Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bare Root Room Open

It's a true harbinger of spring and a moment of happiness in the heart of every gardener. I'm referring to the weekend that the local garden center hangs out the sign reading "Bare Root Room Open."

For a few weeks each spring, the garden center sells a variety of bushes and trees "bare root."  Dormant plants are displayed in a chilly storage room, sorted into bins and labeled. They look like dead sticks with a few branches above and a few roots below.

This is not glamorous shopping. Gardeners who buy plants this way are going on faith that this will soon be a viable plant. The advantage to acquiring plants this way is primarily cost savings. Fruit trees cost around $25 bare root rather than $40 potted later in the spring. The other main advantage is the reduced bulk. We easily loaded four bushes and three trees in the trunk of our economy sedan.
We soaked the new items overnight in buckets of water, and today planted three new fruit trees: a Contender Peach tree, a Chinese apricot and a Goldcot Apricot. We also potted a Brown Turkey fig tree and four blueberry bushes (Blueray, Northland, Patriot and Rubel). The blueberries will get transferred to the ground when the planter is terraced later this spring.

Don't wait---the bare root opportunity only lasts a few weeks. Once the dormant branches start to sprout, it's time to pot them and then the bare root room is closed again until next year. Besides, planting trees in the partially frozen ground is fun and tells a good story later.

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