Spring Garden 2016

Spring Garden 2016

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything in my garden journal, and that’s because I’ve been very preoccupied  with a lot of other activities and changes that have occurred in my life these last  9 months.  My son moved out, my old childhood friend, Brenda, moved in, I’ve remodeled the back bedroom for her, finished all my other indoor home improvement projects, started caregiving and taking classes,  and I’ve also been spending more time on my social and spiritual life.  It’s been quite a productive time full of  life lessons, and although I’ve neglected to journal, I haven’t been neglecting my garden.  What needed to get done over the winter got done, and by some miracle I am actually on time with the springtime garden prep and planting.  Brenda’s been helping me quite a bit, and I have to say that it is quite nice having someone else in my life again who enjoys gardening and is such a help.

I had originally planned to let my growing areas go fallow again for a second year, but then I changed my mind when Brenda became my roommate. She wants to learn how to garden and grow vegetables, and I told her I would go ahead and grow a garden this year if she promised to help, especially with the weeding and watering this summer.   So thanks to Brenda and her help, I’ve been cleaning up, prepping, planning and getting the garden going again for 2016.

I have to say that this is the best year ever in terms of abundant growth and healthy looking fruits, trees and roses, except for the dying Arborvitae from the damn spider mites.  I have lost four more of these precious barriers, so now I am spraying with water to try to drench the spider mites instead.  My advice to anyone thinking that a spray company can help save your Arborvitae – don’t bother!  Just spray the heck out of them with water and keep doing it all summer.  Especially since we’re having such dry weather which is what spider mites love.

As for the soil this year, I can tell that the soil benefited greatly by resting for a year.  I’ve got lots of worms in the soil, and although I didn’t take any soil samples as I had planned on doing previously, I just went ahead and added some general nutrients, minerals and organic fertilizers to the growing areas along with cow manure and even some nitrogen rich planting mix from Lane Forest mixed into the individual plants.  I am not tilling this year in order to not mess with the microbial and fungal organisms in the soil.   We’ll see if that helps with the healthy growth of my vegetables this year and hopefully my veggies will be more nutrient dense.   I’ve used quite a bit of Down to Earth’s Bio-Live fertilizer on individual vegetable plants.  It supposedly contains a diverse mixture of beneficial microorganisms like mycorrhizal fungi and bacterial species that “rapidly colonize the rhizosphere and surrounding soil to improve resource utilization and enhance nutrient uptake.”  We’ll see.  The proof is in the pudding.

The butterfly flowers I planted last year are also bulging with healthy foliage, and the milk weed is doing great too.  I didn’t get a single butterfly in my garden last year other than cabbage moths and a few smaller varieties, but maybe this year they will be more enticed to come and check out my garden now that the flowers are even larger.   Monarchs might be too much to hope for, but who knows – it could happen.  “ If you build it they will come.”  That’s what I’m hoping for.

Most surprising of all is how huge my medicinal plants are this year.  The burdock, marshmallow, Valerian and Echinacea are humongous.  I hope I can do something useful with the roots later.  I could go on and on about how great the garden is growing, but I’ll just post some photos instead, starting with a couple photos of Brenda, my new roommate and garden helper, not that Joshua isn’t still helping Mom out with the heavy stuff.  He’s still indispensable and I am very grateful for his help always.

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