Sunday, June 29, 2014

Garden update

I planted a very small garden this year. I'm trying out different configurations / locations before putting in a more permanent raised bed system next year.

The small landscape timber bed has nasturtium, basil, lettuce, cherry tomato, and lemon thyme. It gets great morning sun and good early afternoon sun before the house creates a shadow in early evening. We put in pond soil to start the bed. The nasturtiums are kind of puny, but that seems to be the case of all my nasturtiums this year, so I don't think it's location related. The lettuce never really came in. The basil is great. So much so that I transplanted some plants from another location to perk them up. The cherry tomato is doing wonderfully (lots of blossom clusters and fruit has set), as is the lemon thyme (which tastes great by the way). I also have two yellow wax bean plants in this bed and they are flowering and look very healthy.

Overview - fire pit is further away than it seems.
Sad nasturtiums, great lemon thyme, happy bean plant
Another bean, itty-bitty lettuce, and the transplanted basil
Original dark green basil, cherry tomato, and BBQ rosemary
At either end of that bed I have a few small planter boxes with herbs, some from seedling, some from seed. The basil in these beds isn't doing that well and I think it's a soil issue since they get the same sun as the landscape timber bed. Garlic chives and oregano are doing well (from seedlings) and the parsley, cilantro, and basil seeds have germinated and are slowly forming plants.

This basil just isn't doing as well

Pulled out the basil, transplanted cilantro, germinated seeds (basil, parsley, cilantro)
The flower beds in back are struggling. It's sandy soil and I did very little to amend it. Need to put some time and effort into actually forming beds rather than just sticking starts in the ground.
Just sad...
The 7 x 3 raised bed has pond soil in it and is doing well. Six Big Beef tomato plants (from seedlings) are full of blossoms and some fruit has formed. The herbs (basil, garlic chive, and oregano) are also growing well. It gets morning shade and great afternoon sun. I think the plants might prefer more sun though so will move the bed further west to get it out of the shadows. I definitely need to add compost to this bed in the fall to enrich it for next year.
Both beds doing well
Lots of blossoms and some fruit on the Big Beef

The squash bed is also pond soil. Cucumbers are looking good. Zucchini plants actually have flowers already. Acorn and butternut squash plants are healthy but no blooms yet. The yellow wax beans are kind of slow. Since they were planted at the same time as the ones in the landscape timber bed, there is obviously some issue with this bed. Not sure if it's soil properties (shouldn't be - they have the same soil) or the fact that this bed gets little morning sun. Again, moving it further west will help.
My first zucchini blossom!

Many more forming

Beans are blossoming, but don't look that good
The pea bed gets little or no morning sun and great afternoon/evening sun. The bed is cooler than the others and they seem to like it. I planted the pea seeds very late so not sure if I'll get a crop before the summer heat makes them bolt. I'll try again for a fall crop.
I may end up just eating the shoots
At this point I'm thinking of putting three landscape timber beds parallel to the house's east wall in approximately the same location as the current LTB (maybe just a bit further to the south though to catch more afternoon sun). A squash bed to the south of those beds would get early and late sun and have plenty of room to run.  Field stones for the patio. A sand area for the fire pit. Flower beds around the perimeter of the stone patio to provide a visual break before the woods.

I imagine I'll change my mind multiple times before next summer, but this is the plan for now.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

And now it's June!

Time really flies past you when you're working on a variety of projects. The upstairs closet is still coming along. We're almost ready to start staining and painting the sections that are done so far. I'll do that while Chris works on the remaining segments.

We've actually got both sections done now.
Most of the firewood is stacked and we're waiting on the log splitter to finish up for the year. What a relief to have that taken care of so it can finish drying over the summer.

The lumber logs are stacked (somewhat) neatly and we're now waiting on the portable sawmill to arrive so we can get them cut. All beautiful hardwoods that are destined for interior trim, a dining room table, and kitchen cabinetry.

We graded the east yard and I've set up some garden space. Nothing too crazy as I'm participating in a CSA this year. Basic stuff like tomatoes, cukes, squash, and lots of herbs. The layout isn't quite right yet but I've figured out the correct bed placement for permanent installation next year. That also means we can start laying the stone next year.

Pea trellis, tomato raised bed, squash bed
Speaking of the CSA, our first share had arugula and green garlic in it, which combined with basil, rosemary, and oregano from my herb garden to make this white pizza. Fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and wonderful olive oil finished it nicely.

Really good pizza
The pine lumber needed for finishing the siding has been stickered and stacked. I've been painting battens when time and weather allows and we're slowly getting them installed on the bottom level of the house. The upper level will have to wait until the lumber fully dries, probably early August.

And I picked a stain color for the interior window trim. Took way longer than it should have and I finally decided to just go with a light neutral color (basically, a light maple shade).

Dad is doing an addition which means he had yard that was going to be dug up. This also meant he had sod! So we took over the tractor, dug up a bunch of the yard, and planted it in front of our porch.

The fruit trees in their temporary home
By the time we were done, it reached out past the fruit trees.
Cooper thinks grass is awesome
Speaking of Cooper, she and the cat are officially getting along well. We even all go on walks in the woods together.

Lots getting done and still lots to do. Thankfully it's only June!