Friday, May 27, 2016

The progress of our garden

I am reconsidering the use of the sideboards or wooden planks on the sides of the plant beds. The frost has made them rise from the ground, creating an opening under which the "weeds" were able to move in.
I am also reconsidering the use of those woven, weed suppressing groundcover cloth and wood chips. First of all that is manmade, artificial(plastic) fibre that doesn't break down. A less than environmental friendly alternative, both in manufacturing and in waste. I would need to exchange the stuff already in use, since that turns out to be absolute rubbish, tearing up like paper. The other side is that, in order to get those woodchips, I need a machine that requires energy to operate and more twigs and branches than my garden provides, so extra transport. Again, not as I would like to have it.
However once everything is in place it would be virtually maintenance free, apart from spreading out shredded material the garden provides every once in awhile.
Our youngest daughter thought of a way to keep our hens and rabbits; flexible "pens"; stakes of metal with netting or mesh attached, creating a flexible and flowing enclosure to contain chickens and rabbits. She drew this idea out on paper, when we were discussing various ideas and options to keep chickens and rabbits (things like mobile coops and such) and first we and than I developed the idea further; we could use the grass(over)grown paths between the beds. The animals could be feeding on the grasses, weeds, seeds and insects, yet without gaining access to the plant beds and the crops therein! Feeding animals, clipping the grass and weeds AND pest control all into one, whilst using all the space we have available.  This solution however would mean the purchase of bunny- and chickenproof fencing and quite a lot of it, given the length of the paths.

In between the cold and wet weather, including some not unsubstantial amounts of snow, we had warm and sunny days and this triggered an explosion of green. Birches went green within a week and the grass grows an inch a day... or so it seems. And that made me reconsider the bunny 'n' chicken-idea once more. They could never, ever keep up with that! Let alone control it!
Another issue is the limited space between the beds, which makes it highly impractical to wield a scythe
So I had to compromise; for now we bought a battery powered grass trimmer, just so we can keep up with the growth and keep the grass and other plants in check, until we have decided what to do. I might end up combining the latter 2 options. Don't know yet.

Oh... yeah.... the old horse manure I spread over some of the beds last year?
Turns out that that was packed with seeds...... Seeds of plants I did not want to see really..... So along with the favorable weather, those germinated and had ample amounts of nutrients.... *sigh*

One week long delay in weeding made that I felt that I had been overcome and overgrown by this green explosion and seeing the parts I did weed, turning green again is not exactly encouraging either. This is the toughest month in gardening around these parts. Things will slow down considerably in a month or so.

As far as the seeds are concerned; most are growing quite well!
A cold snap killed the tomato experiment however and none of the green beans germinated. (None of the Dutch brown ones either). Except for the ones around the metal feet of the old swing. I guess the warmth of the sun got conducted downward into the soil, warming that just enough to make the beans sprout! So I have to redo that and I now know to sow those a lot later. Maybe even as late as the first week of june.
The spinach I had sown around the garlic is not showing, but it did not show up last year either. Maybe the seed is too old? Or I need to sow it later too? I'll give it another go soon.

Yet another mistake I made was to not exactly and meticulously mark what I had sown where outside the greenhouse. I was in too much of a rush I guess, so now I know one bed contains carrots, beets and several species of onions in alternating rows, but I do not know what is where.
Cats using this bed as a toilet complicates things even further....

So...... There's a handful of lessons I am learning "the hard way". But that was and is exactly what I had expected.

Is it all misery and doom, then?
No of course not!
The cherrie- and plumbtrees made it and are blooming wonderfully and now they have gotten company of an appletree too. We could "save" that one for a good price. Folks needed to get rid of it, due to constructional work and since it was a recently planted tree there (2014) it could be dug up without trouble. Being only 2 meters (or a bit higher) meant that transport was no issue either.
Another plus is that we have more rhubarb than anticipated now. I needed to replant a big one and it simply fell apart. Now we have 3 plants instead of that 1 big one, bringing the total to 6.
We also got a rooting branch of a black gooseberry bush, so that should give us some more berrybushes as well soon.
A seedling exchange with one of our neighbours meant that now we do have tomato plants as well as leeks, some white cabbage and a few flowering plants too.
From my mother in law we got one of my all time favorit flowering plants; an older New dawn-rose. I love those! Their bright pale pink flowers, the smell..... and when it has become high enough I'll add a nice, dark clematis. That is always a sight to behold!

yet for now the rain keeps pouring down......

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ron!

    Things are really moving forward in your garden, looks fantastic!

    With one or two Top bar hives you can add an army too your "staff" ;)