Author Topic: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden  (Read 31787 times)

Offline PorcupineKate

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PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« on: February 06, 2014, 08:47:05 AM »
This winter my husband and I moved from a house with a tiny shady yard that measured 21' x 22'.  We now have a little over 2.5 acres to build a homestead on.  There is so much we want to do with the property and we are going to start with a big garden in the south facing front yard.   This will be the main kitchen garden.  It is the sunniest and warmest part of the property. 

I have gone a little overboard.... I have ordered a ton of seeds from Fedco, Seed Savers, Bakers Creek, Park, Johnny's selected seeds, Fruition seeds, and Amazon. That doesn't include the seed I saved form my own tiny garden and seed saving class as part of Ben Falk's PDC. 

I will also be raiding (with permission) several yards for perennials that need a new home.  Helping friends thin out and prune plants is a great way to get free plants. :) 



Here is an drawing my husband did of the location of the first garden.  North is top of the page and the gentle curving lines are contour lines. 
 


I am using a version of this drawing with a 3' x 3' grid to sketch out design ideas.  We want to use rain barrels, and swales for most of the irrigation. 

 



Offline Cedar

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2014, 09:04:10 AM »
I recently met Petra from Fruition Seeds at the conference we were at. She is awesome. I had not heard of her and Matthew's company before. She knows her stuff though. Glad you are helping support her.

Also keep some or all of your hedgerow in. I recently found out that these will bring in your natural pollinators other than honeybees and gives them homes and other things to live off until your crops need pollinating. They will raise your yields by 40%. They are way more beneficial than people think.

And on a sidenote, if the Birch are yours, you can tap them for syrup. Friends of mine in Canada have a commercial Birch Syrup farm.

Looking good.

Cedar

Offline TwoBluesMama

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2014, 10:22:06 AM »
Nice -please keep us updated with photos - looks like an amazing project.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 04:52:01 PM »
I recently met Petra from Fruition Seeds at the conference we were at. She is awesome. I had not heard of her and Matthew's company before. She knows her stuff though. Glad you are helping support her.

Also keep some or all of your hedgerow in. I recently found out that these will bring in your natural pollinators other than honeybees and gives them homes and other things to live off until your crops need pollinating. They will raise your yields by 40%. They are way more beneficial than people think.

And on a sidenote, if the Birch are yours, you can tap them for syrup. Friends of mine in Canada have a commercial Birch Syrup farm.

Looking good.

Cedar

I found Fruition from one of my classmates at the PDC I took.  I like what they are doing so I had to buy some of their seeds.  I also love that they are grown in the northeast since I am looking for hardy plants to use with row covers and cold frames. 

I am planning on keeping the hedges and trees along the edge of the property.  I will be planting more hedges along  all the property lines. These will be mostly thorny fruit bearing shrubs accented by perennial flowers.   They will look good, flower, produce fruits, create habitat, and be a hedge. 

 I am hoping to plant quite a few wildflower and herb beds throughout the property this year. I have always wanted a wildflower meadow and putting little meadows near other beds will give me pretty flowers and a home for all sorts of beneficial critters.   I want an inviting yard for free garden workers including all sorts of bees.  The plan is to add honey bees and chickens next year. 

The britches are ours.  I am hoping to find some sugar maples come spring.  We bought the property after all the leaves had fallen so we don't know what we have in the way of trees, shrubs and plants yet.  That is why we are starting with the front lawn.  We know it is just a lawn.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 07:09:02 PM »
I am looking for feedback.   Here is my first idea for the front yard garden.  Right now it is all lawn except for the birch trees. 



Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2014, 07:39:09 AM »
Here is a design revision for the garden.  Instead of ponds I went with swales. 

I would love some thoughts on the design.  I am going from a tiny shady garden with containers in the driveway to 2.5 acres.



I am hoping to get the entire thing built and planted in 2 years. 

We will be borrowing a tractor to build the swales and beds.

The green beds  inside the fences will be raised and ideally filled with wood.  I like 3' wide beds but we may make them wider if we can get enough wood to make them 3' tall hugelkultur beds.   

I am not sure what sort of fence to put in.  We have heavy deer pressure.  I do not know what the small critter populations are like but I want to keep voles and woodchucks out if I can. 

« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 07:45:15 AM by PorcupineKate »

Offline toni

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2014, 07:35:32 PM »
Hi PorcupineKate,
I love your design. Are you going to install chickens on the North side of your existing Birch trees. I just finished Geoff Lawton’s online PDC in August and am designing our property as well, so it is exciting to see what you are doing   :)  I didn’t really pay attention to your demographic location, but out here in the PNW we have to be very careful about blackberries because they take over EVERYTHING. So, if they like your climate they will need a lot of maintenance in the form of containment. I look very forward to follow ups on how your plan is coming along. It is so fun just getting things done. Happy Gardening and thanks for posting.
Toni from NW Oregon

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2014, 07:45:03 PM »
You are making sure that the fruit trees you plant are compatible pollinators?

Cedar - who will look at this better in a few...

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2014, 09:38:02 AM »
Hi PorcupineKate,
I love your design. Are you going to install chickens on the North side of your existing Birch trees. I just finished Geoff Lawton’s online PDC in August and am designing our property as well, so it is exciting to see what you are doing   :)  I didn’t really pay attention to your demographic location, but out here in the PNW we have to be very careful about blackberries because they take over EVERYTHING. So, if they like your climate they will need a lot of maintenance in the form of containment. I look very forward to follow ups on how your plan is coming along. It is so fun just getting things done. Happy Gardening and thanks for posting.
Toni from NW Oregon

Balckberries grow very well here and spread like crazy.  Most of them are going in south east corner where I will have 2 paved roads to slow down their growth.  They will be replacing a bunch of sumac shrubs. 

We are zoned agricultural but we can't have any building structures in front of the house. The chickens, greenhouse, and root cellar will be to the left of or behind the house.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2014, 09:57:27 AM »
I will make sure the cultivars are compatible for pollination. I haven't settled on varieties yet. I want to do some tastings and more research this summer/fall. I plan on planting them starting next year.

The big focus this year will be the annual garden.  The veggie garden will be the main focus of production.  More importantly I want to put the earthworks in, plant cover crops and beneficial herbs and flowers to support the garden.   Basically get it ready for putting the shrubs and trees in the following year.  A few blueberries, roses and raspberries will go in this spring but not many.

I am still not sure if several smaller fences are better than one big one to deter the deer.  I am hoping a long thorny food hedge plus fencing will entice them to go around and not into the garden. 

Offline Cedar

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2014, 09:59:33 AM »
You could make a chicken moat around the garden to keep the deer out. The problem is you also need at least 2 gates on one.

Cedar

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2014, 05:48:50 PM »
Cedar  Chicken moat is an interesting idea. 

I don't know if I can legally have a chicken coop in the front yard but I will have to do some research.

Offline bigbear

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2014, 08:08:47 PM »
I like the idea of the small pond on the left at the higher elevation instead of the row of blackberry bushes. 

Re: the blackberry bushes - they are pretty invasive.  I've seen people do a raised bed, combined with digging down a foot or so and line the walls (about 2' combined) with a plastic liner to help contain the shoots.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2014, 09:01:50 PM »
I spent about 6 hours sorting out the giant seed order from Fedco.  About a dozen or so friends of mine go in together  to place a large order with Fedco seeds.  It saves us a ton of money.  Not only do we take advantage of the discount off for placing a bigger order but we also buy bigger packages and split them up to save even more money.  This is the 3rd year we have done this. 

A really good friend is currently raising my 15 Rhode Island Red hens for me.  They arrived last week.  She is going to hold on to them till we are ready for them.  This will give me time to get a coop and run set up on top of everything else we are doing this spring.   

I need set to up the seedling shelves, unpack and gather my growing supplies this weekend.  Then I need to inventory my seeds and set up a planning schedule.   I can't wait till spring!


Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2014, 10:55:28 AM »
We picked up 2 food grade IBC totes that we will be turning into rain barrels.

I have started some of my seeds.  I have mostly onions, leeks, herbs and flowers started.  Between now and the end of the month I will have most of my garden seeds started. 

Now I need the winter to let up so I can build the garden.

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2014, 01:30:24 PM »
Keep plugging away at it *S* It will get there. You keeping a farm journal?

Cedar

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2014, 08:00:52 AM »
Thanks for the reminder. I need to start a journal.  I was given a pretty one for Christmas.  I just need to find the box it is packed in.... I am still working on moving and FIRST Robotics is starting to wind down so I should have more time by April to get organized.

I have a planting spread sheet with all the names, sources and planting dates in it.

My seedlings are labeled by variety and the date I started them. 

I am still working on the design of the garden.  I need to finalize it and start getting all the materials for it. The ground is still frozen and snow covered.  Once it thaws I need to get some soil testing done and see how mush top soil I have. 


Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2014, 05:08:34 PM »
I almost forgot to mention this.  I have a gardening minion this year.  8)  I happened to buy my house not too far from Frugal Fannie's home. She doesn't have space to garden and she was looking to learn how.  I will be teaching her what I know while we work on the garden and share the harvest.  It has been fun starting seeds and chit chatting.

We have been getting together once a week to start seeds and will continue to get together once a week to garden all season.   If all goes well we will both have more produce than our families can eat. :)   Today I sent her home with up cycled planters with lettuce and spinach to grow indoors. 

Offline Ms. Albatross

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2014, 06:46:14 PM »
I have a gardening minion this year.   8)  Frugal Fannie.



Does she resemble this picture? 

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2014, 09:58:45 AM »


Does she resemble this picture?

Well she is pretty short but otherwise this minion looks more like me.  :P

Offline Morgan96

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2014, 10:06:21 AM »
....  FIRST Robotics is starting to wind down so I should have more time by April to get organized.


Second that... This is my older son's first year in FIRST.  It will have been a busy three months by the time the OKC regional is over at month's end.

Nice looking plans.  What software package was it that your husband use to create the design?

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2014, 02:31:34 PM »
Second that... This is my older son's first year in FIRST.  It will have been a busy three months by the time the OKC regional is over at month's end.

Nice looking plans.  What software package was it that your husband use to create the design?

We have our competition the first weekend of April.   My husband and I have been working with team 2342 for 3 years now.  It is fun but it is a huge time commitment. 

My husband created the line drawing in the beginning of the thread in Solidworks.  I then took the drawing and started laying out the plantings in Adobe Illustrator.   I could have done the whole thing in Illustrator but he had more time than I did so he created it.  We need to work on the 3D model of the property and a revision of the garden.  I am still moving stuff around. 

For a less expensive software to create drawings with I would check out Sketchbook pro.  It cost around $60.00 and it covers most of the basic tools you would need to make 2D drawings.   

Offline Morgan96

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2014, 04:04:44 PM »
We have our competition the first weekend of April.   My husband and I have been working with team 2342 for 3 years now.  It is fun but it is a huge time commitment. 

Certainly right about the time commitment. I first got volunteered to be treasurer to team 3507, but are now morphing into mentor.  Just got done wrapping up organizing a team tour to our machining and sheet metal shop, and it took some doing.  This is our first year, and it looks like we'll be full on for the next few years.  Number One Son is a junior, Number Two Son will be a freshman next year, and both are very keen on robotics.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2014, 08:15:33 PM »
Today was a busy afternoon.   With help from my husband and Frugal Fannie, I planted 24 raspberry bushes, 7 blueberry bushes, and 30 strawberry plants.  I still have 20 more strawberries to go.   

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2014, 10:49:39 AM »
We have been busy prepping for the big dig!  The excavator arrives Friday night.  Swales, hugelculture beds, a small garden pond, and 2 chicken tractors will are being constructed this weekend. We may not finish but we will get a good chunk of it done this weekend.   

Friends, family and a bunch of the students from our FIRST Robotics team are coming to help.  We will be teaching them about permaculture and feeding them a good meal.  Pulled pork, taco/burrito bar, deviled eggs, salads, sandwiches, brownies and pie are all on the menu. 

Our front yard is covered in little orange flags as we lay out everything out. 
Packages of trees and shrubs are starting to arrive.
Bags of seeds and seedlings are everywhere while I organize everything.

Pictures of the before and after will be posted as soon as I get a chance to do it.

Offline Cedar

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2014, 11:07:17 AM »
Looking forward to pics!

Cedar

Offline Marinesg1012

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2014, 09:08:35 PM »
Looking forward to pics!

Cedar

Ditto

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2014, 09:33:06 AM »
It was a busy and exhausting weekend.  Over a dozen friends came to help us out including a few kids from our robotics team.   A good time was had by everyone and no was injured other than a few scratches, sun burn, and bug bites.  By New Hampshire standards we lucked out with really nice top soil and surprisingly few rocks.  The sod was surprisingly thick and difficult to bust up.  I will be dealing with clumps of sod for most of the summer.  The high quality of soil even surprised my landscaping friend.   

Finally I had a change to take and post some pictures.   



The before photos.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2014, 09:36:52 AM »
Here are the bluberries and strawberries I
It was a busy and exhausting weekend.  Over a dozen friends came to help us out including a few kids from our robotics team.   A good time was had by everyone and no was injured other than a few scratches, sun burn, and bug bites.  By New Hampshire standards we lucked out with really nice top soil and surprisingly few rocks.  The sod was surprisingly thick and difficult to bust up.  I will be dealing with clumps of sod for most of the summer.  The high quality of soil even surprised my landscaping friend.   

Finally I had a chance to take and post some pictures.   

The sticks in the lawn are raspberry bushes.


The before photos.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: PorcupineKate's 2014 Garden
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2014, 10:03:02 AM »
Here is my blueberry, strawberry, rose, and pansy bed.  The roses and pansies were planted by the previous owner.   I love that the pansies have come back this spring.


Here are my seedling waiting to be planted.  They are a mix of home grown and purchased from local nurseries.


Here are a bunch of irises and day lilies from friends making more room in their gardens.