Thursday, April 17, 2014
Some of the girls were helping Jack weed the garden annex the other day in preparation of it being planted. If you enlarge the photo you can see Zuzu right under him. Her loyalty is to the shovel or hoe, not to anyone wielding it. Haha! If you'll dig you are her best buddy. I'm going to try planting hulless oats again in this area. I planted them in the main garden one year before but they didn't do too well. They were on the back edge and think they got too much shade. I would like to produce enough to use for chicken feed but don't think that will be possible really. If I could get enough to feed myself and Jack for a bit that would be nice though. Plus, it's fun to try new stuff like this every once in a while.
The Spring garden is doing well. The broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are finally taking off. As you might can see in the photo,I do sometimes mulch with pine straw. This would freak some people out I know but you work with what you've got and I've never noticed it being detrimental to the plants. I do have a layer of old leaves down on the ground first and then the straw over it. The pine straw is free, abundant and it does not seed anything. Anyway, way in the back you can see the garlic and sugar snap peas coming up well.
The potatoes are also doing great but they got a little burnt by a cold snap night before last. They should bounce back fine though.
I never got the strawberry bed redone like I wanted but they are doing good anyway. I think I did mange to finally run those damn moles and voles out though and I can still add some soil to this bed in places until I can redo it later. From the looks of the blooms we should have a fairly decent strawberry harvest this year.
All of my fruits are in the border areas of the main garden and in between the fruit bushes I have filled in with herbs. It seems to work well and I like the way it looks. All the herbs are doing great so far. Very full and lush this spring. This is the oregano. It's planted amongst the blueberries.
I took an old bucket that was missing it's bottom to use as a planter for keeping the thyme contained. I recently harvested a good bit of this and it has really flushed out well since. It was getting pretty straggly and the haircut has helped it regain it's fullness.
I was very excited to see the sugar peas doing so well, as I've never grown them before. I need to get a trellis up pronto for them though. And mulch them also.
The azaleas are blooming for the first time! and putting on lots of new growth. Now, they love the pine mulch but I can't actually use pine straw around them because they are out where the chickens can get to them and mulch like that does nothing but just beg for the chickens to come tear it up! However, I discovered I can mulch around the azaleas with pinecones. The chickens won't bother those, especially if you use those hard, green pine cones, because they stick their little feets. Sissys! Haha!
The dogwoods are really pretty this year too but I just have not been able to get a decent photo of them. Since we have cleared a few trees back, many of the dogwoods will get a lot more sun now and I think that will help them fill out in the coming years. They should be really pretty then. And, I planted azaleas under a number of them so it'll be a 1-2 whammy of color!
I finally feel that parts of the landscape and gardens are really coming together this year. The garden scaping is not done but the garden itself is doing really well. The perennial plants are settling in and with the annuals it's just a matter of pulling the old and putting in new as the seasons change. The soil is vastly improved over what it was originally, although it still needs improvement. The cherry, plum and apple trees are getting some size on them and I may get a tad of fruit this year but I do still need to add several more.
The harsh winter did kill a few things this year though. I think it may have got one or more of our new fig trees and it killed my dwarf gardenia. Of course, that's not a food shrub but it was pretty. My rosemary shrub died also and the lavender, so those will need replacing. Two of my tea plants kicked off too, but I don't think that was necessarily due to the cold.
There are even more of the native, dwarf irises this year and they are coming closer to the house. I love these things but don't dare try to transplant them. I tried a few times before and they never make it, so I think it's best just to let them do their own thing. They grow in clumps along some of my hiking trails so I am just content to see them there.
The gorgeous, warm weather we've been having has really got me fired up about things and I've been working on several projects. I've even done a little more tile work on the fireplace surround but it's not really enough to show yet. I still hurt a good bit at times and have some rough days but I'm better and I'm trying not to let the pain knock me down again. I'm also trying to work myself into a real schedule of pottery during the week and house building on the weekends or in the evenings. Of course, there are exceptions to things and some schedules but I do better if I have a set time for everything.
I hope you all are getting some spring work in although I think I heard some of the northern areas got more snow this week! Eeek! I am so glad I live down South!