Greening

Oh the weeks are flipping by, as they always do. But this time of year a few weeks can represent pretty substantial change in the garden. Things are getting thick!
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The clover in the walkways is really going berserk now. I gave it a trim today, and it’s great because I just toss all the clipping into the garden. I admit I hadn’t intended the clover in the walkway to provide me with green manure, but it’s looking like I’ll have a pretty substantial and steady supply of it.

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It’s starting to resemble the image I had in mind when I planted it though, with the clover filling the walkway spaces with green and taking the focus off of all that driftwood.

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Vegetable-wise, we’re getting loads of lettuce, and more reasonable amounts of peas and radishes. Some other things are nearly ready to go, but it’ll be another few weeks before we’re enjoying tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant.

My willy-nilly broadcasting of various seeds has turned out so-so. As mentioned, I have more lettuce than I know what to do with. The other thing that came in really thick is bok chou, which has been almost completely devoured by caterpillars. I need to find out what eats caterpillars, and then figure out how to attract it en masse to my yard. The forest garden eco-system hasn’t kicked in yet, but hopefully as thing mature more predators will find their way here. On the plus side, the bok choy is keeping the bugs away from the lettuce…or maybe they just don’t like lettuce.

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Zucchini will be ready soon.

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Chard is on the menu this week.

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Things are going well in the keyhole garden, but it needs some thinning.

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The ‘forest’ sector of the forest garden…not very forest yet. All in good time. Over the past few weeks I gathered a lot of leaves and pine needles from the woods nearby and spread them throughout the yard. I also bought a bunch of small stepping stones and placed them throughout the garden so I can get into the middle areas without stepping on/compacting the soil. All of the trees and shrubs seem to be doing well.

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The pond is dry most days recently since we haven’t been getting much rain. I hit it will a bit of water each day to keep the cattails alive. As I was standing at the sink washing bushels of lettuce tonight, scoffing at how much water I was wasting, I though again about getting a grey water system installed so that water like that could at least run down to the pond and make that a more stable eco-system. I’m not sure what that entails either financially or in terms of construction, but it’s something to consider more seriously.

And more future projects/aspirations…my neighbor beat me to the punch and has had a chicken coup built. I think I’ve enlisted her to convey lots of pro-chicken propaganda in my wife’s direction once she gets her operation going. I’m choosing my battles now after allotting significant resources into the garden over the last few months, and my wife, for no good reason, is vehemently anti-chicken. I have a laundry list of arguments at the ready, but we are not ready for that yet.

OK, children to put to bed here. More gardening to come…

Garden 2015

The annual Golden Week holiday has just passed, which is usually when I plant my vegetable garden each year. I was full of anticipation as it was the final cog in my fledgling forest garden. So I was full of joy as I stuffed the ground full of all kinds of seedlings on Tuesday. I save the details of exactly what I planted for future blog posts, but it’s all pretty standard vegetable garden fare.

Here’s the main keyhole garden that contains the bulk of the vegetables. It’s hard to see, but all the seeds I cast about a few weeks ago (lettuce, radish, etc.) are staring to come in pretty well. The trellis/pole structure along the back of the bed will support tomatoes and cucumbers, which will provide a great green screen to add some privacy on the front porch. Unfortunately those plants were in a pretty poor state when I got home from work this evening. Maybe I underestimated the strength and heat today and didn’t water enough, but I’ve been pretty obsessive about that, so I’m not sure what’s going on.

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And the smaller bed in the side yard, which get’s a little less intense sun, so I planted things that didn’t appreciate full sun last summer. In general I’ve spread things out rather than plant the same type of plants all together. This hopefully will make life more difficult for pests that like to climb from one plant to the next gobbling up all my hard work. Although the yard is pretty infested with caterpillars of various types right now, so nothing is really safe. Eventually all these forest garden components like pest confusers and beneficial insect attractors should balance that out, but for now it’s free range on my poor plants for the pesky bugs.

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The most vigorous plants in the garden right now are red clover and rape blossom, whose seeds I broadcast in the fall as green manure. When I churned up the soil in late winter and started moving things around to create the new beds everything got moved around, so now I have clover and rape all over the place. It looks a bit unkempt, but the flowers are bringing in bees and also providing some greenery, and when it eventually dies or I cut it down it will provide nitrogen to the soil, so I’m letting it go wild for the time being.

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Such glorious days around here recently. From this angle my plot looks pretty big, and it is by suburban Japanese standards. The young red clover (planted in late winter) is really coming in thick around the blueberry bushes. I read somewhere that it was a good ground cover for blueberries. Now that I see how large it’s grown in other parts of the yard I’m wondering if it was the right choice…my blubbery plants aren’t that big!

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Getting greener by the day…

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