11 November 2012

Long Weekend in the Garden

As a long weekend approached, I started thinking about what I wanted to get accomplished around the yard.  I saw an opportunity to get a jump start on my front yard vegetable garden and reorganizing the chicken area, so I can eventually fence off the chickens from the rest of the yard.

My long weekend started a little rough when I tried to get compost on Friday afternoon.  I called Charleston County Recycling to find out when the landfill closed and was told 4:30.  When I got there at 4pm, the sign said they had just closed - I wasn't able to get compost.  I thought it was a bad sign for me for the weekend, but it wasn't - I got off work early enough on Saturday to go back out there and get what I needed. 

Last weekend I started laying out planting beds for the front yard.  Ironically, it's the north side of my property that has the best sun.  The paths are two feet wide and the planting beds are three feet wide, and I've aligned the them on the north-south axis.  I'm looking forward to working them - I built raised beds before and I was trying to maximize what little space I had in the back yard.  They were built with concrete blocks, so they were a little too wide to reach the middle sometimes, and the paths between them was barely a foot wide.  Even though I'm giving up a little acreage, gardening will hopefully be a better experience this time.

I'm having to find homes for the plants that used to be here as well.  I have a fairly new planting that I created near the house that should keep some of the afternoon sun out during the summer.  I've got a few tall Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) plants with Knockout roses, and I've just planted irises and day lilies today.  I've got some alliums to put in there tomorrow and I should be done - except for the weeds.  I've got some kind of grassy weed that just wont go away.  It's not as bad as it was, but I think I'm going to have to pull up the mulch and lay down newspaper and then be aggressive against any weed that comes up there for a while.

As part of the chicken fence project, I'm trying to clean up and organize the area behind the garage.  I've begun moving the compost bins in a more organized fashion.  After that I'll be clearing the brush and eventually putting in a little bit of landscaping, something benefiting the chickens - something that provides food or cover from predators.  One of the reasons for them to be fenced off is that I can better protect them from hawks - once contained, I'll be able to run monofilament over the area as a deterrent to hawks and owls, etc.

One thing about spending time in the yard is that you always see something else that needs to get done.  In my case, I noticed all of the houseplants that I need to find a winter home for.  We had a couple cold nights recently and I know I can't leave them outside forever.  I'm trying to put it off as long as possible, but I know the time is coming.  Winter will be here sooner or later and there's nothing we can do to stop it.

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