It was dry and overcast yesterday, so worked on the garden, filling a 22 foot by 3 foot raised garden bed with rotted manure and soil. I can't do any weight bearing exercise, so I was in charge of raking the dirt out after DH and DS dumped it in, plus breaking up clumps in the manure. This stuff has been composted for 3 years, so it wasn't gross or anything and anyway, I wore gloves.
So we now have two beds the same size ready to go, although one of them has 8 feet of garlic in it that I planted in November. It's come up very well and I can't believe how huge around the stem is on the elephant garlic. I will be planting onions in the rest of that bed. The per pound cost of onions has gotten ridiculous and the selection is kind of gross sometimes. I am planting mostly keeping onions, but I will plant some sweet onions to cut up and freeze. I want to do some shallots this year and of course some bunching onions.
With the bed we just finished I will be planting carrots, parsnips, turnips, and radishes. I can can all of these things, but I will just have the radishes for eating, not for canning. I don't know if I like pickled radishes or not, so I am going to try making one pint and if I do, then I will make more, but I don't think I will.
We have 1 1/4 pallets of cinderblocks left, enough to make one more raised bed of the same length, so on the next sunny or at least dry day we will be weed eating the area down to dirt and then covering it with a tarp until the next time DH can get to it to start making the next bed. I plan on growing zucchini, kohlrabi, chard, cabbage, cucucmbers, and herbs, in that bed.
I looked at the deck today and all the plastic boards are the same length and they seem to be tongue and groove. This will be great material for raised beds, plus we can reuse the support beams and posts as well. I can't see how they were attached to the supports though, there are no nails or screws, so I am wondering if they were attached on the underside. DS will have to look underneath to determine it when it is time to take the deck apart. I don't think DH is capable of crawling under there anymore.
So those beds will be built where we had the potatoes last year, which is a 16 by 20 foot area. I am planning to transfer the strawberries into one of those beds, because where they were last year led to a lot of scorching of the plants in mid-July through August when we were having temps in the 90's and when it wasn't it was in the high 80's. But it didn't kill them. Which reminds me, I have to get a couple more room air conditioners before summer.
I'd like to also plant asparagus in that bed so it can pull double duty, but I think it will have to wait for next year. The two grow well together since one has a deep root system and the other has a very shallow root system. That area gets afternoon shade so will get a break from the sun for about 4 hours before it comes back around the giant cedar tree in the neighbor's yard and gets sun for a couple more hours.
As for the other bed, I am thinking tomatoes and peppers since it will be far less shaded than the first bed.
We are putting potatoes in next to the yet to be built third cinderblock bed. It is a 22 foot by 16 foot area, so a bit more space than the other and it will get more sun. Eventually that area will get three more cinderblcok 22 x 3 foot beds, and we will just plant potatoes in raised beds in the future. We have plenty of potatoes that we planted last year that have sprouted that we will be planting, but I also got 4 new types of seed potatoes that will ship when it is time to plant, so soon.
I wanted to try some fingerlings, get more Kennebecs, a different red, and German butterballs. The last ones are supposed to do really well here and are very yellow inside, more so than Yukon golds. I couldn't get them to try last year as they were sold out. This year I was smart and ordered in December. Everything I got is supposed to be long keepers.
I am hoping with better sun placement, we will get a higher yield this year. And if I like the new varieties, that I will have enough of them to replant with next year, especially the German butterballs, because buying seed potatoes to have them shipped is expensive. And the ones available locally are not the ones I want to grow and don't even necessarily do well here.
We plan on digging out and giving away some mature raspberry plants. We have one person that eats them so we will leave a three foot area and get rid of the rest. We can put up posts and trellis green beans there. It'll only be the one row but since it is pole beans it will produce and produce. Some will be green and some will be purple.
Once the deck is torn down, we will be moving the huge climbing rose bush, that used to climb the apple tree before it was cut down, into the front yard where the deck was and dig out a weed tree, then we can build another raised bed row that is 20 x 16 feet. And if we get a stump grinder to take out the old apple tree stump at least enough so we can level the dirt, and tear down the old chicken coop, I want to get a 10 x 12 foot plexiglass green house and we can put in two beds inside it for growing sweet potatoes and tomatoes in the future.
That probably won't happen this year, but it is on the agenda, as is tearing down the rabbit shed and planting fruit trees. I want two more Italian prune plum trees, a Bing cherry tree and a Ranier cherry tree. I don't know if those ones cross fertilize or not, but there are plenty of flowering cherry trees in the neighborhood. I also want a good apple tree. Maybe Opal apples or Tsuguras. And maybe even a cold hearty nectarine and a pair of male and female cold hardy kiwis. We won't let anything get huge, we need to be able to pick them easily, so will keep them pruned to a reasonable height. And I need to get a huckleberry bush from a new supplier.
The dead, rootless sticks Tennessee Wholesale Nursery sent me last year never did anything and they refused to honor their warranty when I told them well before the year mark, and they said to just wait and see, then refused to give me my money back when I did just that. Never do business with these losers. I am getting a one gallon plant in a pot shipped to me from a reputable nursery. I would like two but since one plant is $37, I may have to wait until next year to buy a second one.
So that's the plan. It may be a three year plan or maybe a five year plan even, but we will do what we can this year, so we can grow and preserve as much food as possible and be far less dependent on the supply chain.