Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Does My Garden Grow 2010

Even though I got multiple requests to blog my garden this year, I have been reluctant to do so. Over the last two years, our plans for our garden have been significantly downscaled due to other demands. The 8 garden beds have stayed 3 for that time.

This year, all that we've gotten is some asparagus, rhubarb, chard, basil, tomatoes, a few peppers, and one resiliant melon. We may have some onions as well, we're about to dig them up and find out.

The strawberry plants are thriving, but haven't produced yet. The raspberries have offered just enough fruit for my daughter to pick and eat every couple days - a handful, but nothing significant, and we've lost some of them, along with an apple tree, which we have to replace so it's still-surviving companion tree will pollinate. In any case, it will be a couple years before we see fruit on any of our fruit trees, including the cherry tree, which is thriving.

We didn't start any seedlings this winter, as the grow lights went up late and the table was covered in doors we've been refinishing. So we relied on the bounty of seedlings from my sister and parents.

For the last two years, the refrain has been 'next year'. Then next year comes, and we're deep in other projects, and the garden gets pushed to the wayside.

This time we mean it though. We've decided that we'll schedule ourselves at home every other weekend from next May-September in order to make this work, and put Sander to work on the garden beds starting in April. This may require rescheduling some other projects, but that's okay. The garden is finally at the top of the heap, priority-wise.

We've talked about some redesign of the garden beds as well. Right now, they are about 8 feet long and 2.5 feet wide. As we've begun to use them, we've realized a more grid-style layout would probably serve our purposes better, and maximize space.

One hesistation we've had in building out more beds - aside from the time factor - is that sometime, probably in about 5 years, our septic system will need to be replaced. And of course, the garden is right above where they would be digging.

Right now, that only affects the two perennials in the garden, asparagus and rhubarb, which would need to be replanted. The strawberries are elsewhere, as are the fruit trees. After a lot of discussion, we've settled that we'll probably wait the full five years to replace the septic, since the need isn't imminent, and it's a very expensive undertaking. So we'll be building out the garden in a way that maximizes space, but is easily dismantled for when the time comes to dig up the front yard.

We'll also probably add more fruit trees and other perennials - maybe some blackberries and blueberries, a couple peach trees, and some more apple trees. This time, we'll invest in some older trees that will bear fruit earlier. In keeping with my love of all things colonial, I also really want to plant Bayberry, Hops for home brewing and some grapevines. Sander and I are taking a wine-making class this fall, which was a birthday gift. MoneyPenny Manor wines has a nice ring to it, at least I think so.

We already grow plenty of dandelions, although not by choice, but we figure that learning how to turn them into wine maybe beats spraying them with lawn chemicals.

And next year, if all goes well, is also a chicken year.

So the smallish, .66 acre plot of land will continue to be turned into a very tiny homestead, one plant and tree at a time. More playing in the dirt to come.

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