Aren't you lucky to find a plum tree already waiting for you! I expect that someone here knows the answer; it probably has something to do with pruning and giving it space. I, however, am not that person. I'm just here to say hi.
You might want to give a hint about where you are, or at least your USDA zone. It helps people when they give out agricultural advice!
Or is she molting, and confused about the prickly feelings? My hen Blackbird got psychotic when she was molting. She kept thinking the others were hurting her, squawking at them and running away. They could see she was nuts and she lost her position at the top of the pecking order.
Got it back after the molt was over. She's a natural leader!
But enough about Blackbird. Are her feathers dropping? Do you find them around the coop/run/nearby? It's just a thought.
I planted most of my potatoes in the nascent forest garden (i.e., a foot-thick carpet of aged wood chips in part sun). This week I noticed that most of them were dying. I dug one up experimentally, and discovered that potatoes were rotting under there!
The wood chips were almost always damp, but I watered pretty heavily during the drought. I guess too heavily! We had a big rainstorm for two days (several inches) and four days later, another one (at least 2 inches). Then I noticed how bedraggled they were.
There are perfectly good potatoes under there, too, so I'm going to harvest them before they are no good.
The best news is, those wood chips are really rotting! Crawling with mycelium. Perhaps this is why the drainage was compromised. I really thought the wood chips would drain easily. But it's turning to soil, and that's the whole point!
I never planted my lovage seeds this year (but there's always next year!). It's because, though, that I read it needed shade. I have lots of woods but very little garden space in shade. I'll try it in the "food forest" I'm trying to get underway.
It sounds like others plant it in the sun? Maybe I misread, or read something that was wrong. I like the idea of a beautiful, pollinator-attracting, delicious herb and vegetable!
I thought Vermont was rural! I imagine that self-sufficiency really means something when you're that far from stores. Although I live in a pretty small town, I can get what I need three miles away at the general store.
I think it takes deep self-reliance to live far apart from other people, not just regarding self-sufficiency, but the ability to keep oneself company, and hold things together emotionally, even if life in the family is sometimes rocky.
I had a mosquito invasion at my old house. I bought an electric mosquito trap - a couple hundred dollars. When I was scouting the ideal location for it, I discovered a forgotten container (maybe 10 gallons) in a less-than-visible spot. It had thousands of mosquito larvae in it, as well as a dead rabbit.
Tell me about growing Crambe. I have three infinitesimal seedlings, grown from seed this spring, and adding no more than a millimeter/week. I understand they can be reproduced easily by root cuttings! The growing-from-seed route is a test in patience. I only hope they get big enough to survive my USDA Zone 5 winter. I might have to dig them up and put them on the porch or in the basement for the winter.
I didn't know you could eat the roots, just the asparagus-like sprouts and the leaves. I do want to get this plant going!
I can't find the reference to some localities allowing special greywater discharge with a greywater system. I'm still looking.
I see the link above for the "Do I Need a Permit" document doesn't work. I'm attaching the document. And the regulations for wastewater and groundwater protection.
I'm not any kind of an expert, just a Vermonter who has had a husband who was a builder, and now has a partner who is a builder. Oh, and there was the town planner, when I was just out of college! Anyhow, enough of that nonsense. I'm also an avid internet researcher and observer of Vermont politics and processes.
Regarding what the seller said to you, I have no idea what "digging a spring" would be. One can dig out an existing spring. But digging for water that isn't already apparent is digging a well. There are hand-dug wells; they generally require treatment to address bacterial contamination. Don't feel bad, though. Our very deep well required treatment for radon, radium, and other deep-well issues. The granite below us often has tiny flecks of radium in it, causing these kinds of contamination. Nuclear water! It's not so dangerous to drink, but dangerous to shower in year after year.
A word of advice from someone who has owned a number of homes (plus those town planner and builder partners!) - don't rely on what you "hear." Go to the town office or the regional planning commission, find out who will be in charge of the decisions, and either consult extensively, or ask that person (especially if it's the town zoning administrator) to come out to the property with you and talk about what's needed. Press them for an unambiguous answer. So many people have bought property, asked somebody who gave them an answer, and then discovered too late that what they wanted to do, and could afford to do, was impossible. Really.
Wish I could be more helpful! If it were me, I would prefer to buy land with water & septic (or at least septic permit) already in place, and build the cabin. So many unknowns in finding water, and such huge potential costs.
Some jurisdictions in Vermont do have greywater permitting; there was another thread around here where the possibilities were being tossed around. I'll see if I can find it. A 13-year-old perc test might not be adequate. Vermont has extremely strict and specific septic regulations. You'll want to talk to the building inspector. You can start with the Planning Commission or the town clerk, to find the appropriate resources.
edit: I found the thread, and I found the documents!
I live in Windsor County, just a bit south of Woodstock and west of Mt. Ascutney. There is a lot of variation on what different towns require regarding building, but the state regulates septic systems, strictly, as I said.
It seems to me that a town with pop. = 7 is more of a neighborhood. The local school district might be more like a town, and you've been active with them. Maybe volunteering in the school, or creating a tiny library, could be a really local project.
Our small town (pop. = 666 in 2010) has an annual Greenup Day, where we collect trash from the sides of the road in specially designated bags (and the dump takes them for free!). We also have many gatherings, of the historical society, ice cream socials, and outdoor movie nights. It's hard to think about a town of 7, though - I can see why you reach out for new ideas!
I want to try your peaches. I cut back on sugar so far that most commercially-sweetened things taste too sweet to me. And I discovered that the sugar tones down the flavor of things! You can always add some honey or maple syrup or sugar on the other end, if it's too sour. But approach with an open mind!
I agree with you that a dug or shallow well near a stream in a flood plain carries the possibility of contamination. If a well is drilled very deep, the water you're getting from it is from the aquifer, far below the ground. The drilling company should be a good source of information on this. If you drill near the cabin, eventually the water will have to be pumped up the hill. If you drill up the hill, you'll need power for the pump, as you point out, and a pipe to carry the water down.
I once had a house where the spring was across the road, across the stream, and up the hill. (!) Yes, the property had been subdivided. The water line crossed the road at the bridge. It was attached to the bottom of the bridge. We had a faucet inside that drained outside somewhere, and it was necessary to keep it running all winter. This was in Vermont, USDA zone 4, back in the day when winters were very cold! I shake my head imagining that setup today, but someone is still living there and runs an AirBNB in the house!
I can see why the property is designated a flood plain - it's at the bottom of a hill, it has a stream, and it is flat below. Recipe for a flood in spring runoff or a big weather event. But as John points out, the climate where you are (and the type of soil - sandy, clay, loam) and other factors play a part.
Tell us more! Looking forward to reading the discussion.
We heat with wood but use the central oil heating system rarely. Specifically, we use it for 10 minutes on cool days in the spring and fall, when lighting a fire would be a very bad idea but we feel cold. Sometimes we use it first thing in the morning when it has been particularly cold and the banked fire didn’t keep us warm enough overnight. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and put on more wood, so it’s still warm even in below-zero (F.) weather.
The best use, though, is what Thomas said - preventing the house from freezing when we go away for a weekend or longer!
Our house is super-insulated so it doesn’t take much to take off the chill. A stove that still has hot coals in the morning is ideal, especially for restarting the fire in the morning.
Okay, after multiple false starts I have sprouts. Their first tour in the fridge was apparently not wet enough. I planted them in seed starter, set them in a mushroom container and made everything quite wet. Covered with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. In a couple of weeks, I’ve produced the sprouts pictured. Sorry it’s sideways!
Now what? I took off the plastic and took it out of the fridge. I kept it in the cool basement for a couple of days and now it’s on the porch. It needs to dry out some so I can tease these babies apart, a task I dread. The soil is still soggy, but it did get the job done!
My instructions say to keep the plants in gallon pots the first year, which is fine! But I’m all concerned about the planting medium. I can’t get my head around planting in pure clay, as was recommended (see my previous post). I do have clay deposits here and can easily access it. But! Is there some way to create a mineral-rich medium that will drain?
Ideas, anybody? I just purchased azomite; I'll be adding some of that.
Hi Carmen! I don't have much in the way of useful advice, except start at the town or county clerk's office to find the building code, and have a chat with the building inspector, first. Saves you a lot of headaches later.
But I am here to offer moral support! You go, woman! From the ripe old age of 67, 61 seems quite young, so go for it. Start the weight training right away, and make sure you know how to lift properly. This is awesome!
Hi Shannon! Welcome from over in Windsor County! I live just south of Woodstock, and west of Ascutney.
Have you lived in the north country before? What kind of vehicle do you drive?
The winter is hell on driveways and cars, but not as bad as mud season. On gravel roads, it's not uncommon to see ruts in the mud that are over a foot deep. It's very hard to get through. (The surface of the road thaws, and spring runoff saturates it. But below the surface the road is frozen, so the water can't drain. It's a nightmare.) In the winter your grass driveway should be frozen, but when it thaws (as it does periodically during the winter) that's bad.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news! I think you should definitely have some gravel dropped in that culvert area, by someone who knows what they are doing. Ask around; there are guys with dump trucks and gravel, and then there are guys who really know what they are doing.
I drove a Chevy Volt (plug-in hybrid) when I moved to Vermont. The first winter sent me off to the dealership to buy a 4-wheel drive. I hate having a vehicle that uses only gas, but I couldn't manage the roads with the Volt, which is extremely low to the ground.
I think the fire department question is important, but less so in Vermont than in some other places. Keep in mind as you look at your land that we have had precious little rain this year, so things are much drier now than usual.
They sound absurdly soft with that name, but they conform to your foot after wearing awhile, and provide support. I wear them around the house. I have foot issues, so I wear mostly Keen products outside - support + room for my toes!
I second the Japanese beetle trap. I have a primrose that volunteered in an awkward spot in my front flower garden. But I keep it - it houses all of the JBs that aren't on the roses. I knock 3 or 4 off daily into a can with water in it, and then feed them to the chickens. Treat!
We have been sharing our research and experiences on the Caucasian Mountain Spinach thread, where I picked up some of the information I needed, and shared what I found. What I wrote above is just a small sample - this can be a tricky plant to get started. How great it would be to have it organized!
My Caucasian Mountain Sprinach is currently sprouting in the refrigerator. Long - very long - story. Wish me luck! I have cobbled together instructions from at least 3 sources (after rejecting other sources, that had no helpful detail.)
Good King Henry was planted many, many weeks (with no results) before I read that it needed stratification. The packet instructions weren't clear, and I ran across this nugget on a different seller's website. No Good King Henry growing in my shade garden.
I planted sea kale from seed, following directions from two or three sources (including two videos about cracking the hard covering off the seed without damaging the seed. After what seemed like a year or two, it sprouted. A month ago it got its first true leaves. They seem to be growing. It's so tiny, it's hard to believe it is still alive.
I've learned that there are nurseries where I can buy these plants next year. (I tried to buy sea kale this year but everywhere was out of stock, except Monticello, of all places. They said it was hardy to Zone 6, so I didn't think it was the best choice for Vermont.) But trying to grow them from seed has been educational, as well as daunting.
But regarding the database! If I found what I needed about Good King Henry I might have actually gotten the seeds sprouted. If I had been able to find out all I needed about the Caucasian Mountain Spinach it might be green and growing now instead of infinitesimal white sprouts half way through the growing season!
I really want to grow figs. There is a variety that's supposed to overwinter here (Vermont, Zone 5). That hardly seems possible to me, but it's tempting. I think I'm going to get better at growing what I have before buying more fruit trees. I haven't actually killed any, but a few arrived dead due to shipping delays. Still, I think I'll be a better gardener next year and the year after.
I love figs. Fresh. Delicious, and absurdly expensive the few days a year they are available here.
This makes me think about planting a food forest in my tiny town of 650+ souls. Many here have their own gardens, but fruit trees and bushes would help out. I noticed that the Food Pantry here has a few vegetables growing out front. (They have very little space for planting.) People drop off their excess produce but you do see a lot of giant zucchini.
I get discouraged, too, and despite going great guns all spring up till now, I slow down. I need to get some lettuce and mesclun mix into the ground, as the salad opportunities are rapidly diminishing. I planted these yesterday but forgot to protect the spot from the chickens. They dug it all up! (They love disturbed soil.) I covered it anyway, figuring the seeds are in there somewhere.
I have some open space in another bed, and I could be planting something, but I'm consumed with picking off cabbage worms. I had only a little, late-season trouble with these critters last year, but this year - Oh! I am growing a LOT of brocolli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts, and as you can imagine, the cabbage worms are plentiful. And slugs! A long way of saying that my enthusiasm wanes. Next year, row covers. I can't do another year like this. Picked three slugs and 10 cabbage worms today, and you really have to hunt for the cabbage worms.
I have kohlrabi that's supposed to go in now. I want to replant my bok choy because it's all eaten up. I do need more lettuce. And I plan to put in more basic and some late cilantro. It rained today. Maybe tomorrow!