Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sneaking Up On Springtime

These sunny days have been a luxury.

Though the frost is still pretty hard in the mornings with the clear skies, the ground has been dry enough to work a little and we've taken good advantage in order to make some early headway in the garden.

Peas and spinach are in already. The winter plantings are all ready to eat. One potentially exciting development is our new cold frame we'll use to do our own starts this year. There's also a brand new potato bed, plans for a much improved hop trellis, a new garlic bed, greatly expanded strawberry plantings, and six new blueberry far. Our new plums appear to be very pleased with themselves. The apple trees took a break from bearing last year and look unbelievably healthy now...ready to go. I think we are too.

This year we're trying to focus on better yield, mostly by doing differently rather than doing more. A lot of that will fall to timing our efforts better. I'm learning that while building a garden is inevitably hard work, making a garden work for you is mostly a matter of paying attention.

Our composting efforts last year were incredibly successful. We probably harvested 4-5 cubic yards of fantastic compost in all. During the winter, the piles slow down and we maybe get one yield in four months. During summer, with a good turning schedule, it's more like two months and we can get the piles hot enough to break almost anything down. If we keep this up, I think the days of hauling in soil "products" are behind us now.