Sunday, 24 April 2016

2016 Garden Plans

I am finally getting excited to work in my yard this spring. Our snow is gone and it's starting to feel like it is time to get planning. My real, overarching goal this year is to focus on low-maintenance when possible. I have a few new areas to plan out and I don't want to spend my summer weeding anymore than necessary. This will mean a focus on mulching and mulching some more!

Because we don't eat many potatoes, and because my mom always has waaaay too many, I've decided to forgo planting spuds and save that garden space for other edibles. I also want to get my raised beds more productive with more compost and the use of plastic window panes I've acquired and row covers to extend the season. So I am hoping for more productivity without too much more input :)

This is technically our third summer here. I am really pleased with how the yard is shaping up. We have a beautiful view to begin with, so I just want to have a natural flow from what I have planted and built to the natural surroundings. There are three main areas where I grow annual and perennial flowers (focus is going to be on perennials) and two main edible garden areas. This summer I plan to start a bigger garden out by our lane way where the ground is more flat (this really depends on borrowing a tractor and my Husband being here to help). This does add a bit to my work load where weeding is concerned, but for this year my focus is on getting the spot worked up with a rototiller and planting root crops for... (drum roll!)....

2016 pigs

Our three pigs! The pigs certainly deserve a post of their own, and soon, but I'm struggling to find time to write with Husband home and all of the work that we have to do. The focus for the new garden area will be weed control, cover crops and root vegetables for ourselves and the pigs to eat.

In other gardening news, I'm just tickled to see some asparagus shooting up already. I also have chives a few inches tall and some strawberry plants have survived the neglectful conditions they are subjected to. Perennial food gardening is so rewarding in the spring. How delightful to already see some growth and anticipate food grown here--so much tastier than what we can buy in a store :)

Second year of asparagus. Planning to eat some this year!
With my focus on low maintenance/ natural looking landscaping, I plan to put some shrubs and flowering trees near the house (but not too near) to disguise how tall it looks perched on this south-facing slope.

My plan is a flowering plum or two and possibly a variegated dogwood
to the left of the deck stairs to "lower" the deck or at least help it blend
into the surroundings. We also need to finish the deck pillars and install, work, work!

Because it is such a nice micro-climate on that south side, we have built some cold frames and I plan to surround them with stepping stones and perennial herbs. For weed control I also want to have creeping thyme grow among the rocks to (hopefully) prevent unnecessary weeding. Here's hoping!

As you can see, the lawn is sparse as we just got that topsoil hauled in
last summer and I hadn't decided what I was doing in that space.

It will be so handy to come down from the kitchen to grab herbs
while I am cooking :)
I have one rock border to finish. I began work on it in 2013 once the house arrived, but it has me stumped. Perhaps I just can't visualize what I want to see there because we still need to parge the foam basement wall. We plan to get that job done soon so hopefully inspiration will strike once I'm not distracted by the ugly wall. Like the south end of the house, I want to grow things of varied height for visual interest and to draw the eye away from that blank basement wall.

Notice the damage our rescue dog has done to our lawn area. SIGH.
We are trying to teach him that the grass next to the house is not his toilet
area. He's doing better now that the snow is gone but the battle is ongoing!

I feel busy enough with animals and kids that I don't want to expand my yard work if possible. Besides the pigs and us expecting baby lambs any day now we are also getting chickens to butcher in the fall. So I feel like I have enough on my plate! There is a lot to learn, most of which can only be done on the job. It's important to me that our animals and birds are well cared for so that will be highest priority. Also, I want to do a better job with what I have--particularly in watering my trees and edging/mulching in the fall so that I don't end up with so much weeding etc first thing in the spring. On the other hand, I don't want to beat myself up because I know I always try to do my best and there's no point fretting about what didn't get done last year. It's a new year and I'm looking forward to recording our progress here!


  1. Oh wow! I am so excited to watch and read about what you end up doing :-) But enjoy time with hubby since he is home now and may not be around much in the summer.

    And pigs ?!?! 3 of them, plus chickens, lambs, at least one cat and one dog...oh yes and 2 little boys...did I get it all right because I can barely take care of myself and you have all that! I commend you!

    1. Thanks, Pru :) As long as the pigs never get out on me, it's not as bad as it sounds lol. Husband has been working hard getting all the little pens and stalls (and cold frames) built for me so I'm grateful for the help. We had made plans to go see friends last night and leave the kids with my parents but I ended up staying home as I had a 4 yr old with a fever. Not comfortable leaving them when they are sick! So we just need to make the effort to do something different soon.

      I guess I forgot to mention the two rabbits lol. They are staying in the chicken house and run until our birds arrive but I want to get them into little hutches that I can move around the yard--wonderful composters!