Posted by: Michelle | April 24, 2010

Summer gardening!

This spring we added two more 7 x 3 square foot raised beds, so now we have 3. Here is my plan for those beds, many of the seeds I just planted today. The rest are either planted directly later or from the starts I have going in my downstairs bathroom.
garden plan

one bed almost full, but for the zucchini:
bed 3

Also on order – 4 new chicks! They should arrive any day now. Last year’s chick starter area is now a seed starting area so the chicks will need a new set up this time (i should probably get a start on that). I’ve been reading Eliot Coleman’s books and getting really ecited and hopeful about keeping greens going all winter in a cold frame! I’ve set it up so that bed number three will become a cold frame in October. I haven’t built it yet but I’m still researching glass and glass alternatives.

Last week we unexpectedly lost our male guinea, Terrance. They had been penned all day in the run and he most likely injured himself in there. I checked him over and he didn’t seem to have any marks on him at all. The same day, after I took his body away (I took him to the pet cemetery), I noticed something following the female guinea Patrice around the yard and when i went out I saw a little juvenile squirrel following her. He then began following me! I tried leaving him alone but he kept following me and the kids, and then the chickens. I quickly realized he would not last 5 minutes in my yard since the chickens immediately went into attack mode and sweet little Boots threw that squirrel right into the air. I led him into a cat carrier and took him deep into the state park and released him there where he would have at least a fighting chance.

Trevor

Today I purchased and planted my very first Srygia vulgaris (common lilac). Lilacs always been my favorite part of spring and my parents’ and grandparents’ yards were loaded with them. There are none here at this address and so I decided to start hoarding them. I plan to add at least one a year until they make a thick hedge along the north edge of my property and an independent bunching of them here and there as well. I plan to try Miss Kim, Pocohontas and Bloomerang varieties as well. I have a few other varieties coming to me in the mail as teensy seedlings and I’m going to try to raise them myself.

Gloria, the lilac bush

Also today I put in an experimental strawberry planting, around and under a tree! The branches of this tree start so high that the area gets full sun most of the day.
stawberry bed

These Everbearing are probably a little skimpy even though they spread; I might add a different variety towards the center.

FInally, I planted my two little blueberry bushes, the Northland and the Patriot

Northland blueberry

I have been reading lots of books about permaculture and planning how to turn my yard from a field of weak grass and sand into an edible paradise – for this year I have 3 apple trees planned, and at least two peach trees. Also on order: beach plum, maypops, guomi, Ken Aslet Tropaeolum (which is a relative of nasturtiums and has an edible root), lycopene berry, elderberry, and hardy kiwi! I plan to create a hedge of flowering and fruit trees surrounding the septic system “hump”, with an arbor in the middle (maypop or hardy kiwi trained to it) which will lead to the hill – this should obscure the fact that there is a slight hill and create another “garden room” for perennial sunflowers or another ornamental and a sitting area.

I have started reclaiming the paddock area, last year it was tall grasses and weeds covering a swampy marsh (ticks!!) but this year it has dried out a bit, and I can tell the straw has begun to rot down. I mowed the clumps of grasses short using the mulching function on my mower, than planted dutch white clover to stabilize the soil, add nitrogen and attract bees.

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