I wanted to spend a bit of time on my garden updates–its been a while since I showed progress. So here’s what’s happening at the Druid’s Garden (zone 6a, South-East Michigan, USA). Photos were taken about 4 days ago.
I’ve had some setbacks in the realm of chickens–two (my two smallest ones, bantams, were killed by hawks while free ranging, and this happened while people were home and around). When my family kept chickens in PA when I was growing up, we did not have such large amounts of hawks. My land is also missing tree cover where they usually roamed, so I can see how this happened. So, because of this, and because they were tearing up my mulch and perennial beds, I decided to pen them up. Two of my friends helped me build this outdoor coop area, attached to the original chicken tractor. What I like best about the coop is that, aside from the netting, nails, and staples that we used to put it together, all the other materials came from the property–they are mostly cedar posts that we pulled out of the back of the property from the pile that had been cut (discussed in my post here).
I was also gifted two wonderful new peeps to make up for my lost ones. Here they are (pics from about a week ago–they grow so fast)!
This year, I’ve been working to expand my perennials, both in number and kind. I am finding that this work is as important as seed saving, especially as I move to more perennials in my yard, but also because, from an economic standpoint, perennials are much more expensive, and lots of people want to start gardens using permaculture techniques but don’t have the money for all of them. A good friend of mine gave me some gooseberry and currant bushes, I also have more raspberries (golden), fennel and other plants from our permaculture meetup’s plant exchange, an expanded strawberry patch, and more. I’ve been working to develop guilds around each of my fruit trees also!
Apparently my rhubarb plant is the largest one most people have seen. I’m thinking that part of it is because I placed it next to a gutter and also because it has shelter and lots of light from being next to my porch. And composted horse manure. Anyways, I’ll be canning some rhubarb preserves quite soon!
The comfrey patch is doing really well. I should post on what comfrey does soon–its an amazing plant for gardens and medicine alike! In the meantime, here’s the comfrey patch–I’ve given a ton of this away, and it keeps on going!
Annual Garden Beds
With the help of friends and family, I created two new large garden beds this spring. I am also helping another family garden behind my main garden–they are doing so well!
Unfortunately, we’ve had a really cold spring. With snow in late April and a storm that tore open my small hoop houses and knocked over my small greenhouse to a May 30th frost, it has not been an easy season. My main garden was planted around May 20th. Then we had a near-frost around the 30th (and had I looked forward in the biodynamic calendar I’m now using, I should have known that…) Most of the plants lived, however, save some basil which I had extras of.
I’m taking more of a vertical gardening approach this year, which I think will serve me well. I’ve been building trellises of all sorts, and finding interesting materials to use as trellises (more on that in an upcoming post)–all repurposed and found!
Here are some shots of the garden.
I have been in desperate need of mulch for some time. My good friend knew this, and saw a tree service in the area at my neighbor’s house last week. He asked them to bring the mulch over, which they did, and now I have a mulch mountain. I’m mulching all of my perennial beds as well as the paths in my annual garden. I am going to see how much is left, and if I have enough, I’m going to move forward with my plan to build a labyrinth this summer :).
I think that’s the end of the garden/homestead updates for now. We have a number of exciting projects planned for this summer, including the outdoor kitchen and possible labyrinth. Stay tuned!