Upcoming Garden Projects

It’s funny the difference between our own perceptions and other people’s. When I walk around my yard with people who’ve never been here before, all they can say is “I can’t believe you’ve done so much”. All I can say is “I have so much more to do”.

Since May I’ve planted more than a dozen fruit trees, another dozen fruit-bearing bushes, and scores of native flowering plants. I’ve added a pond, compost bins, and at least fifty cubic yards of mulch and manure to build soil. I’ve sheet mulched something like 600 square yards. I’ve moved roses, ripped out Brazilian pepper, pulled a metric ton of weeds, and had all the citrus pruned back severely.

And I’m just getting started.

I was so eager to cover the bare sand and plant trees in 2012 that I neglected to fully envision the support structures, the systems that can support the plants and reduce consumption of outside resources. Now I’m going to have to go back and add these structure in and around what I’ve already planted!

1. Rain barrels! We started out thinking we needed two. Now we’re planning on at least six.

2. Drip irrigation, fed by the rain barrels. Fruit trees require water, and so do the annuals and smaller perennials I’m planting among them. If I provide enough water now they might not need as much extra water in August. I found great DIY instructions here.

Now for the fun part, the planting projects.

1. The herb bed and iris/rain bed.

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That herb bed started life as a big pile of roughly chipped trees less than six months ago. Now it’s well on its way to becoming nice rich soil. Unfortunately, I didn’t heed the warnings and left the soil bare over the winter so now the weeds are trying to take over. I still like the shape and size but I’m also still pondering the details. There’s already horehound, Vietnamese mint, oregano, thyme, cilantro, lemongrass, sage, and rosemary planted in the herb bed. The iris bed is taking shape nicely, thanks to Hart Nursery and my Grow Gainesville friend, Aunt Maggi.

2. Work on filling out guilds. I’ve been really focused on getting the trees planted, but much of that is done now. I only have two three tree-based guilds left on my wish list: the Mexican Winter Avocado guild and the Arbequina Olive guild, and now I want a Super Loquat from Edible Plant Project, after trying the delicious fruit. I need to focus on planting the rest of the layers in the guilds I’ve already started, like under the fruit trees and in the elderberry hedge.

3. The Banana Circle.

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Building an African keyhole bed based on Deb Tolman’s Texas design has been rattling around in the back of my head for a long time. The coolest part of her design is the built-in frame for covering the bed in winter, making it perfect for the tropicals like bananas, galangal, ginger, curryleaf and turmeric I want to put in it.

I think that’s enough to keep me busy for a while.

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