Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A Bit of Progress

Over the intermediate days of Pesach I have been working diligently in the yard, dodging rain here and there.

This is the right-hand side of the house. Nearest to the camera are six blackberry bushes, 3 of each variety, alternating one then the other. Further toward the back are six blueberry bushes, again 3 of each variety, alternating. I got the bushes at Lowes, primarily to keep the expense down. The two trees are two varieties of pears (it also takes two to pollinate), also from Lowes. Pear trees are quite versatile in that they can be trimmed and even trained to trellises and still produce. We will keep them close to the house, so as not to annoy the neighbors. The peonies were there when we moved in. I weeded them a bit and gave them some mulch.

In the front, in place of some of the planting beds I had originally proposed for near the house, I have planted a peach tree from Lowes. It is self-pollinating. We need to cut one of the retaining wall blocks, which I hope to do on a drier day, lol. I am hoping that this tree will provide shade for the large picture window in the summer as well. That side of the house is nearly due west and in the summer the sun glares in the windows and makes it quite hot in the house. As we are trying to avoid over-using the A/C, all three of the baby trees in front I just planted, and their friend the redbud who was already there, will greatly improve the energy efficiency of the house even if they don't bear a lot of fruit.

The strawberries arrived from Territorial Seed Company, and we planted them as planned. By this time, also, the peas that my son Will and I had started in the indoor plats were getting a couple of inches tall, so it was time to buy some materials for raised beds.

This is the first one. It is made of cedar siding and pine 1x2s for the corners. There is also a strip of 1x2 reinforcing the center of the cedar slats on the inside of the box. We measured about 15" out from the neighbor's fence, to be sure we had enough room to weed whack, for the time being. Later, I will remove the sod from the areas between the boxes and put down landscape fabric and either mulch or gravel - I'm not sure yet which will be better.

Along with the peas, the box contains radish seeds, which we planted directly into the ground and have not yet sprouted. Those are in the space between the sets of peas for shelling that are nearest to the fence. Between the middle and the closest sets of peas (the closer set being snap peas for stir-fry) are celery cuttings from the kitchen. We took the bottom few inches of organic celery we bought at the store and put them in water in a windowsill to begin rooting, and they seem to be doing nicely. I also tried doing scallions the same way, but they didn't look healthy and didn't last long. The next time I buy organic scallions I will put them directly into the garden and see if that works.

And last, but not least, when I ordered the strawberries, on a whim I ordered a cherry tree as well. It was on my list of things to ponder, and it was on sale. Surrounding it are some spring bulbs that we dug up from the back part of the lot, in order to save them from whatever coming scorched earth policy is going to be utilized there to get rid of that viney sh*t. I may even resort to spraying something awful, and just plan not to have a tilled area this year. The more I look at that area, the more dismayed I am that digging up that stuff completely is doable.

Next up: Rain Barrels!

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