Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sprucing Up: The Edibles

We've been sprucing up the old place. Trying to improve on our half-hearted gardening efforts of last summer and seeing if we can't actually devote a little time to the garden and land this year. The beautiful weather has helped tremendously, so we've gotten a good start.
Berries: Let's see, I ordered some weird varieties from a nursery (honey berry, Goji berry, and pink blueberry) and got some currants from the Conservation District. A generous neighbor gave us a bundle of her raspberry canes and strawberries early this spring and we ordered some more raspberries from the Conservation District. And then another neighbor gave us a bundle of new raspberry shoots! I finally found some zone 4 blackberries (from a Michigan company!) and they are in the ground now. I'm the dissenter in the family, but I love the blackberries more than raspberries, thorns and all. And just this week we found some new growth on our old raspberry and blackberry transplants. We also have a new blueberry patch starting up in the middle of the yard.
Woodland: We dug up some of the wooded area along the fringe of the yard for growing mushrooms (I got these morel "spawn" kits) and ramps, or wild leeks. We got the leeks from a farmer I work with. I'm excited for them to take, but we won't see any results (if any!) until next spring... 
Grapes: We got some grapes from the nursery (fairing poorly) and some others from the neighbors (fairing excellently). All of these new ones are planted on the south and west sides of the garage. We intend for them to grow up a trellis onto an arbor, but have no idea when that structure will actually be built. For now, we'll just concentrate on the plants (and the snake in the grapes!).
Veggies: After countless strolls, discussions, layouts, and opinions, we finally decided on a little plot for the vegetable garden. Or at least veggie garden part 1. We thought this was the most we could handle right now, size-wise, and if we want to expand we can find a different spot for part 2. It's only 16' x 18' and it's cozied up to the screen porch. Surrounded by rhubarb, asparagus, and some native pollinator plants. Darling tilled and dug and is currently rigging a permanent fence using some pipe we got from the old cabin. The kids and I hauled some wheelbarrow loads of tree cookies from the woodshed and I laid them in the sand for a little path. (Um, thanks for the wheelbarrow, Pap-pap. It's been in near constant use.) We've probably got enough to do our garden paths (between beds) with them too. I got a couple tread-strong thyme and moss plants to tuck in the voids. On Memorial Day weekend, around 10pm before the deluge, I got the last of the seeds and seedlings in. Whew. Garden whirlwind. I'm exhausted but excited. Feels like good nesting that we needed to do.

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