Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gardening Breather

Japanese Maple
It is dumping rain outside, so I have put aside my efforts to get my garden in for the day.  I've made so many trips to the horse farm that I have lost count.  The slippery clay soil in my back garden has taken on a darker, more organic hue.  I am incorporating 8 inches of manure into the top 8 inches of soil and then the following year I am top dressing with even more manure, I started this process on a small part of the garden last year, but I didn't have a good source of manure.  The garden beds end up being raised. The paths are mulched with straw and as soon as the soil heats up a bit more (it has been a cool spring) the beds will be also.

Back garden, Egyptian onions, Kale, Collards, Cabbage, Strawberries and Potatoes.

First Strawberry of the season.

Last year, I mulched the paths and never quite got around to doing the beds, I was a bit distracted with other projects that came up with the new house, like painting most of the interior, including the forty year old kitchen cabinets.  When I emerged from my projects to get back to the garden, the weeds had won.  At that point, I would go out to weed for and hour or so and there would be a small cleared area in the jungle, by July 4th I had pretty much given up and was a bit embarrassed when the BBQ guests asked to see my vegetable garden.  Food production was very low.(photos taken this morning between downpours)

This year, I have been making an effort to spend an hour, if not two on the gardens each morning, some of that time is spent hauling manure and some of that is spend picking out those weeds while they are still tiny.  For the new front garden, I am using the lasagna method, laying layers of cardboard for  weed suppression and layers of organic matter on top.  I planted it with squash and cucumbers and within 24 hours the squirrels had unplanted it.  I replanted the plants and most of them survived, but I lost a few Armenian cucumbers.  I am currently extending it bit by bit, so that I can plant pumpkins and watermelons.  I still need to build a trellis for the cukes and small pie pumpkins...
The fig's first leaves!

On the chicken front, I called the feed store to confirm that the Buff Orpington chicks would be in on Friday and the gentleman told me that in  a couple of weeks four different breeds were due in and he had no knowledge of Buff Orpingtons, even though he was the same person who told me about them in the first place.  The store manager called me back, right as I was typing this line, the Buffs and Barred Rocks will be in late next week and we may be able to score an Australorp in June, if not we'll get another Barred Rock.
Flower bed in front with plants imported from MA last year.

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