Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter Dreaming -- my 2012 Garden

In October 2011, as I was putting my vegetable garden to bed for the winter; my cousin Charlie told me that he and his family were willing and able to assist me in the garden work!  Although I have initiated every innovation to keep the "work" out of gardening, keeping up with everything had been a challenge up to now.  I am no spring chicken.  So I have agreed to accept Charlie's help with pleasure.

Until now, my five 8 by 16 foot raised garden beds have been enough to fill my freezers and give away excess produce.  But I think I will have to expand two beds and maybe create another, to accomodate Charlie and his family. 

Right now, I am thinking of adding on to make two beds 8 by 24 feet, and see how it goes.  If that additional space is not enough, then I will create another 8 by 24 foot bed.   That means I will have two or three 8 by 24 foot beds, and three 8 by 16 foot beds.  That should be enough I think, especially when I add another cattle panel trellis for peas, beans, and tomatoes.

My garden "bible" since the 1970s is Ruth Stout's book.  She has inspired me and her philosphy matches mine perfectly.  Yes, I have raised beds, and I use manure but only in conjunction with Ms. Stout's methods. 

I have also decided to plant more trees on the property.

In soggy clay area near the house, next to where I have my herb garden is a space for a Bartlett pear tree.  My attempts to create a wild strawberry bed there has failed miserably.  I have decided to move my iris bulbs there and will plant sweet woodruff, lily of the valley, and watercress.  All should do well in this wet area and may even help the water logged situation.

In the barren wastes of the compacted clay and rock "north forty" where I have most of my fruit and nut trees, I am considering planting a couple of  American plum trees, and another Dolgo crabapple tree.  After I plant them, I will mulch them heavily with leaves and hay to about a yard around each tree.  I will plant some wild strawberry plants in the tree's mulch and see if that will be enough to keep them happy and maybe they will create a nice groundcover beneath the trees.

I have been debating endlessly on whether I should put in Nanking bush cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries to the "north forty".  Charlie and I finally decided to plant a row of 25 Nanking bush cherries and skip the raspberries and blackberries.  I will plant a row of 5 blueberry bushes near the herb garden. 

I keep wondering if I should add onto the grape vine trellis I am trying to get established.  I just can't make up my mind on what to do.

On the west side of my storage garage, I am planning to build a nice fenced dog run for my black Great Dane Cerberus.  He has been demoted from being an inside dog to being an outside dog due to his incurable penchant for "spraying" my carpets! 

I was able to obtain for free a huge, incredibly heavy dog house from the farm where I board my beloved black Arabian mare Lady Ashen.  It took three guys to move the thing onto the truck!

I go out to the farm to visit Ashen, and while I am there, I fill recycled cat litter buckets with lids with manure for my garden.  The covers ensure there is no spillage in my car trunk, and I use this horse manure on my vegetable beds, fruit trees, and my rose garden.  I know that a half dozen or so cat litter buckets a trip does not sound like a lot of manure, but at one or two trips a week to the farm, it sure adds up fast.  The best part are the buckets are pretty light even when full, so I can easily carry them around the yard.

Amongst the roses in the rose garden, I will plant more daisies and violets.  This coming fall, I will plant more tulips and daffodils.

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