow release control valve is so important for this system to operate automatically, I will be using the extra filter on all of my systems.

You use a PVC pipe in the vertical section that is long or short based on the size of your roof.  There are calculations and suggestions with the directions in the kit to help you figure out what size PVC to use.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4


Please Help our Small Business Out

If you shop at Amazon, please go through our site.  All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site.  That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do.  It does NOT cost you one penny more, but it does help us out!  Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!


Links to get the Gear

Aquabarrel Downspout Diverter

 

The Video

Check out the video below titled Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 – Video

Thanks for viewing the Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 post.

Please give us your thoughts on Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 by commenting below.

Save

How to Open a Swimming Pool Diatomaceous Earth (DE) type filter

How to Open a Swimming Pool Diatomaceous Earth (DE) type filter

How to Open a Swimming Pool is about the procedures I use to open the in-ground swimming pool.  I did a post and video on how to winterize your pool back in the fall.  This process takes you from that point up to the point that your pool is ready to swim in.


Great Escape Farms is now on Patreon!  If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef. You can support us for as little as $1.


Pool Cover

The first thing to take care of is the pool cover.  After sitting all winter, it likely has water, leaves, and debris on it.  I remove the debris and some of the water as the winter goes on, but if you didn’t, then go ahead and clean it off.  Then use a pump to remove the water.

My system has double water tubes as weights to weight down the cover.  I remove each of these, drain the water, and set them out to dry.  At this point I can remove the cover and lay it out to dry.  After the top dries, I’ll fold it over and let that side dry out, and continue this process until it is small enough to put up.

How To Open A Swimming Pool - Cleaning The Cover

How To Open A Swimming Pool – Cleaning The Cover

Water Level

In the fall, I emptied water out of the pool.  Now it is time to add some water back in, so I simply put a hose in and let it run until the water level is half to three quarters of the way up the skimmer.

Filter

My filter is a Diatomaceous Earth (DE) type filter with “fingers” as I’ll call them.  Once every so many years I’ll take the top part of this filter in to the pool store and get the “fingers” cleaned in an acid bath.  On the off years when I’m not doing the acid bath, I’ll just pull them out and hose them down really good.  After they “fingers” are cleaned, put them back into the filter housing, screw them down, and hook the plumbing up with plumber’s tape.

How To Open A Swimming Pool - Filter

How To Open A Swimming Pool – Filter

More on the Filter

Now remove the pool filter strainer cover and put the strainer basket in.  Then make sure the strainer cover gasket is seated properly, fill the strainer basket reservoir with water and replace the strainer cover.  This water will prime the pump for you.

Pool Plumbing

The next step is to remove any of the winterization products in the pool plumbing system.  For me, this includes freeze plugs that are in the jets, pool skimmer guard, and the skimmer winterization lid.

After all of the winterization plumbing protection is removed, put the pool skimmer basket in place as well as the jet heads in the pool.

Pump On

Turn the pump motor on and look for and repair any leaks.  Add the recommended amount of DE for you pool and shock the pool.  Also, add the chlorine “Hockey Pucks” into the skimmer basket or dispenser if you have one.

Solar Cover

How to Open a Swimming Pool

How to Open a Swimming Pool – Solar Cover

Many people have solar covers to prevent cooling through evaporation and to lock in heat on a sunny day.  If you have a solar cover, put that on now.  I also put my steps in and screw them down at this point.  Some folks remove their diving / jumping boards for the winter.  If you are one of these people, hook it back up now.

More Detail

There is more detail and better views of this process in the video below.  If there is something you don’t understand, check out the video or leave a message in the comments section.


Please Help our Small Business Out

If you shop at Amazon, please go through our site.  All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site.  That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do.  It does NOT cost you one penny more, but it does help us out!  Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!


The Video

Check out the video below titled How to Open a Swimming Pool.

How To Open A Swimming Pool - video

How To Open A Swimming Pool – video

Thanks for viewing the How to Open a Swimming Pool.

Please give us your thoughts on How to Open a Swimming Pool by commenting below.

Save

Save

Save

Propagating Raspberries from Primocanes

Propagating Raspberries from Primocanes

Propagating Raspberries is a “how to” on propagating raspberries from suckers of the original mother plant, also known as primocanes.


Great Escape Farms is now on Patreon!  If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef. You can support us for as little as $1.


Heritage Raspberries

This cultivar of raspberry is what is known as a primocane.  That means that it actually bears fruit twice in one year.  The first fruiting happens in late spring or very early summer, which is when most other raspberries fruit.  The second fruiting starts happening in the August timeframe and continues up until the first frost.

Propagating Raspberries - Raspberry Bush

Propagating Raspberries – Raspberry Bush

Raspberry Suckers

A raspberry sucker is a new plant that pops up from the root, sometimes many feet away from the original plant.  This is actually just the first-year cane, known as primocane, that is coming up and is a natural part of how raspberries grow.

While raspberries are considered perennial and the root system is, the canes are actually biennale.  The cane comes up and is called a primocane the first year, the second year it is called the floricane, and the third year it is a spent cane or basically a dead cane.

So, by taking the primocane suckers, you are limiting the size of the bush.  This could be a good thing, but you do not want to take too much, or you could end up wiping your bush out.

The suckers I take are usually the ones growing out into the lawn.  Occasionally I’ll grab one from closer to the main plant, but for the most part I’ll leave the area that I have mulched alone.

Digging Suckers Up

Propagating Raspberries - root

Propagating Raspberries – root

The way I dig the suckers up is by shoving a shovel in the soil about six inches away from the plant that I’m propagating.  I make a circle around the plant with a shovel and then reach in with my hands and separate the soil from the roots.  Be careful to not break the cane off of the root.  When you should end up with is a cane that goes down and “T”s into a horizontal root.  You really want at least four inches of the horizontal root.

Trim the Leaves

Now you have to match the leaves to the roots.  By that, I mean you need to trim the leaves and you will leave more leaves if you have more roots.  Raspberries have three leaflets to a leave and I generally leave about one leaflet set for each inch of horizontal root.  So, if I have 4-inches of horizontal root that I dug up, I’ll leave four leaflets on the top side and cut the rest away.

Trimming the leaves matches the energy and water supply capability to what the roots can supply.  If you leave to many leaves, the plant will wilt and could die, because the roots cannot supply the leaves with enough water.  The leaves have something known as transporation that happens to them, which is similar to us perspiring.  Transporation is really the plants losing water to the atmosphere.  If they transpire more than they have water, then they will wilt and if they go too far, they will dry out and not recover.

Propagating Raspberries - Trim

Propagating Raspberries – Trim

Pot the Plant

After the cane is dug up and the top trimmed, I put it in a pot.  I put some soil down in the bottom of the pot, put the plant in, then cover the roots with soil.  You want to get the level right, so eyeball it until you get good with the process.  You want the plant buried in the soil so that the brown part of the stem is in the soil and the green part of the stem is out of the soil.

Propagating Raspberries - Pot

Propagating Raspberries – Pot

Water and Shade

Now that the plant is cut out, trimmed, and in the pot, you want to water it.  Give the soil enough water so that it is thoroughly moist and continue to water for the next couple of weeks.  The frequency of watering is going to depend on the type of soil you used and on the climate you are in.  You don’t want the soil to completely dry out, but you don’t want it to be a marshy mess either.

Now put the plants in the SHADE for a few weeks.  An hour or two of dappled sunshine is ok, just don’t put them in the full-on sun.  After a few weeks, you can move them into more and more sun.  You want shade to slow down the transporation process that we talked about earlier.

Directly into the Ground

If you are going to put the plants directly into their new home and not into a pot, then you are likely going to put them into full sun.  In order to not kill the plants due to too much transporation, you will have to cut more of the leaves on the top off.  Maybe leave one leaflet set for each three inches of horizontal root.  Again, you will have to see what works for your climate.


Please Help our Small Business Out

If you shop at Amazon, please go through our site.  All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site.  That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do.  It does NOT cost you one penny more, but it does help us out!  Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!


The Video

Check out the video below titled Propagating Raspberries.

Propagating Raspberries - Video

Propagating Raspberries – Video

Thanks for viewing the Propagating Raspberries post.

Please give us your thoughts on Propagating Raspberries by commenting below.

Save

Save

Save

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 is the third in a multipart series on upgrading my rainwater harvesting system from 1200 gallons to 4500 gallons.  This video shows the lower half of the plumbing.


Great Escape Farms is now on Patreon!  If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef. You can support us for as little as $1.


The Plumbing

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 - Lower Plumbing

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 – Lower Plumbing

There is plumbing on the upper side of the water storage tanks and on the lower side.  The upper side filters all of the debris and particles out before the water goes into the tanks.  We will discuss the upper side plumbing in Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4.  Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3, this post, is going to talk about the plumbing on the lower side of the water storage tanks.  This plumbing is what connects the water storage tanks together and accounts for an excess of rainfall and gives us a way to drain the system to prepare for winters freezing temperatures.

The End

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 - Lower Plumbing Back End

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 – Lower Plumbing Back End

The far back end of the system has a 2-inch pipe that is capped off.  This capped off piece is reserved for a future third 1550-gallon water storage tank.  The way the system is put together, I can simply shut off the valves on each of the other tanks, drain the ten to twelve gallons of water in the pipes, and then cut the cap off and add the new tank in.

Plumbing to the Tanks

Each of the tanks connect to a quick disconnect and a ball valve to shut the water off.  This will allow me to take each individual tank out of the system for maintenance.  The quick disconnect and ball valves were picked up from Lowe’s and are the same ones you pick up for pools.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 - Quick Disconnect

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 – Quick Disconnect

2 to 4 Inch

Each side of the garage feeds into a water storage tank and comes out with a 2” pipe as discussed above.  We connect the two tanks together in the middle with a 4” pipe.  This is done so we can handle downpours.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 - 2 to 4 inch

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 – 2 to 4 inch

Drain Valve

In the center of the four-inch pipe is a “T” that runs off as a 2” pipe with a ball valve on it.  This section was designed to be the lowest point in the system and is used to drain the system for winter.  In normal summer operations, the ball valve will remain closed.  This drain is dumping into an area that I plan on putting a swale in sometime in the future.

Overflow

In order to handle overflow so the water doesn’t just dump out of the tanks, we’ve designed a system to handle divert the overflow into our future swale.  The system is basically two vertical pipes with a “U” turn on top.  The height of the “U” turn is designed such that it will drain the water just before the tank is completely full and overflowing.

There are holes drilled in the very top of the “U” turn to prevent a syphon from sucking all of the water out of the tanks.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 - Overflow

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 – Overflow

Pump Input

The water then goes from the 4” pipe, is converted to a 2” pipe and feeds into our water pump.  Many people can just use gravity feed to use their water, but I need pressure to feed a mist irrigation system, so I’m feeding a water pump to pressurize the water to 40PSI.

Next Week

Keep an eye out next week for the Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4, where we will cover the top side plumbing.


Please Help our Small Business Out

If you shop at Amazon, please go through our site.  All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site.  That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do.  It does NOT cost you one penny more, but it does help us out!  Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!


The Video

Check out the video below titled Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 - Video

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 – Video

Thanks for viewing the Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 post.

Please give us your thoughts on Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 by commenting below.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 is the second in a multipart series on upgrading my rainwater harvesting system from 1200 gallons to 4500 gallons.


Great Escape Farms is now on Patreon!  If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef. You can support us for as little as $1.


1100-Gallons in a Week

That’s right, in one week we collected 550-gallons of water in each of the two tanks for a total of 1100-gallons.  But there is still a lot of work to do.  While the gutters and filter system is connected to the top half of the tank, the bottom side plumbing is not hooked up yet.

From last week, we had quick disconnect hooked up and an on/off ball valve connected.  That’s all that was connected on the bottom side of the tank.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 - 550-Gallons

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 – 550-Gallons

A Leak

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived this week was a leak on the bottom side of the white tank.  The leak was not in the tank itself, but with the threads coming out of the tank connecting to the plumbing.

I grabbed a pipe wrench to tighten the nut on the threads and the leak got worse.  That’s when I noticed that the nut was warped.  This meant I needed to replace the nut with a new one.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 - Warped Nut

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 – Warped Nut

Water Transfer

Because I had 550 gallons of water that I did not want to lose in this tank, I decided to transfer the water to the other tank.  The way I did this was to temporarily hook this tank up to the pump and pump the water into the other tank.  This worked great and got the water level down to about 200 gallons.

The last 200 gallons wouldn’t come out because of the way the valve was connected up, but I did realize that until later.  To get the rest of the water out so I could work on the valve, I used a leverage system to lift one side of the tank.  Check out the video below to see how that was done.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 - Leverage

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 – Leverage

New Nut

I took a nut from the third tank and put it on the one that was connected up.  It worked great.  By this point I had the bottom plumbing complete, see Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 3 for details on that.  So, I opened the valves and backfilled the tank and checked for leaks.  There was one little drip which was taken care of with the pipe wrench.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 - Lower Plumbing

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 – Lower Plumbing


Please Help our Small Business Out

If you shop at Amazon, please go through our site.  All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site.  That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do.  It does NOT cost you one penny more, but it does help us out!  Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!


The Video

Check out the video below titled Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 - video

Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 – video

Thanks for viewing the Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 post.

Please give us your thoughts on Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 2 by commenting below.

Save

Save

Save

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent gives you an update on the groundhog that I have been waging war with for the last two plus years.  He has been burrowing under my deck for the last four years and didn’t pay him too much mind until the year before last.  He is one of the most persistent critters I’ve ever seen.


Great Escape Farms is now on Patreon!  If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef. You can support us for as little as $1.


More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent

First Round

The year before last I tried caving in his holes, sprinkling granulated fox urine around his entrances, and blocking his entrances.  I even tried suffocating him with carbon monoxide from my four-wheeler exhaust fumes.  Nothing worked.

Lead Poisoning

Between my neighbor and I we were able to dispatch two of them with rifles.  But since we are weekend warriors out at the farm, we don’t see them enough to really affect the population.

Last Year’s Counter Measures

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent - Chicken Wire

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent – Chicken Wire

Last year I put down chicken wire on the front and side of the deck.  I buried it down a couple of inches and angled it out so the groundhog couldn’t burrow under the wire.  I also put a few coils of barbed wire out in the ground so that if he did get through, he would not be happy.  This kept him out last year.

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent - Barbed Wire

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent – Barbed Wire

Persistence

The pesky little booger is very persistent and has been chewing up my lattice trying to get in through it, but the chicken wire runs up behind the lattice.  This year he has continued to chew the lattice.  But last week he moved down to the back side of the deck where he had never tried to get in before.  Because I did not have chicken wire back there, he was able to get in.

Round Two

This past weekend, I added more chicken wire.  I added it up higher under the lattice, so the chicken wire is a minimum of two feet high, as well as under the ground and out into the soil.  We also added it to the back part of the deck.  Again, we went up two feet high at least and we went down six inches deep and out eighteen inches to keep him from burrowing under.

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent

Still Persistent

Over night or early the next morning, he was back at it trying to dig and get under the deck.  I will continue to monitor, but I think he is completely blocked out for now.


Want to Help our Small Business Out

If you shop at Amazon, please go through our site.  All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site.  That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do.  It does NOT cost you one penny more, but it does help us out!  Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!


The Video

Check out the video below titled More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent.

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent - Video

More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent – Video

Thanks for viewing the More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent post.

Please give us your feedback on More Groundhog Repellent and Deterrent by commenting below.

Save

Save

Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines now for More Fruit later

Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines now for More Fruit later

Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines is about trimming two muscadine grape vines in the winter before they bud out.  Grapes and Muscadines only fruit on new wood, so you need to trim them regularly to keep the vines fruiting at maximum potential.


Great Escape Farms is now on Patreon!  If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef


Time to Trim

The time to trim muscadine or regular grape vines is in the winter before they have leafed out.  The best time is before the buds swell up too much.  You definitely want to make sure you wait until all of the leaves have fallen and the sugars and sap have moved down to the root system.

Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines - before

Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines – before

Leave a leader

You will want to leave a primary leader and trim off any suckers, smaller branches and any branches that are sickly, diseased, or damaged.  I’m calling the primary leader the main branch that comes out of the ground and goes up on your support system.

Trim the Internodes

The lateral shoots off of the primary leader should be trimmed so you do not have any that are closer than five inches on the primary leader.  Then trim these lateral shoots so you have about two or three internodes on each.  A node are the branches, buds, tendrils, or leaves on a branch.  An internode is the space in between the nodes.

Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines - after

Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines – after

Trim Yearly

If you trim yearly, you will not have as big a mess as I had.  You will do this same trimming each year and it will be much more manageable.  In the video below, I had only done minimal trimming and this was the first major trimming on the vines.


Want to Help our Small Business Out

If you shop at Amazon, please go through our site.  All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site.  That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do.  It does NOT cost you one penny more, but it does help us out!  Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!


The Video

Check out the video below titled Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines.

Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines - video

Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines – video

Thanks for viewing the Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines post.

Please give us your feedback on Pruning Muscadine Grape Vines by commenting below.

Save

Companion Planting and Fruit Tree Fair Workshop Notes

Companion Planting and Fruit Tree Fair Workshop Notes

On Saturday April 15th 2017, I attended the Baltimore City Fruit Tree Fair where I presented a Companion Planting Workshop.  In the companion planting workshop, I went into a few plants that go together and explained the concepts of a guild.  Below are my notes from the companion planting workshop.


Great Escape Farms is now on Patreon! If you enjoy our work and want to help support us, please check out our Patreon page at: https://www.patreon.com/gef


Hello – My name is Todd McCree and I’m here today to talk to you about companion planting.  But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself.  My day job for the last 30 years has been IT.  In my nights and weekends, I’ve been following my passion of gardening.

I have taken quite a few courses on subjects such as permaculture, plant propagation, and soil restoration.  I also took off of work for a while and WWoFed – Willing Worker on Organic Farm – this is where I volunteered my time to work on a farm and they put me up and fed me.  We put in 3000 foot of swales and earthworks and planted almost 5000 trees.

In 2012, I bought a property in Romney, WV that had 42 mature fruit trees on it.  I now have a foodforest and almost 600 edible plants on the property.  One of the things I strive to do is to put in plants that get along with one another.  Believe it or not, there are plants that do not get along together and there are plants that get along great together.

In 2015, I opened Great Escape Nursery and Great Escape Farms.  The nursery propagates and sells plants, mostly shrubs, online.  The farm does a lot.  We do product reviews, how-to videos, and a bi-weekly podcast about gardening and homesteading.

Companion Planting

Plants that do get along well together are called companions.  That is the topic of this workshop, companion planting.  Some of the ways that plants help one another could be as simple as attracting insects for pollination or as complex as biological processes that provide nutrients to one another.  We are going to talk about plants that help one another, but we are going to go one step further and talk about a group of plants that all provide help to a centerpiece, which would be the tree you received today.

Plant Guild

A plant guild is a grouping of plants that work together to support one another to the fullest and provide better production than they would otherwise by themselves.  We try to mimic the stacking and relationships found in nature while also providing useful resources to humans.  In a guild, we may use a nitrogen fixer to provide nitrogen in the soil, a dynamic accumulator to bring nutrients to the surface for other plants, a plant that attracts beneficial insects to protect other plants and a plant that wards off larger prey like deer.

That Sounds Difficult!

While my last statements may sound like this is a lot more work than it is worth, it really is quite simple.  Let’s pick apart some of the terms that I just mentioned:

  • Dynamic Accumulator: This is a plant that has a very long tap root and mines nutrients way down in the ground and brings the nutrients up to the surface. What are some plants that have long tap roots?
    • Here’s a few: Dandelion, white clover, borage, comfrey, chickweed, yarrow, nettles, chicory, amaranth, lamb’s quarters, mulberry, plantain, Plantain, Buckwheat, Burdock, Carrots, Dock, Beets
  • Nitrogen Fixer: These are plants that put nitrogen into the soil. This could be done via a symbiotic relationship with other organisms or in other ways. Any guess what plants put nitrogen into the soil?
    • Here’s a few: pigeon pea, mimosa tree, Siberian pea, lupin, clover, vetch, groundnut, kudzu, honey locust, Alfalfa, Wisteria, Elaeagnus
  • Beneficial Insects: These are plants that Lure pollinators and pest predators. It is a bug eat bug world out there, and that is a great thing if we can attract predator bugs that eat the bad ones.  Any thoughts on beneficial insect attracting plants?
    • Here are a few: Dill, Angelica, Chervil, Celery, Fennel, Parsley, Parsnip, Cilantro, Yarrow, Sunflower, Aster, Calendula, Dahlia, Cosmos, Zinnia, Dandelion, Marigold, Daisy, and clover.
    • How about plants that deter pests? mint, peppermint, marigold, lemongrass, citronella
  • Great bird, bee, and butterfly plants: Borage, Nasturtium, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Spearmint, Sweet Alyssum, Nettles
  • How about ground cover – those Perennial soft leafy plants to keep the ground cool on those sweltering hot summer days and that break down into plant nutrients?
    • sweet potato, red clover, salad vegetables, parsley, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, rhubarb, strawberries
  • Grass-Suppressing Bulbs – keep grasses and weeds at bay with a circle of bulbs
    • Daffodils, Camas (wild hyacinth), Alliums (Garlic, Onions, Chives, Leeks)
  • Deer – Plants that deer do not like or tend to stay away from. These include:
    • Daffodils, chives, onions, and garlic.

Companion Planting Guild Drawing

Today I’m going to draw up a sample fruit tree guild on the board and explain why these companion planting groups were chosen.  There is not a specific guild for a specific plant.  You need to base your guild based on what you like.

For example, if you like to eat Alliums, then you might plant garlic and onions to suppress grass.  But if you don’t like alliums, but do like flowers, you might plant daffodils or camas.  You should plant what you like and what you will use as well as what helps with the plant guild.

Plant to your taste and your personality.  There are a lot of different type of plants that perform the same function.

Companion Planting

Companion Planting

Daffodils are planted around the outside edge of the tree right at the drip line as well as right at the trunk.  They are planted at the drip line to act as the first line of defense in the spring to stop the growth of grass into the guild.  The outer ring of daffodils also helps deter deer browsing and has flowers to attract bees.  The inner ring of daffodils helps deter rodents from chewing on the lower bark and has flowers to attract bees.

Comfrey is used as a dynamic accumulator to bring nutrients up to useable levels for the fruit tree.  The comfrey will also grow larger as the summer goes on and shade out any grass that may be trying to move into the guild after the daffodils go dormant.  Summer flowers on the comfrey will attract bees and other pollinating insects.

Goumi is a bush added as a nitrogen fixer.  It flowers in the mid-spring, so it will attract pollinators, and it will fruit in early summer.  The bush will be trimmed from time to time and the trimmings will be dropped to the ground to add additional nutrient and mulch to the soil.

Garlic chives are planted as a pest deterrent as well as an edible.

Chicory is planted as a perennial flowering plant to attract pollinators and beneficial insects.  It also acts as a dynamic accumulator.

Yarrow is another dynamic accumulator.  It is also a plant that flowers for a long period of time and attracts beneficial insects.

Autumn olive is a nitrogen fixer and is planted just outside of the drip line of the mature trees and a little further out for the younger trees.  The bush will be trimmed from time to time and the trimmings will be placed on the ground under the drip line of the fruit tree to provide additional nutrient and add mulch to the soil.

White clover seed will be added in between guild plants as well as outside of the guild to help with fixing nitrogen.  The clover seeds will be inoculated prior to dispersal to increase nitrogen.

 

These are the plants given away at the Baltimore City Fruit Tree Fair.  I give some sample companion planting options below.

Brown Turkey Fig – Ficus carica

In some cases, a young, healthy fig tree undergoes proper pollination and fruit set, then drops all its fruit suddenly. This phenomenon is usually caused by overfeeding. It may take three to four years for the fig to recover from over-fertilization and produce a crop that ripens and stays on the tree. Avoid using shop bought liquid feeds instead use good compost fed at the base of the plant (20 L in the spring) and you should not experience this.

  • Companion planting options for under a fig tree: Jerusalem artichoke, elderberry, comfrey, stinging nettle, horsemint, hogweed, lemon balm, snowdrop and wild daffodil.
  • Companion planting options found around fig trees: European crab apple, tamarisk, blackberry, clematis, damson, quince, elderberry, Szechuan pepper.

Beach Plum Prunus maritima

Although indigenous to the mid-Atlantic coastal region, beach plum has been planted successfully on more inland sites. It is well adapted to drought sites with moderately fertile, slightly acidic, loamy and sandy soils. Beach plum does not perform well on heavy clay soils, but will tolerate moderately well drained conditions.

Companion planting options for beach plum:

  • Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum) This is a beautiful groundcover that attracts beneficial insects and can grown in partial shade.
  • Dwarf Coreopsis (Coreopsis auriculata nana) This is another beautiful groundcover that attracts beneficial insects.
  • Ramps (Allium tricoccum) a.k.a. Wild Leeks, are early Spring vegetables and grows well in the shade
  • Camas (Camassia quamash) has edible bulbs and has flowers that attract beneficial insects. (Native to west US)

Paw Paws Asimina triloba

Companion planting options for paw paw:

  • Ramps (Allium tricoccum) a.k.a. Wild Leeks, are early Spring vegetables and grows well in the shade
  • Hog Peanuts (Amphicarpaea bracteata) have edible seeds and “roots” which are really seeds that develop underground, are shade-loving, climb up and sprawl out (smothering weeds), and fix nitrogen
  • Notes: Ramps will grow well under Pawpaws, and will die back just when Hog Peanuts are getting large. If you do want to go through the trouble of harvesting the Hog Peanuts, there are no other actively growing plants in that layer during harvest time. The fruiting Pawpaw will benefit from the nitrogen produced by the Hog Peanut.

As for companion planting, I think of the usual suspects for fruit trees: daffodils, mints, garlics, annual legumes, bee balm, etc.

NOTE:

Paw paws have fetid flowers – Pollinated by flies and beetles looking for the stink. Companion planting for pollination will find under the pawpaws I’ve planted wild mint, mayapples, wild ginger and will add aralia racemosa and ramps soon. There are also currants and barberries close to them. Both mayapples and wild ginger have fetid flowers that attract the same sort of pollinators that pawpaws use, and they bloom around the same time, so that it part of my pollinating strategy.

Another option in companion planting is skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) which both have fetid flowers and are native to the west coast.

North American Persimmons – Diospyros virginiana

American Persimmons are one of the few plants that tolerate juglone, a chemical produced by black walnuts that can poison other plants, so American Persimmons can be used as a buffer plant between your black walnuts and your other forest garden plants.

As for companion planting, they are extremely tough trees with very few diseases or pests that bother them, so plant what you want around them.  They need no help!

Serviceberries Amelanchier

Because of its ability to thrive in both full sun and semi shade, the serviceberry can grow beneath semi dwarf and standard fruit trees. The fruit draws robins, cedar waxwings, and chipmunks

As for companion planting, consider the following:

  • Use runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) or ground nut (Apios Americana). Ground nut is a vine varying in length from 5 to 30 feet. It produces an edible root and also fixes nitrogen, benefiting neighboring plants.
  • In the understory, comfrey (Symphytum officinale) and horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) can be used as deep rooted pumps to bring subsoil nutrients to the upper root zones of the other species.
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a semi woody short shrub with both culinary and medicinal antiviral uses and can grow along sunny edges.
  • Trout lilies (Erythronium americanum) are a native spring ephemeral, leafing out early, then as summer approaches they shed leaves and go dormant, like many other of our common spring bulbs. The trout lily bioaccumulates phosphorous in its leaves at a time of the year when heavy rain and snow melt can wash nutrients off the site, it then releases it back to the soil when the plant goes dormant in June.
  • White Clover (Trifolium repens) acts as a ground cover to hold soil on slopes from eroding. It accumulates nitrogen through beneficial bacteria relationships. It attracts both honeybees and other pollinators.
  • Mints (Mentha spp.), wild ginger (Asarum canadense), and comfrey are all useful to provide bee nectar and can form the foundation for a nearby apiary guild.

Thanks for viewing the Companion Planting and Fruit Tree Fair Workshop Notes post.

Please give us your comments on Companion Planting and Fruit Tree Fair Workshop Notes by commenting below.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save