25 Jan 2018

ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
Looking over my land and trying to figure how to get more yield out of it. I need shorter mulberry trees. I need a chipper shredder to mulch the wood. Mulberry is not very good fire wood. It stays green a long time too. I think more bushes need to be moved to the eastern fence line to create a hedge. The honey berries just aren't doing well along the back. Jen wants to do a tree esplanade there though. May need to move them down lower next to the house. I've blackberries that need to be staked. Long bamboo poles would help. Also looking at trellises. If I have enough trellises along the back, then I have a temporary fence, no permit needed. I could move it to different locations as I choose. I'm thinking about 6' high and two feet wide plumbing pipe with a grid wire zip-tied to it. It would mount on rebar pounded into the ground. I tried a fence post digger but all I hit are roots. Rebar is so much easier to pound in. The trellis could be in front of the top tier terrace. We call it the Kuiper belt. I could populate the Kuiper belt with gooseberries. The deer leave those alone because of thorns. Between the gooseberries and the trellis, I could plant pumpkins or squash and have them climb the trellis. Onions might work along the north side of the gooseberries. The area gets afternoon sun from the west. Onions don't need as much sun. Or maybe kale? I don't think the deer like those. That would maximize the top.

Other "wishes" are to populate the back alley behind the garage with persimmon, hazelnut, or pawpaws. I have a pawpaw planted in a large pot outside. Waiting to see if it grows. I've more pods in the freezer. I threw locust seeds in the honeysuckle patch in hopes that they grow without the neighbor noticing. Since there are existing walnut trees, I'm sticking with plants that grow well in a walnut guild. I already have a Goumi to mitigate the impact of the walnut on my garden. A second one wouldn't hurt.

2018 Land Layout

The next section requires me to do some work to hook up the water tank. Step one is to find a specialty screw driver to get the metal grid open. Step two is to cover the unit in black plastic sheet to prevent algae. That involves popping open the cage and wrapping the tank in plastic like a present. I looked at paints. Apparently they tend not to stick. I don't need the paint chips in my dirt. Anyway, then putting it all back together. From there, it's just a matter of hose connections and tubing from the gutter. I have the option of adding pipe with a float so that bird poop coming off the roof rinses out before the water goes into the tank. The bricks in my raised bed need to be chipped apart and moved out of there so I can continue the tier below the kuiper belt. It doesn't have a name yet. The Asian Pear is in that section. It's being protected by tansy and mint. There's a lot of growing space around it.

Below the tank is the garage garden. It's the sunniest spot in the yard. Currently it has straw bales around a winter garden. I've leeks and scallions in there, parsley and a bunch of transplants if they survived the cold. I saw some tiny plants. They won't grow until there are more daylight hours, mid-February. The straw will be added to the garden in spring or I may move the bales into the driveway and grow food right in the bales. Last year tomatoes and potatoes were grown here so I need to rotate crops this year. I have to think about that. Maybe beans and carrots? Cabbagey things? Parsnips?

The pathways are all woodchips. The addition of wine cap mushrooms would be lovely. We are hoping the morels come back again this year. Fingers crossed.

Middle earth is the boundary line between pure sun and the shadey section. It currently has red raspberries and skirret in it. The skirret needs to be moved or harvested. There are better locations for it. The raspberries need a containment/support system. That's another project. It also may involve plumbing pipe.

Then we were blessed with an impromtu raised bed garden. The bookcase collapsed but is sturdy enough for a season before it rots. It's being filled with woodchips and coffee grounds. Hopefully they will have aged enough before it needs to be planted. Maybe potatoes?

The lower area on top of the rock wall will probably get tomatoes this year.

2018 Land Layout

The front yard has two sections. On the East is the mandala garden around a Japanese maple. It has a lot of perennials. The cucumbers will go on a trellis behind the rhubarb. No more potatoes in the rhubarb section! They spilled out onto the pathways and were not manageable. Hoping to add another black current, blueberry, and ligonberries to the mix. The section with a cover is my current project. I need to add cross bars on Friday to support snow load. Next month, Sorrel, miner's lettuce, and mache are going in there. I have to have money to buy proper greenhouse plastic. Hoping to add more low tunnels to the garden. Lots of winter veg can be grown -See Eliot Coleman's Winter Garden or The Four Season Garden. The whole concept is French style intensive market gardening. I have only scratched the surface of what is possible in my yard. 2018 marks the third year of my food forest. It takes five years to really pop.

I let the strawberries take over the area around the yew bushes. The bushes that were here are great for landscaping and bird habitat but not sure if something better could be put in there. I thought about water tanks behind a screen. I also thought about a greenhouse. The maple has far more value keeping my house cool in summer so a greenhouse is out. But the tanks have potential.
ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
They call it a paper alley because the city owns it and no way will they ever pave it. The hills are too steep. The neighbors up the hill would like everyone to think it belongs to them. The neighbors on the lower side of it think it all belongs to them. This has been going on since 1929. I say we split the 14' of width and call it even. Since I am one of the few who actually know where the property pins are, I will start to slowly infringe into the alley, planting as I go. It only gets afternoon sunlight. A hazelnut tree would do nicely. I think on the far side of the steps near the log. The bush is a Rose of Sharon and is not on my property. Have to watch it though. The guy with the play set, his name is Matt, he has a happy finger on the Roundup bottle. He killed all my tulips, his wife's tulips and his own landscaped trees. It was an accident. He's since learned just how potent that stuff is. He maintains the far side of my garage. Maybe there should be a deliberate little fence around the tree, to make it look intentional. I talked to him. He doesn't mind if I plant back there.

Looking at all the projects to complete

Below is pictured the lilac grove, now covered in honeysuckle. I put some locust seeds inside the mowing perimeter. Up the hill, his name is Steve. He no longer mows himself. He is trying to teach the neighbor kid to mow. No one maintains this area anymore. In general, I respect Steve. He is a self-employed artist, owning a photography studio. He has never really liked anyone from outside the area. Can you say provincial? Steve has been putting in square foot garden raised beds on the very narrow flat part of his yard, close to his house. They look very nice. He takes issue with any planting I do near my property line. He calls our house the Transient House. We've only lived here 25 years. There have been four owners before us. Steve's wife is second generation in the same house.

Looking at all the projects to complete

It is a right pain to get a mower up the hill to mow this section. Getting it up the steps is difficult. I'd love to have an arch/gateway around the stone steps with a grapevine. That would be cool. I tried sinking a post into the ground. Need an underground machete to get through the roots. Still, having a professional do it would be heavenly. A girl can dream.

So, this is the water tank I acquired. It's food grade and had glycerine in it last. I just got back from Home Depot with a couple of drill bits that might work on the six starred bolt heads. Since I don't know the size and can't bring it with me, I bought a couple different size bits and will return the ones I don't need. You can see my garage drainpipe. It used to be hooked up to the house cystern. The cystern's been filled in but the port still is connected. My dad thought it was a French drain and we had a mess on our hands. The cystern still has an outlet pipe in my basement. It leaks. That's another house repair project. I want it capped. Then the electrical lights that were hit with water spray need to be replaced, mold cleaned up, etc. Bit of a mess. Hard to clean without light. One project at a time.

Looking at all the projects to complete

Saturday we head to Ohio. Uncle Mudd is installing a Rocket Heater in a greenhouse and we volunteered to learn and help. It's a three hour drive but I really want to understand how this is done. The books are just confusing. 2018 is planned out and off to a good start.

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