Has it really been almost a month since I last posted? Damn, I’m so sorry. The winter that threatened to never end finally shoved off at the beginning of May (it was still dipping down to freezing at night a couple of weeks ago!), but since the temperature’s been holding a bit steadier over the last week and a bit, our world has exploded into greenery. I’m guessing that the plants out here have evolved in such a way that they take full advantage of the tiniest bit of warmth and sunlight, and burst into action as soon as they can. Seriously, two weeks ago, the trees across the river were bare and grey… and now all the trees are resplendent with verdant finery.
Since nighttime temperatures have only stopped dipping below 5C over the last couple of days, we’ve had a bit of extra time to play with the garden to set it up a bit. I mentioned in the last post that it’ll take us several years to amend all the soil and get everything going properly, but we’ve certainly taken some great steps in the right direction: I’ve been slowly adding amendments to different soil regions, and I’ll be planting nitrogen fixers and such in one of the fallow beds so I can work it into the soil as a mulch once autumn rolls around again.
In the meantime, we have two raised beds in the side yard now, and are in the process of layering hugelkultur piles inside them. They’re made of wood for the time being, but we’ll surround them with stone eventually. A third bed will go in that area, and within the next few years, we’re hoping to have a chicken coop back there as well. Just a small one, though: 3 or 4 chickens would give us more than enough eggs for our needs, and if we build a movable one with a detachable run, we can move it into the soon-to-be-enclosed lower level porch during the wintertime for extra protection and insulation.
We’ll be building another, slightly smaller raised bed for the front garden, just on the NW side of the house where the pathetic excuse for a pond is at the moment. It really isn’t a pond per se, so much as the former owner’s pathetic attempt at a water feature: it’s about 2 feet long by 1 1/2 feet wide and nearly 2 feet deep, and is basically just a breeding ground for mosquito larvae. I don’t know what we’ll do with it once we’ve pulled it out, other than possibly doing some kind of hydroponics experiment in the basement, but I’ll be happy to see that thing gone. After it’s out, we can fill the hole with some of the godawful gravel that the aforementioned previous owner besmirched the front garden with, and the pop the kitchen garden bed atop it. We’ll grow culinary herbs in there so it’s easy to just pop out the door beside the kitchen for a handful of whatever’s needed, and the medicinal herbs will be grown in whichever areas suit them best; mullein in the sandier soil near the back door, more yarrow near the alder trees where it already grows wild, etc.
Speaking of chickens… it’s my husband’s birthday today, and we had the pleasure of visiting a couple of cute little farms with his parents as a celebratory outing. We got a huge bagful of asparagus (of which some promptly made its way into an omelette with garlic-sauteed dandelion greens and arugula), some potted herbs, and a blueberry bush! We’ll pop that bad boy into the beautiful acidic soil patch where raspberries are already thriving, and Stevie the Snake can watch over it.