|Broccoli in front, snow peas on the trellis|
I had to do a few maintenance things this year. I had to cut back the hardy oregano planted around the outside and pull out the bits that were invading the garden space. I may be rethinking having them right on the edge, but they really do keep weeds down, and I imagine that they repel critters, being quite unappetizing themselves. Maybe a root barrier is all I need, but that's a lot of barrier and a lot of digging. I might achieve the same aim by just moving them further away. Another nice thing they do is produce a healthy pile of harvestable mulch at the end of the year. They like being sheared down to the ground in late winter when the new shoots get started. One of my friends mows hers a couple times a year, but the good bugs like the flowers, so I let them come in the fall.
Again, there were very few weeds—many fewer than last year—and the winter leaf mulch is in great shape. I used maybe a quarter more leaves than I did last year, to make sure I got better cover. The hay beneath them, from last year's mulching, is half-rotted by now, and I know that's exactly what it's supposed do: feed the soil organisms that feed my plants. As the leaves start to decay and the potatoes start to grow, I'll be piling on more hay and straw. After two years with this garden, I don't see any reason to change the basic approach: lots of mulch means less work, less water, and better soil.
|Parsley survivor & garlic|
|Tuscan kale babies|
|Seascape everbearing strawberries|
And last but not least—the potatoes went in the ground on April 2nd, four days earlier than last year. Twenty Purple Majesty starts. I gave up on finding All Blues this year, and I was really happy with the PM's last year. Again, I planted them in exactly the same place I put the last ones. Next year I'll move them around. I did a much more thorough job of harvesting last fall, and have had fewer leftover re-starts this year, at least so far. I've thrown most of those out, but did keep a couple blue ones and one that looks like a fingerling from year before last.
So there it is—Ruth Stout garden 3.0—and it feels pretty good. Soon I'll have pictures of my little orchard in bloom. The Asian pears are blooming now and the apple buds are pink. The Chinese apricot bloomed this year, but just a few flowers. Anyway, that's for next time.