Thursday, May 8, 2014

Goodfellow Gardens--a new start

I'm getting a completely fresh start as a gardener in our new yard. While the yard itself is huge, it was filled with kneee high burclover (yes, dog burs instead of grass), and bamboo. There are also lots of lovely trees, a huge area covered in vinca major as a groundcover. We have great plans for this plot. The plans for this yard are to be veggie gardens in raised beds. The beds will each be 4x12 feet in area and 10 inches deep. They will be aligned east west along the far north edge of our yard (in front of a south facing fence). We will buy soil from the local dirt store as well as amend with chicken manure and rabbit pellets (Heidi got a pet bunny and it makes a ton of pellets) to get them started and then add extra compost as it is available. The edges of the yard will be filled in with lush greenery and edible perennials as time and money allow. The front yard will be an entirely different project and we may enlist the help of a garden designer to get an overall cohesive look for the public side of the house. I love to do the work, but I lack the vision and artistic eye that it takes to put together a nice looking garden. The backyard will be my wild and green eden of veggies and vines and chickens. The bamboo has been a hot topic since we first saw the house. Curtis and I love it. It is an amazing barrier along one side of the property. The grove is about 15 feet thick and stretches the entire 100 feet of the east edge of our backyard. It makes a lovely whoosing sound in the wind, the filtered light coming down through the bamboo canes is amazing, and it forms a nearly impenetrable forest and wild space for the kids to roam and explore (they already have paths through the forest). We love it, but the reactions of others have ranged from horror to disgust ( I have been told that it will take over the yard, stab through the feet of my children, and come up miles away from its original location and that it cannot be killed with any chemical known to man). I think this bad-boy reputation makes me love it even more. We both see it as a beautiful backdrop and as for taking over the yard, we can see that in 1 year of neglect (how long this house has been vacant) the bamboo sent up about 2 dozen new canes 10 feet into the lawn area. Andrew (age 7) cut these out with hedge loppers in under an hour (and then begged me not to throw away the canes because he wanted them for building material). Since time is short before the Texas heat hits, I have been in a rush to get something, anything, in the ground. The moving trucks rolled on May 2nd and by May 7th we had our first herb beds and 11 fruit trees in the ground. I have been digging and hauling some of my easily divisible herbs over to the new house. Peppermint, speramint, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, comfry and horseradish, all divided periennials from my old garden. My van load from the old house looked and smelled wonderful, well all except the plastic totes and buckets full of compost and chicken run dirt (gold for the gardens, really). I turned and amended the soil (2 bags landscape mix, 2 bags moo-nure, 2 bags mushroom compost) in two areas one in the backyard along the west fence (east facing bed) near the gate and one outside the fence near the entry to the garage (west facing along a brick wall, where some landscaping shrubs have died out). I also put in about half of my started herb seedlings in these two areas: tetra dill, sweet basil, large leaf basil, cilantro, sage. These little peat pot seedlings (about 1 inch tall) will hopefully do well. On a fluke, at the end of my grocery trip, I noticed that my grocery store had clearanced off the fruit trees they had. At just three dollars per tree (and with Curtis egging me on) it was hard to be restrained. I bought 14 trees: 2 White Babcock Peaches, 3 Desert Gold Peach, 4 Nectarines, 4 plums, 1 apricot. We got all but 3 trees planted last night (May 7th) and today, May 8th we have had a lovely day of soaking rains. Perfect timing, unless it is all washed away in this downpour! The lumber for the raised beds is in the yard, ready for assembly and Saturday I will spend the day buying truckloads of good soil for the veggie beds. Waiting in pots are seedlings of squash, okra, eggplant and herbs to be planted just as soon as the soil is in place.

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