Sunday, April 10, 2011

Starting 2011's Gardening

This year, after the experimentation of the last two years, we're taking the gardening rather more seriously - or intending to, at least. Rather than have individual beds here and there, we're going to clear out the whole back 7m or so of the garden, except where there are already fruit trees and bushes, dig it all up, and plant vegetables. It's going to be a lot of work, but we're already getting started.

Yesterday, I spent a chunk of time clearing out old netting, pulling up the edging on an old raised bed, and moving out the pile of stones we've unearthed from under a tree-stump we're extracting. I also started some digging - mostly clearing back the sod where there was still lawn grass. Here's how the garden looked this morning:

Let me talk you through what can be seen here. Foreground, on the left, some old netting and small fences from around the strawberry bed. Just behind that, some rescued strawberry plants. Behind that, the plum tree - flowering this year for the first time. In on the extreme left, and probably only visible to me because I know they're there, two blueberry bushes. At the very back left, a pile of branches from the ash tree that we cut down last year.

Slightly right of the middle of the picture, you can see the stump from the ash. There's a line across the garden here where an old boundary wall was, and the ash apparently grew in/on this. Unfortunately, the basis of it was a dry-stone wall, so there are dozens and dozens of rocks snarled up in the roots of the stump. We've extracted about a cubic metre of stones so far from immediately around it. Just behind it, to the left, is the pile of soil from around the roots.

Along the back are two small apple trees and a somewhat larger pear, all getting going with the leafing and flowering. We had some apples last year, and I'm hoping for more this year. We might or might not get pears. They grey corner at the back right is the compost heap, and then there's the shed on the right-hand-side. This is the older of the two sheds we have, and it's starting to fall apart. I've done some repairs on the roof felting, after it pretty much blew off in a winter storm, and some other repairs here and there. It'll hold together for another few years, but that's going to be about it.

There's also a herb bed, much closer to the house, which currently looks like this:

That's some thyme overflowing on the right foreground, and some mint just resurfacing to the left. In the middle are two kinds of sage, some more mint behind those, and two outcrops of parsley at the back. I am rather mystified at the parsley still being there; it was under a foot of snow in December, and suffered temperatures down to -15C at one point. Presumably the snow helped hold off the frost. There was also some rosemary in this bed, but it was looking rather sorry last autumn, and just plain didn't make it through the winter. I need to do some weeding in this, and then look at filling in the gaps with other herbs before the mint and sage expand to fill the space, as they'll undoubtedly try.

We're now inside to get some lunch, and get out of the hottest part of the day, and the work thus far looks like this:

As you can see, we've dug up or at least uncovered a lot of the left-hand areas. There's about one square metre in there that's been dug to about 30cm down, had the top sod placed upside-down at the bottom, and then filled in again with good, loose, stone-free soil. That's one out of... about 40 square metres in total that'll be dug up, but not a bad start at all.


Sandra Stringer said...

As for all of those stones that you're digging up, don't chuck them! They're good in place of mulch around bushes and they make good pathways (look at my pictures of my yard on my facebook page and you'll see where I'm doing both). Lordy, you have a ton of work to do! But I'm very impressed with the work that you've already done. Can't wait to see future pictures!

poettia said...

Oh well done ! Its hard work getting from the picture in your head to the actual garden...still in the nearly there phase can still spilt your thyme and mint if not they`ll just keep spreading...especially the mint...keep up the great work :o)