New gardens planned for 2017. Already? Yee gads, I’m still recuperating from Christmas! Time certainly does not wait!
More Garden Chores In January
As each growing season ends I always think to myself that next year, I’ll cut back on the gardening. I’m just getting to old to do all of this. But, as January rolls around and the garden catalogs start to pile up on my coffee table, I begin to feel a renewed energy and optimism. So, instead of cutting back on my gardening chores, I end up expanding them. Last year I put in a beautiful, cutting garden and lawns around the house. This year, I’ve already added a mini, grape vineyard to our food garden, expanded our blackberry patch, as well as enlarged our fruit orchard by adding 15 new trees. I also plan to put in a demo garden to spruce up our commercial property in town, as well as planting a dozen “Lady Banks” roses. Over ambitious? Maybe. Talk to me about that in August. Right now, (…sigh…) I just can’t help myself. New gardens are so inspiring!
Keeping Up With the Compost
The biggest obstacle that I have to growing so much stuff isn’t the initial plantings, nor the tending of the gardens. It’s generating enough organic compost to keep the plants going through the summer to fall. Right now, I’m creating wheelbarrows full, but in reality, I need truckloads.
I could go out and buy a couple of dump trucks full of compost from our local garden supply, but that’s expensive, especially since they would charge me a pretty penny to haul it up here. Besides, I don’t know what goes into it. I definitely want it comprised of organic materials and I certainly don’t want any seeds from invasive species up here. I have a tough enough time with the wild radishes and bindweed that showed up in the hay we brought in a few years ago. Call me a control freak, but I need to make my compost myself and be fully aware of just exactly what is going into it. I should go out and gather leaves this morning, but geesh, it’s cold out there.
Now is also the time to get started
The new, early spring plants like peas, lettuce, greens, broccoli, cauliflower, for the veggie garden have to be started now. Early flowers for the cutting garden need to go on that list too. My dear husband made me a seed starting tray out of redwood. It’s just beautiful! (Thanks hon, I need about 25 more of these please.) I would absolutely love a greenhouse, but alas, I won’t be getting one this year. Starting the seeds on the porch is my best option right now. I may break down and make a temporary hoop house. They’re ugly as sin, but I’m getting desperate and I just may have the materials for that lying around. I need the space and warmth for my early starts.
Cleaning Out 2016 Plants
Of course, besides starting new plants, I still need to clean out the old ones. With all of the rain and cold snaps we’ve had I haven’t been able to get out to the veggie garden, which is still a tangled mess of dead vines and weeds. There are some perennials in there like the asparagus and artichokes that need cutting back and dividing. The grape arbor could use a hard pruning, as well as the orchard trees and berries. This is also the year we plan to put a deer proof fence around the orchard…lots of work, lots of money.
Demonstration Garden Planned in Boonville
Also, as I mentioned earlier, besides my new gardens at home, I’m also planning on putting in a demonstration garden and climbing roses at our bare property in Boonville.
It’s about a 1/6 of an acre with about 20 old apple trees and a medium-sized shed structure on it. The property is a real eyesore right now, so I’m getting ready to clean up the land, paint the shed and plant a pretty garden. The shed will be “barn red” and covered in yellow, “Lady Banks,” climbing roses.
The “Gawd awful,” ugly chain link fence will also get the rose treatment. The dirt there is OK. It’s valley bottom land so the soil is not so terrible, but it still needs amending. (Shewwwwt….Now I need even MORE compost.) The land is totally flat, so it will be a good place to plant the different kinds of corn we’ve ordered, being careful not to cross pollinate them, of course. Other summer crops will go in such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes and herbs. It’s starting to sound like I’ve got an native American theme going on, so maybe I’ll stick with that and just go for the summer crops. Eventually, I’d like the Boonville garden to produce tons of food year round that can be donated to the local food banks.
So, as you can see, I’ve got my dirty hands full all year. I have a ton of ambition right now. We’ll see how far I get with my plans for the new gardens. I’ll be sure to post updates.
Keep on growin’