One of the things we had on our house-hunting checklist was acreage … no, not like in the multiples of, but at the very minimum one. Two or three would be fine. Five? Way too much if it was all landscaped. We wanted enough space to grow stuff … a few vegetables, maybe some berries, grapes might be fun, definitely some fruit trees.
Our property is a little over an acre with about 0.85 of it actually usable. We have a big burm that runs along the back, with a really neat trail behind it. There’s a little bit more behind there, but I’ll save that for another post.
Last year we spent an arm and a leg putting in the foundation of our garden … six raised vegetable beds … seven fruit trees … posts and wiring for grapes … berry beds. Probably the most expensive part were the actual plants to inhabit those spaces! We were pretty sure the fruit trees would be pretty fail-proof, not so sure, though, about the grapes and berries. But I’d never know for sure unless we tried it, right? And, if they didn’t survive, no problem … Big Blue has a 1-year guarantee, and yes, I saved the original containers … just in case.
Won’t you come along with me as I take a morning stroll through the yard and see how things faired through the winter?
We planted seven fruit trees … Moonglow Pear, Red Delicious Apple, Granny Smith Apple, Bell of Georgia Peach, Bing Cherry, Early Golden Apricot and Santa Rosa Plum. I’m happy to report that all seven of them have budded and their leaves are starting to appear like crazy! The poor darlings … our weather here literally went from snow to summer in 4 days flat. These gals don’t have a clue what they are supposed to be doing. They think they’re supposed to be “flowering,” but the temps are telling them that they should be doing something else. It will be interesting to see what affect our crazy weather has had on the actual fruit. Not hoping for much for the next few years, but a few pieces here and there would sure be nice. My goal in the “orchard” this year is to turn up the surrounding dirt, amend it and plant grass seed.
The berries were our biggest risk. We planted four each of Blueberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries. We had quite a few Blueberries last year, but, alas, the birds and squirrels all beat us to them. What made it through the winter? All four Blueberries, three of the Blackberries, and two of the Raspberries. The two Raspberries didn’t survive last summer, so I wasn’t expecting much for this year.
If the berries were a risk, the grapes were a real lottery game. They did so poorly last year that honestly I didn’t think anything would survive. Boy, did they prove me wrong. All but one survived the winter!
One of the gardening books I read stated that weeds in the vegetable garden are not a bad thing! After all, if weeds are growing, then you’ve got “growing soil.” Well … I guess I’s got me some good growing soil ‘cuz I’s definitely got me some weeds!
A couple of weeks ago I cleared out one of the beds to plant onions and garlic. It’s so fun to see them sprouting! The larger plants are leftovers from last year. I guess they decided they wanted to take a year off. They were a nice surprise when I went to clean this bed.
Last year I picked up a couple bags of two different kinds of Wildflower seeds. I LOVE color, and the existing landscaping doesn’t seem to have much. Last Summer I cleared out an area in the front alongside the driveway, put down the seed, covered it up, watered, and waited.
Watered and waited.
Watered and waited.
Watered and waited.
Not even a sprout.
Twenty buckaroos down the drain … or buried in clay might be more appropriate.
But alas, early one March day as I was getting in the car, I noticed a little bit of green out of the corner of my eye. Could it be? No Way! Well … alrighty then. Sure enough, my little wildflowers had been hibernating.
Can you see them? It’s the scattered green strip running from the bottom right to the top left. I’m so happy! I can’t wait to see them grow and bloom!
And the best surprise of all …
Whenever we would go driving in the country with my mother-in-law, she always wanted to go by “the yellow house on the hill.” She just loved the way it looked “all set up there, with the front porch and the rocking chairs, and the pretty flowers in the front” she’d say. She passed away in May of 2010, but we never forgot how she loved that house. When we first drove up to look at this house, the very first words that came out of both of our mouths were, “Mom would have LOVED this house, all dressed in yellow, set up on a hill.” We’ve always considered this her gift to us.
Mom was from Nebraska and her favorite flower was a Bleeding Heart. We didn’t have them in California and she missed them so much. One day last Spring while shopping at Sam’s Club (of all places,) I came across a box of Bleeding Hearts. I’ve got to be honest … the thought of buying plants at Sam’s Club was a little out of my comfort zone, but for Grandma, it was worth a go. There were five roots in the box, so we planted three in the back yard, just below the deck, and two in the front yard. They didn’t seem to do much last year, but I’m happy to report that this year they are growing fabulously! I’m so happy and I just know that Grandma is smiling down on us, thanking us for planting her favorite flower by her favorite house.
I’ll be back with a garden update next month. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what happens in the next few weeks. Gardening is so much fun!
Won’t you Join the Conversation and tell me …
Do you have a garden?
What’s your favorite flower?
Any great tips or advice you can offer to this very unseasoned newbie?
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