Spring has been late this year. The weather seems to be finally changing and we are now consistently reaching the 50’s and 60’s during the day…in early May.
I guess that’s ok though because being late seems it will be a reoccurring theme for us this spring.
Our garden is going to be late going in this year too because it is contingent upon a few things.
1. We need to get the fence in so we know exactly where the south boarder of the garden will be. The fence company’s plans were a bit rough. And by that I mean he drew a red line on a photo of the property from above.
2. In order to put the fence in, we need to have the ground re-grated so we can try to shift some of the water in the yard. Right now, after a big snow melt or, I would imagine, a large rain, portions of the middle of the yard and garden space flood. However, that space does sit up higher than our adjacent wetlands. We figure if we can give the water a new path, maybe we can get a garden and yard space that properly drains.
To me it’s honestly pointless putting in the garden in the spot we want (or even the spot it’s currently in) unless we do this. Raised wooden beds would constantly be soaked and if we planted directly on the ground those plants might spend a lot of time underwater during rainy periods.
3. However, in order to regrade, we need to have the foundation in for the new barn poured. They torn down the old garage last week (bye garage!) but work on the barn is stalling due to the rain. With the exception of this past weekend, it has rained every day in the last week.
At this point, I don’t think we will actually get the garden in until the end of May or even the beginning of June.
Idle hands make plans
But just because I can’t be digging in the dirt, doesn’t mean I can’t plan for digging in the dirt. In fact, maybe it’s better that I have more time to think through the design of each garden box and the fruit tree guilds. I’m hoping to create a homestead garden that we can use as our primary source of fruits and vegetables for our family in the spring, summer and fall.
Right now, I have marco view of the garden and space laid out. Before I can put plants in, I really need to dig into the micro view too. We’ve been so busy with the other renovations that I haven’t had time to think about the details.
That said, I still wanted to share my overview of the space with you. I’m really excited for how we will be reworking the space on the acreage, and more specifically, the garden space. The area was wonderful when we bought the house last year, but I really believe we will make it even better.
Here is what it looked like when we purchased the home:
For me, the garden was too unstructured and I knew I needed something a little bit more tidy to work in. I also knew I wanted to expand the space in back of the house for the kids to play in.
As far as the garden goes, I believe with a little work and persistence; it will be a haven within a haven. A homestead garden based off permaculture principle that works hand-in-hand with the ecosystem and will contribute as much as it takes from the environment.
The landscapers’ plans
We had a landscape architect come out and help us think through the acreage. It was such a large space that it just became a little cumbersom for me to wrap my brain around it all. I also knew that there were things we would do this year, and I wanted them to compliment the 5-year and 10-year plans too. I needed help looking at all seven acres as a whole.
While we aren’t sticking with his plan entirely (due to some measurements being off), we are using it as a foundation for how to lay out the property.
Here is the architect’s plan for the land. I’ve turned it horizontally because that’s the way he wrote it. My layout will be vertical because that the way it looks from the road. I know this is kind of a visual pain. Sorry!
Based on his plans, we took the design and altered it a bit. I wanted something we could look at that would accurately show our plans and the fence lines are wrong here as well as the space for the garden and the fruit trees. We are also renovating the barn and horses are a long way off.
Here are our plans:
FENCE: We are fencing an area that will be “yard” for our family and dog. It will be horse fencing with wire that other animals won’t be able to enter. I want a safe place for my dog in the evenings and the kids to play. Our house is rather close to the street so having a fence makes me feel more secure about keeping the babies safe.
The fence will also line the front of the property but will not include wire. It is more of a small barrier incase anyone goes barreling toward the street.
GARDEN: The garden will be moved to allow us more space for the yard and will help to line one side of the property. In back of the garden will be a few fruit trees. I’m hoping for 8 this year. Additionally, Kevin is planning to grow some hops to go along with his barn brew area. He has four plans in the refrigerator just waiting for the next steps.
GREENHOUSE: At some point, we will put a green house in between them. This year, we might put the foundation in since we will have cement here for the barndominium project. I love the idea of having the greenhouse in between them and being to access it from both sides of our growing zones.
To find out more about the details on the barn remodel, click here.
For the garden, my plan is to use create beds that take advantage of some of the principals in Permaculture. I want to make sure we are working with the ecosystem as much as possible. I’m planning to plan flowers and companion plants together to help my vegetables thrive.
In the middle of the garden, I’m hoping to create a flower and herb zone that will be all about drawing pollinators to the plants there. I’m not sure if it will happen this year, but I love the idea of creating a space that is for them and brings them to pollinate my flowers and vegetables season after season.
This year, I won’t have this may beds. This is probably several years out. We will probably have 4-6 beds this year, especially since we will be planting so late in the season.
In back of the garden area will be a space for fruit tree and Kevin’s hops. I’m hoping to plant eight fruit trees this year in honor of the son we lost. His birthday is in June and he would have been eight this year. You can read more about him, here.
I’m also planning to create fruit guides inline with permaculture under the trees so we can make the most of the space and have everything co-existing in a way that is advantageous to us and to the planet.
I’m planning to put the hops in the back of the yard for two reasons.
1. They grow really, really tall. Think 30 feet. They need space to move and I need them to be able to grow without blocking anything else.
2. If Kevin wants to expand them, he has plenty of room to do so. None of the drawing show it well but we still have several acres available in back of this area that a farmer uses right now. If Kevin really decides to be serious about growing a hops then he has the space.
So what do you think of the plans? Any advice before we take this giant leap in the next month?