Spring Garden 2012 Update

Here are some photos of the garden. Some are a few weeks old and others are brand new

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Apple Tree Terrace

After months of deliberate procrastination I decided how I wanted to design the backyard. A mix of terraces and swales sounded fun but I wanted to maintain some symmetry…which is not really how nature works but…suburbs

Terraces are a nice design features as they tidy up the yard, and more importantly, slow down the flow of water off of my property. I’ve never built a rock terrace so this is “winging” it.

I plan on filling the apple terrace with: comfrey, hyssop, artichoke, allysum, fennel, dill, chives, nasturtium, lovage, borage, and bee balm. I tried to start many of those plants from seed but didn’t have much luck.

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Blueberry Patch

I’ve always enjoyed blueberries in pancakes and cereal so why not try to grow some myself.  When I used to visit my grandparents in Michigan during the summers of my youth, we used to pick blueberries with 5 gallon buckets. I miss those days.

I recently purchased 3 blueberry plants from Burnt Ridge Nursery: Sharpblue, Emerald, & Misty. These varieties are supposed to do well in the South…I hope it’s true.

Blueberries need lots of organic matter and acidic soil so I had to amend my clay soil and build a blueberry mound. I mixed 50% peat moss with 25% compost and 25% native top soil. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have mixed the native top soil in but it’s too late now.

 

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Swale Update

Just wanted to post some recent pictures of my swale and the progress it’s made thus far.

I am going to make a serious effort to start updating the blog at least once a week, hopefully more.

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First swale

Swales are ditches dug on contour with the removed dirt placed on the downside slope of the ditch to form a berm. Water will get caught in the ditch and slowly soak into the ground. All sorts of plants can be planted on/in the berm to help hold the soil together and to benefit from excess moisture.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include more swales into the landscape as I wasn’t sure how well they would work with my soil. So far it looks like a success. Time to start mapping out my other swales.

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Seed starting

I’ve never really grown much from seed but seeing as that I plan on growing quite a bit more plants this year I should probably learn how to do it.

First, I needed to create a PVC seed starting rack to hold all my seedlings and hold my lights. I copied the design from The Self Sufficient Gardener who I believe copied it from someone else. His link has all the PVC measurements and parts listed. *Note: you will need 5-10′ lengths of PVC, not the 4 mentioned in the article.

 

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Cover crops

Cover crops are just plants that you grow for mulch and/or for tilling them back into the soil to add organic material.  I bought a cheap 10 pound bag of soil builder mix from Grow Organic.

About a month or so of growth

I trimmed the cover crops with a weed trimmer which might not have been the best idea as it was very messy. Next time I think I’ll use some hedge trimmers.

Trimmed

Dug in

Nitrogen fixing plants have small nitrogen nodules on their roots that can provide nitrogen to surrounding plants and soil. Root Nodules Wiki

Root Nodules

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