Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New trees again, pond, Franklin

So since my last post I've received my order of six shrubs/trees, and I've bought a further three fruit trees (a kordia cherry, a williams pear, and an opal plum) going cheap.  And a couple other non-edible ornamentals going cheap.  I've been planting up a storm this month.  Even sowed some seeds while I was at it.

And I put in a very small pond in the corner next to the new almond tree.  It's the bottom third of a 50 gallon steel drum that Partner cut down for me.  I dug a big hole and placed the drum in it and surrounded it with large stones (and put a couple in, as well).  I hope it tempts a few frogs back.  I still feel guilty about all those poor frogs we displaced when we filled in the old pond two years ago.  I kept finding them hopping around the garden, looking confused.  Even last spring there were still a determined few, searching for their lost home.

Franklin had a week off school, and Partner and I took a few days off work too, so we had a visit to London to see the grandparents.  Franklin loves London and he got to play all day with his cousin Grace there, and then all day for several days with his grandad.  We didn't really go anywhere;  we just hung out and socialized at their house, ate their food, and enjoyed having someone else entertain the 3 year old. 

Actually, Franklin's 4th birthday is approaching very soon!  In some ways it seems like we've always had him, and in others, I can hardly believe he's not still a tiny baby.  My life changed so much when I had him;  those pre-Franklin days seem so distant and uninteresting.  What did I do for fun before Franklin?  Sat around and stared at the walls, I think.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Permaculture plans

So far this year I have planted three trees out back in the garden:  one almond tree and two alder seedlings.  Alders are nitrogen-fixing trees, and one of the seedlings went right next to the almond to act as a nurse tree and windbreak.   The almond tree has formed buds since I planted it last month, but as for the alders I'm not sure yet if they survived the transplant.

Lots of things sprouting and growing now--I can hardly believe it.  We have snowdrops, lots of daffodil and hyacinth buds (none open yet), daylily shoots which both Franklin and I like to munch, garlic (also tasty!), a few new tiny broccoli heads, a surprise lilac cutting with buds on it.  I cut back the overgrown lilac last fall and used some of the branches as temporary stakes;  it seems one is still alive.  Maybe I should check the others;  I love lilacs.

We did eat that cauliflower for Christmas, along with its greens, and a handful of Brussels sprouts. Then the week after Christmas, Partner persuaded me to buy another turkey from the butcher, on special.  It was even bigger than our Christmas one!  And at 2/3 the price, I didn't mind eating turkey for two weeks solid.  The Christmas plum pudding was also well-received;  I serve it with brandy butter (or hard sauce), which is really just flavored whipped butter, alcohol optional.  So good. 

Partner gave me two permaculture books for Christmas, and I've got lots of new things I to try.  Planting a nitrogen fixing tree next to a fruit tree was one of those things.  I also have six new shrubs/small trees on order--up until now, my garden food production has been mostly from annual vegetables;  I hope to plant more perennials, both food and non-food perennials. 

The food perennials I have now are:
  • Morello cherry 
  • Spartan and Loxton Fortune apples,
  • Herbs: rosemary, hyssop, oregano, sage, mint, lemon balm, chives, garlic
  • Almond
  • Blackcurrant
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Nettle
  • Daylily
  • Nasturtium (technically an annual, but self seeds prolifically)
  • And the less palatable, but still edible: mallow, rose, dandelion, (I think Partner might put nettle in this category but I like it), campanula, passionfruit
I once had blueberries and asparagus too, but the chickens destroyed the former and the latter died out on its own with no apparent cause;  I never got a good harvest from it (or the blueberries).  And on order, hopefully to arrive by next week, if not sooner:  wild pear, crabapple, black mulberry bush, pea tree; and two non-edible natives: laburnum and broom.  I'm excited to get them in and growing!