Love, Lydia - Notes from a geeky, plus sized artist.: The Garden Corner

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Garden Corner

Hi folks,

I know I've occasionally mentioned how I planned to start a garden once we moved.  I wrote down ideas and potential ways of setting things up.  All my planning got dropped on its head when I got to our finished yard.  Not to say I haven't done a lot.  I have, but I've had my fair share of failures too.

When we closed on our house there was just straw in the backyard, with some sparse grass seeds.  The seeds have struggled and even with a second seeding of some other type of grass there's still muddy patches around.  The biggest problem is the soil quality in the backyard, the topsoil was all stripped, so despite my soil testing being a bit more promising this spring nothing except densely compacted clay is in the backyard.  I still need to check a bit of the hillside though, so maybe I'll get lucky there.  We're getting some lawn treatments as a move in bonus, so hopefully that'll help too.  In the meantime I had a gaggle of seedlings and small plants to put in the ground and I unexpectedly inherited a variety of plants from my parents old house too!

What I've managed so far is:

Planting the sad little Japanese Maple my parents sent
Setting up two raised beds with new soil
Creating a compost bin with the help of Bryan's dad
I seeded most of the backyard with clover since it stays low the the ground, needs less mowing,
enriches the nitrogen levels of the soil, and is rabbit friendly too!
Planting a blueberry bush (1 of the 2 we bought died before we could plant it)
Planting the gardenia I'd been trying to rescue
Planted a Climbing Don Juan rose
Set up bird feeders in the back and front yards
Transplanted all the seedlings I had left from my starters
Planting more veggies from seeds

We originally put the raised beds a bit further into the yard, but moved the further one so contractors could access our yard and fix the drainage problems (the paths the water created after our first rain show how the grass seed got washed away)

What's flourished:

The Blueberry bush
Most of the clover
Spinach - though some has bolted (gone to seed) our bunny doesn't mind the taste
Bell peppers
The 2 dwarf mulberry trees
The rose bush

What we're not sure about:

Cauliflower (the bugs like it, but it's still growing)
Tomatoes (only 2 plants made it until I could transplant them, with our first fruit expected soon)
Our apple trees
A couple little lettuce plants - I planted them from seed, but the heat seems to be too bad

What's died:
The Japanese Maple
The old strawberry plants
Most lettuce, miners lettuce, and sea kale
The gardenia
The surprise plants I from my parents that I couldn't get into the ground fast enough

Everything in our garden is pesticide free, and I've tried to pair plants that work well together in the same bed.  That's mostly gone quite well, though we'll see how the cauliflower turns out, I think they might not like the hot summers, so I'll be planting more of them for fall as well.  A lot of plants that enjoy cooler weather can be planted at the end of summer and harvested in fall and winter.  I'll be planting more kale, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, and a few other things in a few weeks when we get back from a trip to the beach.  The only special treatment I've given plants otherwise is watering them for 15 minutes with a sprinkler if it's been a few days since it rained.  I haven't had to do that too much yet thankfully, but the summer isn't over yet.

I'm thinking about creating some hillside planters once the weather is cool enough to really work outside more.   If so I'd set them up for the dwarf mulberries and apple trees.  I'd love to have full terraces with steps and eliminate mowing the slope altogether, but I'm not sure when I could implement a project that large, but I could use the area for more vegetables and fruit and some great flowers too.  I'd love to attract more local pollinators.  I know we have the hummingbirds around since I've seen one at the feeder in our front yard and got buzzed in the face by one while wearing my brightly colored Pokemon tshirt last Thursday!  I think it mistook me for a flower patch and then thought better of it once it got close enough to me face.

As you can see I'm keeping things green where I can!  Let me know if you have any suggestions.


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