It is amazing how much can be accomplished in a year. The last check in was our 2015 Harvest Summary, and a lot has been done since the winter ended. There has been some major spring planting that we want to highlight, to see just how far we’ve come.
As you can see on the right, last year at this time we were just getting the trees cut down and really had a blank slate. In the last few months we’ve started our own seedlings, doubled the size of our annual garden, raised and housed 10 chickens in our new coop, got 6 new huge blueberry bushes, and have been working steadily on perennial establishment. Here is how all of our projects have been going:
We got our seed starting operation up and running this year. We got the lights set up, trays, seeds, and soil and began starting our own seedlings. Some benefits of starting our own seeds are being able to get heritage varieties and unique varieties started on our own. We are also able to understand how the germination and growth of each plant takes.
Some advice I would recommend to the casual gardener or someone just starting out is to go ahead and buy the seedlings directly if you have a small backyard garden. You don’t want to bother planting seeds directly outside (like we did last year) because the weeds will germinate faster than your desired plants.
The first week of May we started transplanting our seedlings outside. It doesn’t look like much now, but once the plants get established they should get going crazy. For our first spring planting, we got the carrots, peas, and salad greens in late march. Unfortunately we didn’t amend the soil as much as we should have, so they did not come up very well.
The rest of the annual beds we brought in 4 (free) truckloads of compost and really got the soil worked up. We are much happier about the soil depth, texture, and organic matter in the rest of the beds. We have tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, peas, corn, and beets starting now. Here’s to hoping for a good harvest!
You can follow along our whole chicken adventure. We got the chicks in March, spent the whole month of April building the coop and run, and have spent the month of May sitting back and watching them grow. Hopefully by early fall we will start getting eggs! We have planted 2 Kiwi plants on each side of the run. These hardy kiwi plants are vine plants which we will train up the ladders and shade out the run in the summer. Hopefully by the end of summer we can get a little shade for our chickens.
One thing we are really excited about it supporting our perennial species and helping them grow. As you can see our 2 apple trees we planted last spring are looking really good. They flowered, and are showing tiny apples. Our main concern is not having great soil, so we got some organic fertilizer and some really good (read: expensive) mulch to place around our trees. We pulled back the mulch from last year to slightly expose the shallow roots without damaging them. We then sprinkled the fertilizer down and covered in 2-3″ of really high organic matter mulch.
Our big prize of the spring was the transplanting of the 6 big blueberry bushes which you can read all about here. We have a couple other medium sized plans for 2016, nothing major, but just want to keep the momentum going. We look forward to sharing them.