Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gardening at Our New Home

Lets talk about gardening and where we are with it this year. We are a bit rusty seeing as how we did nothing last year (hard to do when you're in a tent in a RV park,) but now that we own a house the gloves are on and we are digging in so to speak.

The place came with a starter for us with two large apple trees in the backyard. Apples being one of our favorite things we are very happy about this (we love hard cider!). These are in full bloom right now, giving the yard a wonderful aroma. One tree is so heavily laden with blossoms that we will have to thin it out some, but we will use those blossoms to add a delicate flavor to our first mead since we moved to Idaho. Now these trees have not been taken care of in who knows how long and are in need of some heavy pruning, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it earlier. Besides trying to make the time, (very hard), it is rather intimidating to me. But I am thinking that after getting to know the trees I will feel better about doing it next spring. There are also some young apple trees along our fence line that don't look like they will be blooming this year. They seem to be wild as they are in a jumbled cluster that don't really point to being put there on purpose. Again, hopefully by next year we will be more familiar with these trees to where we can steward them properly.

Yesterday we planted a sour cherry tree. An Almaden Duke on Gisela 5 rootstock to be precise. This is said to have a sweet and tart flavor combination, is easy to grow, and has high yields. This was our first time planting bare roots and it was amazing to see the root system and to carefully lay them in their new home. Quite an honor actually to feel entrusted with it.

The south edge of our property borders a frontage road with Highway 200 on the other side of that, which means we have a lot of visibility and noise from just twenty yards away. Most people who know us know that we are pretty private and quite folks. So being here has been quite a challenge for us. To combat this we are doing a hedge between the frontage road and our soon to be fence. This area is about one hundred feet in length and about six feet wide with a ditch right against the road. Seeing as how our eventual goal is self-sufficiency we did not want just any old hedge plant. We want something that will have other uses as well. so we decided on a blend of mostly blueberries, some bilberries a.k.a. huckleberries, and possibly some Oregon grape bushes. We got four of the blueberries planted a few weeks ago, and another three yesterday. We have seven more to put in today. These are a blend of early, mid-season, and late producers with specific names of Reka, Bluette, Toro, and Jersey.

I plan on building raised garden beds this summer but to get us started and to give us practice growing in this clime we dug a 20'x4' bed. All that is left before planting in it is to work in manure that we are getting from our friends that also supply us with our raw milk. Here we will plant lettuces, carrots, and all their veggie friends. I will also be constructing a small raised garden bed this week (hopefully) for herbs and strawberries. We also have two raspberry bushes to plant today, once we figure out exactly where we want them.

Well that is all for now, but I hope to have an update in the next week or two as things progress.

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