Well, it’s spring again and we have started full force in the gardening for this year. Time to attempt to write in the blog more again.
I planted some seeds in February but most of them perished. Even in a nice warm room by a super sunny window under a little fan, they were all stretching and growing leggy and falling over. I put a light over them, but just a little CFL and it only helped the few right under the light. I ended up tossing the majority of them and starting over. We went to the Restore and got some fluorescent lights and bought a wire shelf from Costco.
So now I have tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and echinacea sprouting. I’m waiting on strawberries and peppers (both of which can have long germinations), as well as fennel and onions (which I planted a bit later than the rest). I put peas, spinach, chives, radish, and some greens out in the garden (it snowed the next day, hooray). A little later in the season I’ll start corn, beans, squashes, etc.
So in the back bed in the picture above I planted garlic and onion in the fall. The garlic is doing great, the onion doesn’t seem to be doing much. Depending on if I see any growth from the onions, I may plant my new onions there instead. The closer bed is where I have greens. I planted the peas on the ground around three sides, against the fence (which I figure can act as a trellis). The right side of the picture is south, so I planted around the east, north, and west sides. I’m hoping the west peas will be enough to shade the greens a bit, without shading the far bed much. I’m almost considering planting more along the south side just in front of that bed, but that might be overkill.
We just bought a few new trees (a combo cherry and a combo apple, which seems totally unnatural, but it sounds like it’s hard to get any kind of fruit tree not grafted at all now, so might as well go with a combo one), a plum, and a Spartan apple. We have peach, nectarine, apples, plum, cherry, and pear trees already, but the deer ravaged them last year so we’ll see if any made it through the winter. The plum and peach both look okay, and one of the apples. Crossing fingers about the rest. We also planted more raspberry canes, a boysenberry, and a grape, to go with the raspberries and grapes we already have, plus a tayberry (I think, it’s a cross between blackberries and raspberries), and a blueberry and going to get more blueberries soon too. We have lots of strawberries growing in various places, but I’m hoping the seeds I started will germinate too. One is a mignonette strawberry, and the other a wild/alpine type. The bed above is going to be my first real permaculture-ish bed. We built it using lasagna gardening techniques last year and it’s got leaf mulch on it right now. It has amazing tilth and tons and tons of earthworms. Going to be reading a ton about fruit tree guilds and companion planting and try and get some edible perennials growing in there along with the bushes and trees. Also have a Pieris which is supposed to be good for mason bees.
This is the back of that bed, where there’s a huge dip. We filled it in with brush and branches, and will be covering it with compost/sand. I am dabbling in hugulkultur in a few of our beds this year. They apparently don’t always do great the first year, but more than make up for it in subsequent years. Apparently blueberries love hugulkultur beds so I’m definitely going to try some blueberries over this spot.
This is where we planted potatoes last year. You can see we’ve now outlined the beds and filled it in quite a bit. Over the next couple of years we’re hoping to actually raise it somehow, either with some sort of timber roll, more rocks, or just lumber. I think most of the veggies I’ve started will probably end up in here. To the right at the back I think we will put a herb spiral, and then next to that we’ll dig out a big bed for corn, squash, and beans. Then perpendicular to all of that we’ll run a long bed for potatoes. If we need more space than that, there is lots more room, I just don’t want to overwhelm ourselves. Behind where the corn bed will be going, I think I’d like to eventually put a greenhouse, but I’m going to be watching carefully this year what gets the best sun and when.
It’s hard to really tell, but our fenced in area there is about 5000 sq ft. I’d like to eventually turn the entire thing into a food forest along permaculture principles. (The bed with the trees that I pictured above is just to the right of the path in this picture.) We’ll keep one or two beds for annual veggies, but have lots of perennial edibles and bushes and such too. That’s a very long-term plan obviously. And the beds on the other side of the house (that the garlic is in now) will remain as annual beds for now too.
Phew, I think that’s it so far. I need to find a good cover crop seed mix (or put together my own) and do that in our prepared beds asap so I can get them tilled under in time to be ready when the seedlings are ready to transplant.