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April Chores at the Deer Isle Hostel and Homestead

| 4/30/2015 10:45:00 AM


Needless to say, April has been an exhilarating month at the Deer Isle Hostel. Never mind the six extra inches of snow we got that first week, after that it's been a straight home run towards spring. Spring is always busy, but this year even more so when we've also have had to catch up what we didn't get done in March. Here are the most important April chores;

Plant fruit trees. My choice day for digging fruit trees is the first grey and rainy day in April. Usually by then the ground has thawed out and overcast is essential for all kinds of transplanting - even a few minutes in the sun can hurt the vulnerable roots of a young tree.

It's beneficial to dig and move fruit trees while still dormant. The trees have not yet started to expend energy on buds and leaves and will have more strength to establish roots.

Some of the trees I dug this year we immediately transplanted to our new orchard while others were to be sold and transported to new locations. Those we put in feed bags and covered the roots with damp sawdust. We stored them in our cellar (cool and dark) until they could be picked up.

Start seedlings indoors. Without a greenhouse the season for long day and warm weather crops is already compromised here in Maine. In early April I start my tomato seedling indoors so that in eight weeks they will be ready to plant in the garden. Starting them too early doesn't help – they get ”leggy” and stressed in the small pots. I always go overboard and start too many, despite my annual promise to myself to go lighter next year and I usually end up giving many away. For friends and neighbors without a garden, it's the perfect crop to put in a big pot and keep on the front porch.

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