Monday, 6 February 2017

Playing in the garden

In February 2016 we purchased the house that we had been renting since August 2014.  This gave me more options in the 0.3 acre garden, though I am holding back on big stuff until we have had some of the trees felled. Currently our back garden/yard is almost unimproved woodland and the front isn't much better. The soil is poor as the goodness from the leaves has been lost each year because in the fall all the leaves had been raked to the kerb (curb), to be vacuumed up by the township and taken away for composting.  The best light is for growing anything other than mature broadleaf trees is in the 10 feet nearest the road, of which 3 feet is concrete footpath (UK: pavement, US: sidewalk).

2014: Lots of trees! The piles of greenery
are from removing an evergreen
that blocked all light into the sitting room.
2016: My refuge from the mosquitoes

Spring/summer of 2015, while we were still renting, saw us try out straw bale gardening, with mixed success. I ended up being back in the UK for the whole of May, June and July so my husband and sons took on the learning curve and that is when we discovered just how little growing light reached most of the front garden.  The straw bales were also used for growing in 2016, but will be composted this year once they are no longer frozen solid.

Heirloom tomatoes in straw bales
Chillies & tomatoes ready for drying

In autumn 2015 I planted some spring bulbs (daffodils and crocus) in the verge which gave a good show last spring and I am hoping they will repeat and improve this year.

Last summer I added three 3' x 6' raised beds in which I planted herbs, vegetables and fruits and we also had an outdoor hydroponics system for tomatoes and basil (Genovese and Thai).

Fruit & veg raised beds after transplanting
Herb bed after transplanting
Hydroponics system a couple of weeks after transplanting

One basil harvest! There were several
Huge basil leaves

As a novelty I grew a loofah, and although it set fruit they didn't ripen before the cold weather arrived. I shall try again this year.

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