Sunday, April 14, 2013

Vegetable and Flower Planting and What is a Fence Stile?

I have been MIA-missing in action writing,but you could find me in the back property planting, planting and planting.  I started all my herbs and vegetables in the greenhouse just waiting for the right time to introduce them to the real world of the Windmill Farm soil.  I planted 5 flats of several varieties of tomatoes; 5 flats of different varieties of peppers, egg plant, parsley, sage, basil, and lots more.
We had rain, wind, cool weather, but then a straight stretch of warm weather was predicted, so out went my little plant babies.  I have been on my knees or leaning over for days and have had my share of aches.  Yesterday I recruited Frank to plant out all the cucumbers and squash so they are in the ground with a nice dose of water to perk them up. I was actually getting a little worried about not planting early enough, I was sure tempted.  My good friends who have a vegetable farm planted in the middle of March with the aid of using plastic that they put up and down over them depending on the weather.  I waited as I had previously had several negative experiences here in Gridley by planting too early.  We do get our spring early and this year our spring was beautiful and mild -yet I resisted.  And then boom!!!  The driving rain came down for days and the March winds blew and blew strong gales for several days in a row.  My friends lost many plants, mine were warm and cozy and out of the wind in my greenhouse.

Disadvantage is my friends will have their vegetables (that make it through the rough weather) several weeks early and in farming, that is a very beneficial place to be, you get your products out to sell sooner and prices are better early in the season.
This year I am adding a larger space for my country flower cutting gardens.  If my plan works, it will be not only beautiful but allow me to offer a much greater range of flower arrangements for special orders; maybe even Farmer's Market flower sales and CSA bouquets for my members.  We shall see how it goes, I will post some photos later as they start to grow.
Fence Stiles  I recently saw some photos of an open range that was crossed fenced for cattle.  In the photo was this interesting ladder that went up and over it for the rancher to cross over from one pasture to the next. The ladders are called "stiles".  A stile is a structure which provides people a passage through or over a fence or boundary via steps, ladders or narrow gaps. Stiles are often built in rural areas or along footpaths to allow access to an adjacent field or area separated by a fence, wall or hedge. Unlike a gate, there is no chance of forgetting to close it, and should the stile break, the fence remains intact (livestock cannot escape). Depending on your location, you may see some, other places you never see them.  I am originally from Rhode Island where people have rock walls as their dividers between  pastures, gardens or neighbors.  The rock walls weren't terribly tall yet great for keeping animals in/out yet difficult to get over from one side to the other.  Almost every place in Rhode Island had some kind of stile/rocks made into steps to get over the walls.
We had a house in Northern California, in a town called Manton.  When we purchased it, all the borders were covered with years and years worth of blackberries.  When we started to clear the property, we found the property was bordered on 3 sides with the most beautiful and very, very old stone walls.  And in the back, there was a fence stile but it was made by placing rocks out from the wall to create stepping stones over it!  At one time, the old homestead had 100s of acres and the previous family owners raised dairy cows.  The walls had several openings with old wooden gates to move the cows from one pasture to the next, but if you didn't want to worry about opening and closing gates, you could just climb over the rock walls using the fence stile.
If you travel to the areas where grapes are grown, you may see some stiles there.

 And of course, in Europe, they are everyplace across their rock walls.

Well, I must get back to my planting so my wonderful CSA members and customers will have lots of vegetables to enjoy this season.
Until next time-just when you think you have seen EVERYTHING-

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