Friday, December 11, 2015

My Big Garden Dreams

It's been quite a while since I last blogged.  Again.  I have a habit of doing that sort of thing; one minute I'm totally into something, and the next I don't want anything to do with it for months or years at a time.

Like gardening.  Around September, I'm usually getting pretty sick of gardening.  Which is ridiculous, because that's when so many of my plants come to harvest, but for some reason I just get bored with the whole thing.  Then around December, usually when the first catalog appears in the mail, I'm so ready to start gardening again that it's embarrassing.  "Weren't you just sick of gardening like yesterday?" I might hear from certain unnamed husband.  Yes.  I was sick of gardening.  And now I'm not.

I have so many big plans for my garden, which is silly because my garden is very tiny.  Somehow, on roughly a 40x70 foot piece of backyard (that's very shady in one corner and has the house shadow during half the day in the rest of the yard), I've managed to plant and grow:

2 apple trees
4 blueberry bushes
2 five foot long raspberry brambles
1 2x4 foot strawberry patch
4 4x4 foot raised vegetable beds
1 1x16 foot raised vegetable bed
1 2x4 foot raised vegetable bed
As many veggie buckets as I can find space for
Two pretty nice flower gardens
Not to mention room for a swing and a clothes line

Here's a bad drawing of what it looks like.

My back yard

As you can see, it's quite cramped.  The driveway abuts the neighbor's property, but we do have about five feet on the other side of our house of ground where I put my strawberries, a small veggie garden and a patch of raspberries.  And yes, the flowers and compost at the very back of the yard are actually partially off of my property.  But the house behind ours is condemned, so whatevs.  I don't think anyone will mind too much.

So yeah, small city garden with big country dreams.  I keep looking at the catalogs and dreaming about what I wish I could do.  I wish I could put an arbor above the entryway for my main garden and grow grapes on it.  I wish I could have a greenhouse or hoop house to grow peppers and melons.  I wish I could grow pumpkins or winter squash.  But I have to face the fact that I have a small shady yard and that I have to be happy with what I have right now.

One of the more major things I'm doing next year is planting new raspberries.  The last couple winters have been killers in our area.  2013/2014 was what they call an open winter; we had almost no snow at all.  Which is great, except it was also extremely cold.  We got down to -15 or lower for weeks, and the ground froze five feet deep.  That killed my raspberries to the ground.  They did miraculously send up new shoots, but being summerbearers, that meant that I would have to wait until the following summer to get any berries.  Well, the winter of 2014/2015 was equally cold, except it also had record breaking amounts of snow.  I think we had four feet of heavy packed snow in our back yard, which protected the bottom part of the canes but the parts that were above the snow died off.  The hard winters were especially rough for the patch on the north side of the garage, and they started dying off from some kind of disease shortly after spring came around.  I decided that I was tired of dealing with harsh winters and raspberries that weren't up to the challenge, so I pulled up all those canes, dug in a lot of really good soil amendments, and planted some runner beans there to help boost the soil fertility.

The raspberry plot after adding lots of good stuff

I read about a cool new raspberry that Cornell University bred a few years back called Double Gold.  It's a blushed gold everbearer raspberry with high disease resistance, designed for cooler regions (Cornell is afterall in NY state, just like me).

Double Gold raspberry
There's a nursery that Cornell had grow it for them that's actually just an hour's drive from here, so I'm totally thinking about driving up there instead of paying $20 shipping.  The cool thing about everbearer raspberries is that they produce on first year canes.  As in, they grow a cane and then berries form on it the same year.  Whereas summerbearer canes, like the ones I have, grow canes one year and then produce berries on it the next summer, which is ok as long as the canes don't die back every winter!

I'm such a rambler.  I really meant for this to be a short post with some ideas for my garden next year, but I've already gone on a ton!  So maybe I'll shorten things up a little.

I managed to save a lot of seeds last year, so I really don't need to buy many.  I do want to try a couple new varieties, though.  My plans for new plants are:

 Cherokee purple tomato

Dragon's Tongue

New York Early 

Cosmic Purple
Not actually new, but I need more

Hidatsa Sheild

Sweet Pickle

I haven't really decided on lettuce yet, but I would like to try a crisphead type (iceburg) to go with my green towers romaine I already have.  I need to get some shelling peas too, but that's one of those things were it doesn't seem to matter what variety you get because they're all the same.  

So those are some rough plans so far.  I'm still dreaming about the greenhouse and the grape arbor, but I guess those will have to wait a while until we can buy our country home. 


  1. Cool to see you posting again--guess I forgot to check up on you for a few months. I've got a lot of catching up to do today =P

  2. Lol, sorry, didn't mean to sneak in four months of blogging while you weren't looking. How's your blogging going? I haven't seen anything from you in a while :) Would love to hear how you're doing.

    1. Heh. Yah, I kind of abandoned my journal for awhile too. I think it's time I started it up again.

      Short version of it is that I kinda fell off the wagon and gained back 20 of the 40 lbs that I originally lost. Finally getting back into it, tho, and managed to lose 5 of it again.

    2. I totally know that feeling. Because of the hormonal stuff I've been going through, I actually gained back the weight I lost plus another 15 pounds :( But I'm trying!