(Apologies for the soft focus on all the pictures, I think the autofocus on our camera is broken but I didn’t realize it until I was home.)
I’ve been spending time the past month finishing bed preparation on the country garden we have at a friend’s place. While there’s one and a half beds left to prep the design is good to go. It will have one bed that is 24″ x 70′, nine beds that are 48″ by 70′ and an additional area approximately 72″ x 70′ that I’ll use for perennial plantings like cane fruits and possibly blueberries.
Three of the beds are raised (paths dug out to overfill the bed area). I’m not sure how well they will work in this site with the soil, as the soil is sandy and free-draining in most spots. Raised beds are easier on the back, however, which is why I wanted to try them.
The site slopes gently with a southwest exposure with a very warm microclimate compared to the surrounding farm. It will be interesting to see how this site evolves as I gain experience and build soil.
We’re currently in the window where things are pretty much done for the year but the ground hasn’t frozen, so now’s the time to plan and make changes for the next season. Inevitably new ideas occur in the winter that trigger changes in the spring, but I find it is much easier to make major changes in late fall.
The raspberry patch on the slope next to the sidewalk has been surprisingly productive this fall. I’m excited to see how it grows in over the years. I plan to put a trellis in so that the canes don’t droop so much.
The big change in this area, however, is for the grassy area. We used to keep our picnic table there and use this spot for parties but everyone gravitates to the backyard to watch the animals now. So we’ve decided to make this into additional growing space, primarily trees. It gets filtered shade from a large honey locust (see below) to the southwest but I’ve successfully grown things that nominally require full sun so I think dwarf fruit trees will be a success here.
The other big change is that I’ve removed the perimeter fence from the main garden. Wild rabbits haven’t browsed much of anything outside the fence this year. The main damage has come from squirrels, which of course aren’t deterred by a fence at all. Instead of an ugly fence that limits access, I’m opening the area up. I’ll make little covers for the strawberries during the season to try and prevent squirrel predation but that’s it.
That covers most of the changes. Earlier this week I also planted 100 tulips and 5o daffodils. I have a small amount of garlic that needs to be planted too.
After posting this I need to make an updated map of the property and then begin planning my crop rotation for 2017.