May 8, 2013

River Birches, Blueberries, Garden

It’s been a late spring in this part of the world. Our trees are still leafing, my forsythia just finished blooming and the daffodils are just starting to wane in our yard. We still have patchy frost warnings at night, everything seems to be delayed by at least 2 weeks. However I LOVE this cool weather. It’s been sunny and gorgeous and perfect for outdoor projects - including planting my river birch trees and blueberry bushes that finally arrived (from my lovely grandparents)! On Saturday I put 30 bare root trees into 10 mud holes. (See the overall yard layout here.)

It’s hard to see in the photos because the trees are tiny. I mulched over each one. Properly mulching trees is important - create a fort, not a volcano. You want the mulch thick in an outer “wall” to hold back the encroaching grass, thinning out towards the tree base to almost nothing - not thick around the base of the tree (like a volcano) which leads to pest infestations. Since I pre-dug all the holes, I need to reseed the grass where the dirt piles were. (Also please ignore the ridiculous dandelion infestation that exploded this week in the back of the backyard, it's overwhelming.)

Over in the perennial garden, I planted 3 new blueberry bushes. These are significantly larger than any of the teeny tiny twigs I’ve planted before, so hopefully these do better. This time I did things right from the start, I added a lot of peat to the whole area - blueberries like acidic soil.

In the raised bed garden, it’s still way too cold to plant summer crops. For some unknown reason my spinach and lettuce never took off, so I tried a different packet of lettuce seeds in the ground. We’ll see how these do. My swiss chard and peas are coming along nicely however. I also tried something new and unexpected - garlic. Normally garlic is planted in the fall, but I was given some spring-sow garlic starter bulbs to try out. Very cool! In the other bed the oregano, thyme and rosemary are all coming back - I’ll have to transplant them soon to keep up with crop rotation.

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