Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gardening 2017

 Over the winter, we have been clearing out the back treeline on the property.  It was badly overgrown with scrub trees, and a lot of dead wood.

We now have a pretty good area under the big trees cleared out.  If the poison ivy can be killed off on the creek bank, we will plant vinca minor there, and under the trees,  a mix of monkeygrass, moss and hosta, as there is minimal sunlight under the remaining trees.  We are planning on putting a bench out under the trees, for a nice cooler shady spot on hot summer days.

Next has been our garden project.  The permanent plantings have been selected, purchased, and planted now.  We have 2 peach trees, two Santa Rosa plums, and two apricot trees all planted in the sunny but well watered (thank you aerobic septic!) back half of our acre.

 Don't cringe at the thought of using the spray water.  I look at as being frugal.  Especially as it saves on my water bill.

Also in the area of the tree plantings, we are going to put in a straw bale garden.  We already have a half dozen bales nearly ready to plant on, that were used to shelter the bottom of the chicken run from wind this winter.  Straw bale gardening looks simple, and doesn't involve me having 6+ yds of  "topsoil" in to build raised beds.  If you saw the sorry excuse for topsoil around here, you'd understand why the word is in quote marks!
We have also planted a row of 6 southern blueberry bushes.  These are more of a challenge to grow, due to their need for an acidic soil.  I amended the soil with 4cu.ft. of peat moss, compost and added granular sulphur to it.  Then I mulched around each plant with natural cypress mulch.

According to the plant information, these two varieties (Austin and Climax) should grow 6-8' wide and 8-10' tall.  This will make a nice screen on the west side of the pool deck eventually.  They've been in the ground about two weeks now,and they are already starting to bloom.  We might get some blueberries this year, but I am hoping for a good crop next year.    As for the fruit trees, I don't expect any real crops until 2-3 years down the road, or more.  Despite this, one peach tree is blooming like mad this week!  I suppose that means I need to go out and pluck the blooms off if any manage to get pollinated.  I don't need it wasting energy trying to set fruit.  I need it to grow a good root system this year!

I'll do another garden update after we get the straw bale garden up and growing.  Happy planting, my friends!


  1. A friend has gardened using straw bales for years...I just bought the book and am going to try it. It looks a treat and, hopefully, easier on me than a traditional garden. As I age, there's less and less energy to go 'round and hoe weeding doesn't give the same satisfaction it used to.
    Best of success on your garden and the bench idea is wonderful! Use it often and well.

  2. I used straw bales for gardening when I lived in Australia... and I was thrilled with the outcome! I've been thinking of doing it again, now that we're living in Northern Georgia, because this hard Georgia soil is turning out to be a headache! I'll be interested to see what you think.

  3. How exciting! I've read a bit on straw bale gardening but I think we're too humid for it to work properly and not just get moldy :-( I'm really excited about your blueberries too! Keep us posted! :D


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