Garden 4.0: Notes for Future-Me

This year, the garden has been a bit, ahem, wild. Overgrown. Unkempt. Let’s just say it’s in need of a serious haircut at this point.

20140726. Our backyard! And Birdie running laps.

Thankfully, due in large part to the wet, cool(ish) summer we’ve been having (and not to my serious neglect), we’ve still managed to get some lovely produce. The tomatoes, green beans, beets, radishes, lettuce, kale, and husk cherries in particular have done awesomely.

20140812. Husk cherries.

Now is the time, though, to start making some notes to future-me for future-garden. I do this mentally every year, and then I completely forget or push out of my mind the previous year’s lessons learned. So, dang it all to heck, we’re documenting the crap out of them this year!

20140708. State of the garden address.

Plans for next year:

  • Husk cherries are the bomb. We need a field of husk cherries next year. Okay, maybe a bed of them will do, but seriously… a lot, please.
  • Half a bed of tomatoes = perfect. Although Chris will disagree, horizontal trellising has worked nicely this year (i.e. no broken twine halfway through the summer during the latest thunderstorm to try to restring, heavy with tomatoes).
  • Let’s do onions for real next year, and half a bed of garlic was perfect. Next year: half a bed of garlic, the other half onions? Yeah? Yeah.
  • ONLY GROW HALF A BED OF GREENS, TOTAL. PERIOD. None of this “eight kale plants will do” crap. Jeez, girl. Greens do awesomely in our backyard, and we really only need two kale and two chard plants for our own consumption. At this point, the chickens have eaten more kale than I have, which is embarrassing (although the chickens are stoked).
  • I really need an entire bed of pepper plants. I love peppers. We EAT peppers. We CAN peppers. I want ALL THE PEPPERS.
  • Green beans: everyone in this house loves them, including Willem. Next year, we’re building a trellis of green beans – a TRELLIS you can walk through and be surrounded by lovely green beans – maybe as part of our front yard landscaping, maybe somewhere in back. Who knows. But we need a lot of green beans. Also, the purple ones are the bomb, because you can actually see them hiding among all that green foliage.
  • A bed of lettuce early in the season was awesome. Maybe that bed can be flipped later for fall plantings of beets, radishes, and arugula, all of which are awesome and need to be planted everywhere again next year, all summer long.
  • THINGS WE NEED NEXT YEAR: Cucumbers were sadly missing from our garden this year, as were carrots. I think I want to do a huge carrot field in one of the beds. I learned that the best carrot planters are 4-year-olds: they just throw the seeds (in huge quantities) everywhere. So that’ll be the carrot-planting plan next year.
  • Last but not least, how about some sweet potato love? I need to expand our sweet potato growing next year. We’ve been doing a sweet potato bin the last few years, which works but kind of requires upkeep all summer, adding more soil. And I want a LOT of sweet potatoes. I’m open to suggestions for best ways to grow them!
  • Oh wait… LAST last one… We need some winter rye for cover cropping this fall/winter. We ran out and didn’t have any last fall, which I swear is part of the reason we suddenly have grass trying to take over the beds this year. It also provides a great winter fresh feed for the chickens.

Also, someday Chris is going to make an epic post about the tens of thousands of bees who have taken up residence in our backyard. He finally managed to get me into the suit last week to help him move the (now two) hives around a little bit. This was me flexing and feeling very high on life after surviving the process without a) getting stung and b) having a panic attack.

IMG_2775

Life Goals and Stuff

New life goal: live life so the smile lines way outweigh the frown lines. Way easier said than done at times.

New life goal: live so the laugh lines far outweigh the stress lines.

Things to smile about: how much Willem loves watching the wind blow through the trees.
20140708. Watching the wind in the trees.

Chris’ new obsession/love of all things bees and our dreams of alpaca/bee farms in the mountains outside Asheville. Hey, it could happen.
Fat Honey Comb in my Top-Bar Hive - Day 62

First tomatoes:
20140708. State of the garden address.

Mad, mad gardens:
20140708. State of the garden address.

USPS Just LOVES Us

Big day with a capital “B(ee)”! THE BEES HAVE ARRIVED!

Chris got a call at 5 am from the post office. I couldn’t hear the conversation, but I’m guessing it went something like this:

Chris: Hello?
Postal Worker: OMG, WE HAVE A PACKAGE FOR YOU.
Chris: Great! When can I come pick it up?
Postal Worker: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE COME GET IT NOW! WE ARE TERRIFIED!
Chris: Okay, great, I’ll be on my –
Postal Worker: SHUT UP ALREADY AND GET IN YOUR CAR, MAN!

20140505. The bees have arrived.

20140505. The bees have arrived.

*They actually had the bees sitting on a back loading dock because one of the employees is allergic to them. So he really did bust over there at 5 am – it was quite chilly out, and we didn’t want our bees to catch a cold.

In other news, the weekends always go way too fast. I love the weekends – it’s not that my days are all that different from one to the next, given that I’m largely caring for a little being every day, but on the weekends, Chris is home. And I love it when Chris is home.

A sneak peek into what my weekend entailed:
A sample of Sunday.

And here was my gardening buddy on Saturday. Willem was ridiculously happy in his little fort while I weeded the front beds.
Willem likes the outdoors.

Willem's first fort.

Where My Bees At?

This video still makes me super happy. And I need some happy!

In bee-related news, we got to visit the top bar hive over at the Butler campus farm a few weeks ago. I can’t wait until we have bees next spring filling our own top bar hive.

Top bar bee hive at Butler Campus Farm.

Top bar bee hive at Butler Campus Farm.

Speaking of, Chris has not posted about the process of building our top bar hive, but check it – it now lives in the backyard (if you can see it behind my burgeoning belly!). So far, it has attracted a couple of little spiders, but no bees. Guess we’ll have to either buy a nuc for next spring or catch a swarm.

20130822. 14 weeks, 5 days.