Sunday, May 18, 2008

How Does My Garden Grow Weeks 7 & 8

It's been cold on and off recently in my area, and I've paid the price in a few plants that didn't survive starting to harden off. This has been a tiny percentage, thankfully.

Thirteen asparagus plants survived the winter, of the 25 we put in the ground. Part of that was our fault - we were so deep in our home renovations last summer the roots sat for several weeks before being planted. So we feel lucky. I may get us back up to 25 roots over the next couple of years, but I'll see how the 13 work out. If there's enough to eat straight through the spring and then blanch and freeze some, we'll stick with what we have.

Next year will be our first asparagus harvest, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's not until the third year after planting that asparagus can be cut and eaten. Asparagus is a long-term investment in our food. The root stock should last us many years of good eating, but it comes slowly. It will be worth it though - fresh picked asparagus tastes nothing like what is in the store. It is much sweeter, and far more delicious, needing almost nothing added to it.

Over the last two weeks, our fruit trees, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries all went into the ground. It's hard to believe that the tiny little sticks that are the fruit trees will, in a few years, become large and abundant. But they are already growing and budding.

We're still waiting for our apricot tree, which is the last of the fruit-bearers to arrive this year. Next year we hope to add two more apple trees, as well as some peach trees.

This weekend, we're starting to clear out the plants that are in the space we plan to use for a vegetable garden, including relocating some perennials and a stand of mature raspberry cane. I'm hoping between the mature plants and ours, we never have to buy raspberries again in a year or two.

Today a few of the fingerling potato plants are going in the ground, with the rest to follow next weekend. I started them inside this year, having taken the advice of some local gardeners.

In addition, we'll be mulching and adding compost to the existing garden beds, and the new ones as we clear the ground. My goal is to only purchase mulch and compost every other year.

The garden is growing beautifully, and the weather is slowly warming. Birdsong often wakes us up in the morning. All of the tulips we put in, as well as the ones that were here already, have bloomed, and now we're waiting for the June flowers to come up. The magic of our well-planned perennial garden, a legacy from the previous owner, is that from April-September, something new comes up every week. It's amazing to watch the garden grow.

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