Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New developments

Well, it's official.  I bought the property adjacent to mine.  The guy who wanted to put in three trailers on the lot put it up for sale after losing his petition for a zoning variance.  I felt I had to do something to protect my pond, since a part of the pond lies in the adjoining lot.  If a new owner was to graze horses or cattle close to the pond, or even worse, allow animals to access the pond, it would be infested with slimy algae. The yellow tape marks the old property line.

Now I'm waiting on a survey to divide the property.  I'm keeping only a hundred feet swath that adjoins my property while my neighbor on the other side of the lot will buy the remainder from me.  I am in the process of clearing the corner so I can put in some more garden and also some fruit trees.  The garden will grow squash and sweet corn.  I'll buy a gas powered pump for watering.  Once this area is cleared I'll lay down a sheet mulch to get it ready for next year.

The lot has been in the procession of succession from pasture to woods since I moved here ten years ago.  It's probably about 3/4 tulip poplar, with some oak, maple, cherry, walnut and other more desirable trees making up the remainder.  I plan to selectively remove many of the tulip poplar, which is almost a weed in my view, to make room for the other trees.

It's hard to believe that the garden is mostly in.  It's hard to remember if we even had a spring, and it's certainly summer now.  About a week ago I dug up the two beds that get solanacae.  The beds had a cover crop of oats and field peas that was seeded in March.  The ground was nice and loamy, easy to turn over.

The roots of the field peas were covered with nodules containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

After turning over with a shovel the beds were tilled with the little mini-cultivator.  I hope the day comes when this isn't necessary, but there are still some clods of clay in the soil that need breaking up.  The tomato cages were installed on fence posts and the tomato seedlings were set in, along with peppers and eggplant.  Fast forward to now, and they are  looking pretty good.

While the indeterminate tomatoes are grown in narrow 16 inch cages that are 5 feet tall, actually taller because they are hung on the fence posts a foot above the ground, the determinate sauce tomatoes are grown in wide 22 inch cages that are 4 feet tall.  The unplanted spaces will get Bride eggplant, which germinated a week later than the other eggplant and isn't quite ready to be put into the bed.

After losing most of the brassicas to cutworms, the last set of seedlings escaped their onslaught.  Maybe the repeated sprays of Bt got the little devils.  Better late than never.  Since the remainder of this bed will not get brassicas, I seeded bush beans and carrots in the open space.

Cucumbers were set out.  There's one Swing cucumber, a new one for me, for slicing, and four pickling cucumbers, Calypso and Vertina.  The cutworms got many of the onions as well but they have recovered much better than the cole crops.

The big bed also had a cover of oats and peas.  I tilled up small patches and seeded squash in each patch.  There's a pole bean trellis in back.  The squash should have no problem growing over the top of the cover crop, which will wilt in the summer's heat.

While I was finishing up the garden work last weekend, the neighbor's son stopped by and did some fishing. He got several nice bass.

The robins made a nest in the strawberry planter, and every time I walk out to the garden she flies off in a commotion.  Guess we will have to co-exist.

And the front of the house is still a work in progress, with new edging around the flower beds waiting on when I get the time.  I had hoped to have this finished last fall, then broke my foot.  I was amazed that all the plants returned after the trampling some of them got while the porch was being rebuilt.  The rhododendron, which has never looked healthy, will be removed, after it has flowered of course, and replaced with a shade-tolerant hydrangea.  As a final touch I'm refinishing the cedar rocking chair which will take its rightful place on the porch. 


Phuong said...

Ah, that's good the neighboring lot is taken care of and you'll get a bit of a garden expansion as well as peace of mind. Your peppers and tomato plants look amazing, and your onions seem very happy. I just planted everything out yesterday and today, so they still have that stricken look about them.

Amanda said...

So glad to hear that you managed to get the land adjacent to you. What a nightmare it has been for you. The garden is looking wonderful and I love what you have done with your front porch.

Margaret said...

Congratulations! What a relief it must be to finally get a hold of that property, and the assurances that this brings. Your garden is looking great! We are in for a big planting up in the next couple of weeks as well...seems as if we went straight from winter to summer in the blink of an eye.

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