Monday, March 11, 2013

Garden Plans!

Is anyone as insanely anxious for spring as I am??  This being my second spring back home, I am starting to once again do what I always did as a kid…take walks outside in early early spring trying to get a glimpse of some kind of life that may be getting a head start.  When I was a kid I used to brush back the dead leaves in my rock garden hoping to spot some bright green somewhere among the sea of brown.  I also used to take my pond net and drag it along the water’s edge hoping for tadpoles…or at least some icky water insects that I was always afraid to touch, but still happy to see.  I always started too early and for weeks came up with nothing…until finally…the first fat tadpole…the first sharp bit of daylily breaking through the earth, the first tiny leafy buds popping up on the willow tree.  Even though we had a huge snow storm just a few days ago, the warm weather has melted all but just a bit of the white stuff and today at lunch time while Winnie was wondering about in the brush, I bent down to inspect the areas where I planted bulbs and perennials.  I didn’t see a whole lot yet…but I did see some blue green iris sprouts!   

And much to my extreme surprise, the spinach I planted late last fall isn’t only still green and delicious looking (still half covered in snow mind you), it seems to have grown!  Incredible!
 The brussel sprouts are mostly brown and gross, but there are still a few that I could eat if I really really wanted to.  I planted waaaay too many last year and pick a bunch throughout the winter and also have tons in the freezer (except I shouldn't have blanched them first).

I have learned so so much in my first year of gardening and am sooooo incredibly anxious to start again this year.  This time my mom and I are starting all of our seedlings ourselves instead of buying them (I already have most of the seeds).  We are also starting waaaay earlier…two months earlier to be exact.  No wonder our spinach did horribly in the spring (in my garden, and in hers), it should have been planted 8 week earlier when it was still cool and nippy outside.  We are also going to try growing peas for the first time.  She likes snap peas, while I want shelling peas.  We’ll plant them along the fence in our respective gardens and let them (or help them) climb, climb, climb! 

I can't remember if I posted about my garden wall last fall...It took me three different days (one in spring, one in summer and one in fall consequently) to build it.  My dad and I went around to several of his fields where he spotted large rocks...and when I say large, I mean huge!  I was surprised that we were able to get them on the back of my truck...and then surprised that the tires didn't pop!  My dad also has two huge boulders (I mean...they probably weigh a few tons) on the edge on one field that he wanted to bring over to my house and put on either side of the stone stairs.  As awesome as that would have been, I decided they would take up too much space and compromise the more delicate English garden wall look I was going for.  Hopefully I can convince him to bring them over to put elsewhere.  Ben and I picked up the smaller rocks, also from my dad's fields. 

The stairs were a bit tricky to make compared to the wall...I had to pick and choose pieces that would fit together nicely...especially a challenge when most of the rocks I had were round.  The stairs could probably use a little mortar, which I may add later, but we'll see how they do for now.  I think this spring if I have time I may try to build a simple locust stick arbor for in front of the gate to grow vines around (I love vines!!)

 As I mentioned, I already have most of the seeds we'll be planting and organized them according to planting time.

I also have been writing down my schedule for planting.  A smart thing to do for any sized vegetable garden!  Next thing I need to draw out is my plan for arranging the vegetables in and around the garden. 

Last year I really focused the majority of my time and energy on the vegetable garden.  While I did plant a bunch of perennials bought from plant sales (like garage sales, but for plants), they were planted willy nilly and with little thought or planning.   I also planted some shrubs along one side of the house and am excited to see how they do this this peony...

 I think I was supposed to cut the foliage off last fall....oops.  I'll get rid of them when I rake all the leaves out of the bed.

It's hard to see in this photos, but it looks like my azalea survived the winter...the leaves look healthy, albeit kind of orange.  The sedum actually still looks bit pretty in it's dried form, but it's surrounding do little to showcase it's beauty.

One major project I'm struggling with is figuring out what to do with our hillside area.  It's a rather large area, quite steep in spots, half full sun and half partial shade.  Last year I planted wildflowers in the sunny spot, and while I got some beautiful flowers, they were real weedy and overall it wasn't pretty.  I'd like to build some simple stone steps that go right up the middle (on the far side of the trees), but am not sure what to plant...something mostly low maintenance that will be interesting and beautiful.  Plants that attract birds and insects is a plus...especially in the winter.  Any ideas?

Another major project we plan to work on this year is the foundation and under the porch.  Our 5 year old basement foundation is completely exposed in the front.  The large area of concrete is too tall to cover with landscaping and makes the house look unfinished.  My plan is to collect medium sized rocks (the size of my hand and smaller) and cover the entire foundation with them, including the concrete porch supports. 

The second part of our plan is to dig out the slope of sand under the porch to level it off a bit and install dark brown lattice behind the stone covered porch supports.  We'll leave the side open and the resulting enclosure will become a potting shed and winter storage area (it's sort of serving as a junky looking winter storage right now...ew.  I planted wisteria on either side of the porch last spring and it's been growing quite well.  I'd like to grow some more vines as well...any suggestions for good ones?  They need to grow tall as our porch is technically at a second story height!  lol   

I'd also like to repaint all the yellow on the house too...but that's a whole different year!  lol

Spring I can't wait for you to truly arrive!!!  :)

1 comment:

pat said...

Crystal, if I didnt know better, I would say that yo have a severe case of spring fever.
Itoo have beeb walking around aimlessly looking for signs of spring.. my snowdrops have come and gone, and the veg garden, there are reminents of things, but definitely NOT eatable.. I've planted fall spinach for several years . An old farmer shared that with me as "how to get early spring spinach".. I missed last fall tho..
I can hardly wit until I can get out there... soon, the birds say.