We started the spring season out with our usual flurry of planning and making a few purchases to round out our once barren landscape. When we moved into our house, more than half the yard was overtaken with bamboo. For the survival of our house (and what was left of the native species) we had no choice but to remove it and very little other large vegetation survived. After planting almost 40 (itty bitty) trees on less than an acre, we were left with very few shade trees and almost no soil to speak of. In the past four (almost five) years, we’ve planted and tilled, mulched and brought in topsoil to help alleviate the situation. However, with some big expenses this past year…we’ve decided to dig in our heels and repurpose, reuse and rethink our garden plans with an eye to spending as little as possible (hopefully nothing other than a few cans of paint, tools, or other necessities that will be multi-purpose) for the remainder of the year.
Fortunately, we managed to make a few tree purchases at the beginning of April which meant…DISCOUNTS!
Fun fact, most garden stores and nurseries will give some amazing discounts early (or late) in the season. They want to offload last year’s stock (or avoid wintering stock on their grounds) so they can make room for the incoming products.
We were looking for a few things in particular, partly for their aesthetic, partly for their appeal to bees and partly for the value to home remedies (multi-purpose was the key). Once we’d purchased our hawthorn, witch hazel, apple, cherry and a few birches to screen our front yard…we realized we have a tree addiction. Oi. So, 44 trees later…
April showers bring…floods…
This past weekend, we got to work. The temptation was big but we buckled down and evaluated what we had to start with. We’ve had a runoff problem since the bamboo removal, and since reading Mary Reynolds’ amazing book, we finally had a plan to help correct it. We plan to cut in some swales (shallow trenches with a slight berm to help collect water so it seeps into the soil). Before we can do that, we needed to establish a path from the main section of our garden to the “farm”, which is the area we keep our chickens and will be home to the bees when they arrive.
The area leading up to it is one of the worst areas for runoff and drainage. With some leftover flagstones, we managed to sketch out a curved path that will eventually delineate some edible garden beds (we have future plans to move most of our vegetable garden in there). The stones are quite thick so they will leave us room to build up the soil with mulch and woodchips over the next few years so we’re ready for the veggies when the time comes. The best part is, the curve of the path will also create the outline of one or more of our swales. Multi-purpose for the win!
Refusing to spend means tackling abandoned projects.
To round out the weekend, we also managed to (finally) clean up our driveway which was bogged down with the remains of last year’s fall projects and some inside renovations. We sold off a few things and moved the rest so we can use our driveway for its intended purpose once again. This is a big win and something that has been bugging us for a while now.
Our ancient but still upright garage is in need of some TLC now that we have a bit of space again, so we are hoping to get that organized. We are so done buying random materials only to find we had the needed implement stored in the back corner of the garage somewhere.
The greenhouse is chock full and we are so close to moving things outside! Our last frost should be within a week or so and then it’s game time. We are hoping to stagger our seeds a bit better this year (succession planting) to help us preserve and use more of what comes out of the garden.
The list doesn’t seem to end, but we’re having fun tackling each project as it comes. With the kids a bit older, they have more staying power when we enlist their help and they love to see the changes happening as the plants grow. They’ll be picking snap peas in no time!