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A new year, a new Acre.

Walking through the garden center today, I was asked about what my plans were for the Acre this year. What a perfect topic for the blog, I thought. This year, my plans are to plant the usual vegetable crops, tomatoes (Jet Star for sure) but I will try to limit the number of varieties from years past. I really don’t have room to do a good job with tomato trials. For peppers, I’ll for sure plant the hot ones like: jalapeño, habanero, ghost, scorpion and maybe a few milder bell pepper varieties. If I had the room, I’d plant more green chile plants and try to sell them at the Kansas Grown Market. Cukes, squash, eggplant and the early spring crops – radish, lettuce, onion and potato as well as the cole crops will round out the more traditional crops.

Last year, I added 2 rows of asparagus in the middle of the 3 rows from 2013. My 2nd year asparagus did wonderfully last year, so I’m excited to see how it does this year. I’m hopeful that I’ll have some to share. I like the perennial aspect of asparagus. I believe it can be a commercial crop if it’s done correctly. Plant it once, and it can be harvested for decades.

There is nothing quite like fresh fruits and vegetables from your own own Acre. Fruit trees are no exception, and my favorite over the years have been the tart cherries. I like growing cherry trees for their simplicity and how quickly they they produce in the early summer. Keeping them insect and disease free only requires a couple of sprayings. Not to mention the fact that tart cherry pie is my favorite!!!

While at a conference last summer in Columbus, Ohio, I came across a couple of bush growth habit tart cherry varieties. These would be great for a pick-your-own operation as no ladders are required, and they produce a pretty good crop in the second season. Jeremy has sourced both Carmine Jewel and Romeo dwarf Cherries for this spring’s offerings. I’m going to plant several of each for the acre this year. Here are the descriptions from the grower’s website.

Carmine Jewel – Full-sized, purplish-red fruit with a balance of high sugars and a complement of acids, creating a rich flavor. Fruit has firmer flesh and less juice than Romeo, so it lends itself better for making dried fruit. It is also a heavy yielder, loading up with 15+ pounds by its fourth year, and 20-30 pounds in its fifth year. Growing to only 6 1/2 ft. tall, this is a naturally dwarfed bush with full-sized fruit is much easier to maintain than typical cherries. Extremely cold hardiness and few problems from disease and pests make this beauty a breeze to grow and harvest. Abundant, white flowers and glossy green leaves allow it to double as an ornamental in your landscape in early spring. Self-pollinating.
Zones: 2b-7
Height: 6 1/2 feet.
Shade Requirement: Full sun.

Romeo Dwarf Cherry – Newly available in the US. Larger, sweeter, and juicier than Carmine Jewel but with the same great plant habit. You’ll fall in love with this “sweet-talking” berry’s deep crimson, full-sized, glossy fruit with incredible sugar levels for a tart cherry type. Grown for its exceptional cold-hardiness, dwarf stature, and high flesh-to-pit ratio. This means more fruit per pound with less weight from the pits. Yields up to 25 pounds of fruit per plant, providing plenty for baking, canning, wine making, and, of course, fresh eating. Self-pollinating. Zones 2-7.
Zones: 2 – 7.
Height: 6 1/2 feet.
Shade Requirement: Full sun.

If you’re wanting to try one or both of the above varieties, shoot me an email marty@johnsonsgarden.com and I’ll make sure to put your name on one when they arrive. They will be potted plants, 18”-24” tall.

Don’t forget DOTA, this next Monday, January 12th at our 13th street store, starting at 5:30 pm, until around 10, it’s come and go. Come enjoy some great craft beer and community!

See you soon,
Marty

  • chris davis

    Do you guy have a “how to” on planting Asparagus? Is it as simple as digging a shallow trench?