Tag Archives: compost

Blackberry Ramblings

Aside from rhubarb, I have not been a successful fruit/berry gardener yet. To be fair, those plants have fallen to Donny most of the time. At one time or another we have tried strawberries, blueberries, a kiwi that was supposed to be perennial even in zone 6 and gooseberries. The last two were my additions. All failed for one reason or another.

Strawberries were something Donny had grown in his father’s garden growing up, so that was his first suggestion. They grew but I forget why he ripped them out; maybe they didn’t produce well or were too much work.

About the same time, and this was a while ago, he put in a couple of blueberry plants but the birds got them before we did and an occasional harsh winter took their toll. I also seem to remember that our soil conditions weren’t well suited but knowing how to grow them was not my job.

The kiwi turned out to not be so perennial and the gooseberries, coincidently planted in a be that we’d mistakenly first planted with gooseneck loosestrife*, had thorns and no one liked the taste.

So, it is a little unusual that I debated converting a big  (9′ x 10′) bed in the front of the garden to blackberries. But, I didn’t need it for rotation purposes since expanding the back of the garden to include 3 9′ x 10′ foe corn and vining plants like pumpkin and melons. I debated too long to order plants – see a returning theme here?

Today I picked up two plants from a local nursery who recommended that 2-3 plants were all I needed for the space. I decided to be conservative with the space with only two. Maybe I am learning from past errors?

I hope so because now I have to learn how to make these plants productive enough to justify their vast space.

I did do a little research and got tow varieties even though they are self-pollinating; one website I visited suggested this and the nursery agreed. I have a Triple Crown and a Chester, both in  2-gallon pots so not bare root. In fact, there already some berries on them. I will be looking for pie recipes next!

 

*If you are a new gardener and someone offers to give you plants because they have “plenty”, accept them graciously as you are being useful, but compost them – you can always claim to have forgotten to water them. Just DON’T put them in your garden or you too will soon be looking for another newbie to pawn them off on.

 

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Making Raised Beds

My significant other doesn’t help with Big Garden much but he can be counted on to do the tilling and today, he got up and went to his father’s to borrow their tiller. By the time I got up after sleeping in (he forgot to bring me my coffee – to my bed – something I trained him to do years ago), the beds were all tilled but the dead weeds in the pathways still need much work.

Since I was functioning without caffeine, I didn’t immediately notice that one of my Better Boy tomatoes had disappeared and found itself planted in a white 5 gallon bucked inside the pool fence! Can I call it or what?! This is what being with someone for 25 years does…

Now it was up to me to pull all the loosened dirt into the squares, rectangles, triangles, and diamonds that make up the layout of the garden.

Tilling 053114

I am realizing from this picture that I need to pull compost gold out and add to the beds as the piles of dirt are dwindling. (Since I wasn’t there for the tilling, I didn’t get to direct how deep and wide to go, but compost is always a good addition!)

While I work on that, Donny says he will weed whip the dried up weeds into non-existence in the pathways.

Hopefully, we will get the tomatoes and peppers in tomorrow as well as cut back the rest of the chives – working on that theory that their smell will deter deer. I did spray the borders with Liquid Fence and found a shaker can of Deer Away to try too.

I got an email from Burpee that my seeds shipped Friday, so it will be evenings this week when I get the corn in.

Still and all, we are a little ahead of most years. If I get everything planted, next weekend is all about tearing apart that perennial border.

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Big Garden Plan 2014

This gallery contains 1 photos.

Despite some rain this week, this weekend looks promising for planting Big Garden. I know a lot of serious gardeners would have theirs in already, but it is just not possible here. We always have too much to do to … Continue reading

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A Garden Renewed: The Challenge

What needs to happen is this: 1- Dig up and divide the keepers: tiger lilies, irises, coreopsis (the tickweed kind, which is spreading, but the yellow flowers are worth it), liatris – if there are any left under the Campanula … Continue reading

Burn Notice

As mentioned many times this past season, Cincinnati and neighboring areas are suffering a drought – with little sign of abating soon. Falls are typically dry for this area but we haven’t seen more than a couple days of rain since July. While this has produced a nice Fall, weather-wise, yards look horrible, leaves were never quite as beautiful as some years, and the ground is too hard to plant perrennials or bulbs.  So, with those jobs not possible, we really did find the time to do clean up instead of adding another 100 or so daffodils to the Way Back.

With all the clean up, the compost bin and additional hidden piles are full and three large debris piles are resting in Big Garden. The fire pit is also full. While, in 17 years, we have never yet run out of firewood, we are now going into the stockpiling phase and that is not good. When we moved here, the former owner left us two huge piles out in the open – small cars could have rested below the clippings without notice. I can’t bear to see us headed back in that direction!

But, one thing is fairly clear, this Fall is probably not one to enjoy sitting around a fire ring roasting marshmallows and that is a shame! We miss the family time and we will miss the opportunity to invite friends to join us. Not to mention the new-to-us picnic table I stained a lovely shade of purple to use for fire-side entertaining… Guess I will be showing it off in the Spring.