Well, this is what the front of the house looks like now! It’s almost a jungle! This arbor I built a year and a half ago is holding up our Issai Kiwi vines, they have finally reached the top this year. In back of the arbor are two American Elderberry bushes that are growing at an astonishing rate. As usual the gardens flank the house and the arbor.
Hey everyone! Sorry it’s taken so long for this update, we’ve just been incredibly busy. Things are happening in our personal lives that I’ll update you on later (depending on what happens!).
So I thought I would take you all through a tour of the homestead and show you how it’s changed. So here we go!
These are the two gardens flanking the arbor and you can see the ones flanking the house in the background. Last fall we ran out of hay to keep weeds down, so this year they are incredibly bad. We’re going to attempt to purchase enough woodchips to cover all of it, but at the moment that isn’t seeming very possible. However, no amount of weeds is stopping our plants from doing an excellent job growing. We’ve got lots of squash, tomatoes, peppers, leeks, chives, and close to 10 varieties of herbs in the front of the house along with goji berry, comfrey, lilacs, and butterfly bushes. It’s very busy up front, but I love it!
One of our newest additions this year is the pumpkin patch. These are all jack o’ lanterns with peas planted between the rows. We were hoping to get some peas, but the pumpkins are growing so fast, I’m not sure if we will. Either way, they will put nitrogen back in the soil and that, really, was the main goal.
These two sad looking gardens are the East Garden and the potato patch. Both have major weed issues that I can’t keep under control and both have an obvious lack of nutrients this year. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s wrong with them and it finally dawned on me that it’s not a water shortage, it’s a nutritional one. Chances are we’ll get quite a few potatoes and some veg, but it isn’t going to be as good as it could be.
So last year, in october, I got a hold of some duck eggs. I put them in the incubator and hatched about 6. Three of them made it to adulthood and they now move around the yard in the chicken tractor (not pictured). Well I liked them so much that this spring I went out and rescued 7 ducklings (abandoned easter gifts) and built them a small yard in our food forest (pictured left). So far they have doubled the growth on my peach tree so we expanded their area two days ago so they can fertilize our other trees. Our plan is to fence in the entire food forest and keep ducks there.
The food forest was allowed to completely grow over this year and thank the heavens we did. We had a month long drought here and almost everything died that we planted except our food forest. The tall grass managed to keep evaporation down and catch enough dew to keep it all green and alive. Right now the grass has pretty much finished it’s life, so it’s turning brown again, but the danger of drought has passed.
As you can see the chickens are doing just fine (pictured right). Their penned in area is surrounded by tires that I’ve been filling with leftover compost and clippings. I’ve been planting in them and it just looks nice with all the plants around them. It also keeps them hidden, so they are less likely to be eaten.
This year we created a few raised beds and got some soil in them. They are just growing some green beans and jack-be-little pumpkins this year (pictured left). The north garden (pictured right) is a friggin disaster this year. I have no idea what I did wrong, but holy smokes. Nothing is really growing, more than half the seeds didn’t come up (mostly garbanzo beans) and the weeds are out of control because I don’t have the motivation to keep up a garden that is growing almost nothing. Like I said before, we received less than one brief rain shower over the course of June and temps in the high 80’s to 90’s. Our landscape was just baked no matter how much I watered it and because of that, I lost lots of transplants and a lot of seeds just never sprouted. Not an amazing year for the garden.
This was a new venture this year, some herb circles. The largest is 10ft across with a keyhole in the center. Everything in the bed is perennial except the tarragon and rosemary (it’s just too cold here). The other two circles are 3ft. The left is full of Good Kind Henry and Balloon Flower. The right is only Artemisia absinthium, or the Wormwood that you use to make Absinthe. I’ve got lots of herbs in the center circle like echinacea, thyme, ashwaghanda, bee balm, basil, fennel, lemon verbena, mugwort, joe pye weed, and chamomile. The goal is to create perennial beds for herbs so that I can have the basics for tea, healing, and cooking just hanging around when I need them. We created the small beds with paving stones we got for free locally and the large bed was made from paving stones we pulled up in our front yard while planting (they were under 2 inches of soil).
Well, that’s what the place looks like this year. Unfortunately we’ve had to just embrace the weeds and live with it. Between Justin’s job and my many projects, we just don’t have time to be weeding constantly. But this fall we’re going to really try to get a truckload of woodchips up in here and see if we can make next year even better!
Have a good week and keep gardening!