Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The summer gardening season begins

It's that time of year again, when I post about the garden and promise myself that I'll blog more often.  I guess time will tell if my resolution will stick this time.

Part of my reluctance to post too many pictures is that I always think I'll get around to making my garden "pretty".  You know, with nice walkways and cute art-y items placed here and there.  But I never seem to get around to that and I blame two things: 1) I hate to shop (and I'm cheap), so I never buy the art-y things and 2) I spend all my time fighting the woods back to hold onto my few gardening sunny spots.

In my mind, my garden will someday look like this, but in reality, this is what our land wants to look like:

View from the front door

It's beautiful, but all of those trees keep growing and making baby trees and sending out roots and suckers and making shade...  In other words, they really don't care that I want to have a garden.  In addition, we have all sorts of other things that want to grow in the sunny spots: crab grass, nut sedge, dewberries, dewberries and more dewberries... So, in an attempt to at least partially control the jungle, we put in raised beds this year. 

Two of them (including this one with the tomatoes) are experimental hugelkultur beds, with rotting logs underneath.  In case I haven't whined about mentioned it before, our "soil" is sugar sand for the first 6 to 8 feet.  That's a lotta sand.  On the bright side, I never have problems with standing water!

Blondkopfchen tomato blooms

We've been eating fairly well out of the spring garden: broccoli, snow/snap peas, spinach, radishes, carrots, onions, cabbage, potatoes and asparagus.  Great googley-moogley we've had a lot of asparagus this year!  This is year 5 for the crowns and we've had pounds and pounds of asparagus.  I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever slow down!

Asparagus bed with strawberries

We started with Jersey Knight and added some Mary Washington the next year.  The year after that we added what was labeled as Jersey Giant, but I'm guessing it was Mary Washington as well, since it contains a lot of female plants and they aren't nearly as big as Jersey Knight. 

My strawberries gave up and died during the heat wave last summer, but I found a couple packs of bare root strawberries late in the season.  I'm not expecting a ton of berries, but I'm hoping that they will spread and produce for next spring.  Since they've always spread to the asparagus bed on their own in the past, I decided to just plant them there this time to see what happens.

So there, I have at least one garden post for 2012.  Hopefully there will be more to follow!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

For once laziness pays off!

My garden just gave up and died during our summer heat wave and drought (except for the crabgrass - I have a record crop of that). Since the onions never reached eating size before they shriveled, I just assumed they were dead and ignored them.

Well, when I finally got around to weeding a week or so ago - with the weed whacker - I noticed an oniony smell. Sure enough, my onions had send up nice baby onion plants! Since I need to till and plant cereal rye, I dug the baby onions up and planted them in the big raised bed, along with garlic, spinach, carrots, beets and dinosaur kale. I'm not sure I'll be able to eat any of these things over the winter, but it should give me a head start on the early spring garden.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The house is progressing, but the garden is toast

This summer has been absolutely brutal. We set records for the number of consecutive days over 100F as well as for the total number of days over 100F. In addition to that, we're also experiencing a severe drought.  I started losing most of the annual garden plants in July and now even some of the long-term plants have died off, including my beloved raspberries.  We're most likely going to lose some trees, too.  I really hope we break this drought soon.

But, despite all that, the house has come along nicely.  The outside is finished, aside from painting the doors and pouring the driveway, and we're currently getting ready to paint the interior.  The things we are currently lacking are the counter tops, the plumbing and electrical fixtures, the propane tank and the septic system.  But other than those minor issues, it's a house!  ;-) 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

And we're FINALLY building our house!

We moved to the shed almost five years ago with the intention of building a house once we were settled.  Besides the fact that we tend to take our own sweet time in making decisions, life also threw a few roadblocks in our path along the way.  Add to that the fact that the shed is just comfortable enough that we didn't feel panicky about getting something built and it was four years before we even had a set of plans finished.    "Procrastination" is our word for the day, boys and girls.  :)

Here's the goal:

And our current progress:

Those leftover lumber bits are going to make great raised beds!

In an effort to marry our dreams to our finances, we're doing standard 2x4 construction and making it as energy efficient as possible, with foam insulation and low E windows.  We're also putting in a wood burning stove for supplemental heat, since we have an almost endless supply of dropped branches from the woods around here.  We'll also be doing a lot of the interior finish work ourselves, to save some labor costs.  In theory, the builder will be finished sometime in October, but we'll still have some work to do after that.

Neither of us have ever been involved in new construction before, so this is very exciting stuff!