We decided to take down the raised beds. We were both frustrated by the ongoing battle against the Trees of Heaven that kept growing up through everything. Chuck had put serious effort into getting the roots out of 2 or 3 of the beds last year. And it helped. But, it wasn’t a cure. And the asparagus couldn’t win.
So, Chuck sold the cinder blocks and we’re letting the grass grow in. Of course, this has been THE best year for the asparagus.
He put 2 100-gallon watering troughs in the part of the hazelnut ring where the bushes don’t grow, filled them with compost and planted salad in one and tomatoes in the other. The tomato varieties are ‘Cherokee Purple’, ‘Rutgers’ and ‘Golden (something)’. The yellow ones are cherry sized and ‘Rutgers’ is supposed to be sandwich sized.
I got another watering trough and transplanted the asparagus. Wrong time of year. I know. But, the cinder blocks were gone and the roots were exposed all around the edges. And they aren’t dead. There were even 4 edible stalks last week. So, I remain hopeful.
There has been snow in April the last 2 years. So, we’re holding back. There is a threat of near freezing/potential snow this weekend. It was 84ºF on Monday.
We have 6 types of tomatoes in the grow room/pantry/attic/3rd bedroom waiting until the end of April to go in the ground. There are Better Boys for sandwiches, Cherokee Purple for salads, Golden Jubilee and Hawaiian Pineapple yellow varieties for Chuck, Grape and Indigo Blue cherry sized varieties for both of us. (I don’t dislike the yellow ones. He’s just particularly fond of them.)
I have 4 jalapeno plants waiting, too. We’ll plant Brandywine okra, Delicata and Pattypan squash and Hamby pole beans directly into the raised beds.
The new Martha Washington asparagus is coming up nicely. I’m hoping for a nice crop next year when we can finally harvest from the raised bed.
We have taken apart the herb bed and used the blocks to edge the front flowerbed. We didn’t have enough blocks and Lowe’s isn’t carrying that style anymore. So, I filled in gaps with stones from the disassembled labyrinth. It needs mulch.
I am expanding the little planting area around the well. A circle has been requested. Cannas will be moved from the side of the house to that bed when I have the grass dug out.
Chuck has been removing the grass-laden mulch from the outer ring of the defunct labyrinth. When we take up the ineffectual weed barrier, it will be seeded with clover. When I finish tweaking the front, I’ll manage the second ring that we intend to use for herbs and flowers. I’ve already got resurrection lilies and foxgloves transplanted there.
We decided the dismantle the labyrinth because it was a pain in the ass to maintain and it almost never got any use. In the entire time it was here, I don’t think 25 people have walked it. But, we couldn’t just take up the rocks and let it go back to lawn because it has a hazelnut hedge around 2/3 of the outside.
Since there is going to be a circle in the middle of the back yard one way or the other, we decided to make it a bull’s-eye. The center will still be mulched and keep the benches. The first ring will get the herbs from the disassembled herb bed and whatever flowers I want that flourish in blistering sun like lilies, irises, foxgloves, crocosmia. I don’t know what else. The next ring will be low maintenance clover. And then, the hedge.
We decided that we really don’t need more hazelnuts, even though that means the circle of the hedge will be uneven. So, today, we added 5 new blueberry bushes. Like the hazelnuts, they will be naked in the winter. And we look forward to the fruit. (We’ve never had too many berries in life.)
We found one variety of blueberries at Lowe’s and 3 at Mebane Shrubbery. We already had one of those (Climax) by the fence. So, we have 3 Brightwells, a Powder Blue and a Tifblue.
Yes. I am gloating a little bit. There is a little lettuce plant growing by the compost bucket in the middle of the bed, one growing in the bed by the wall and a couple growing on the ground outside the bed. We’ll be eating lettuce until we turn green.
I took a picture of the new asparagus bed. But, right now it’s just dirt.
The old bed has been swallowed up by honeysuckle and overshadowed by a mimosa tree. It was never as enthusiastic a producer as I had hoped. And when I finally looked up how to grow asparagus in NC clay instead of taking the advice of someone gardening in another part of the state, I learned that asparagus likes sandy soil that drains well. I had essentially planted it so that it would drown.
Lowe’s has Mary Washington crowns for sale, 5 in a box. I bought 5 boxes and returned 2. 15 crowns seem well spaced in the 40″ X 87″ bed. I put 2 bags of mushroom compost on top of them. Since the beds are raised, drainage isn’t going to be a problem.
Chuck planted lettuce in the 5″ x 6″ holes around the outside edge.