March - the month when the pace starts to pick up in the garden! And here on the North Oregon Coast? The month where every single weather event seems possible. Seriously, y'all, last Monday morning, we woke up to clouds, then there was snow that didn't stick as my husband took the dog out, then standard rain showers, then it mellowed looking like it would be clearing up, then we got a random hailstorm, all before noon when it then decided to be gloriously sunny for the rest of the day...until it poured sideways rain right before dinner. Okie dokie.
Here's what we've been up to as we kick off our third full gardening year out here on the coast!
First flowers - always make me giddy! The daphne actually began to bloom a couple of weeks ago, but I notice the hyacinths yesterday and decided to snap shots of all four. On the bottom right is the red flowering currant, which in the city was a huge favorite of the hummingbirds, and after buying this one two years ago at the native plant sale, it's finally blooming. Woo hoo!
Hauling arse in our front yard, specifically spreading 8 yards of hemlock mulch!!! Our goal when we moved in just under 3 years ago was to completely de-grass the front yard, and fill it with native plants, flowering herbs and other deer-resistant perennials that the hummingbirds and pollinators would love and that would improve the overall biodiversity on our property (with the bonus that it would shrink the area needing mowing). Every year we spread out the same black plastic sheeting and old carpeting to kill the grass, let it sit for 6 months, then put eco-friendly landscape fabric down before covering it up with mulch from the local salvage yard a half mile away. I am absolutely STOKED that this year we reached the front fence line where our eucalyptus trees we planted are going gangbusters, so by the end of 2021 the entire front yard will be grass-free. How cool is that! This year, my horticulturally-gifted husband has divided/propagated some of our existing plants to lessen the $ load of buying more starts, so this summer when things are all in bloom, I will share another picture (nothing's all that pretty in late winter haha...). PS - Click HERE to see what it looked like originally!
And because we don't have any major house projects, that means this summer will be all about the Chook 2.0 project, getting inspiration from these Pinterest images I'd saved! When my husband built the original 10'x20' duck run, it was with salvage wood, no 4x4 posts, and unfortunately not enough structural integrity to properly secure the galvanized metal roofing we had on it - so a couple of windstorms have wreaked havoc with leaks and this year, some flyaway panels scaring the crap outta me (and the birds!). Along with that, while our ducks are fantastic in the garden, the chickens are incorrigible when it comes to staying out of the raised beds when we don't want them in there in summer. You see, in winter it's awesome (they do great work in cleaning up the beds, 'fertilizing' them, etc.) and in spring that's okay too (I have netting or greenhouse plastic over all of them while the seeds are starting, etc.), but by the time things like beans and tomatoes, etc., are too big and the netting needs to come off? The chooks are little devils since they love to go and scratch everything up! Last year they spent 3 months living in the run because of that, so this year we want to make a permanent change and create a new coop/run that's OUTSIDE of our fenced garden, with a roof and side panels that keep the rain/wind out while still letting them bask in the sun and have access to the adjacent pasture...and, during winter, can enter vie the back gate in the garden to help us with cleanup/slug eradication/etc.!
And finally, it's just about potato planting time! Husband really wanted to try seed potatoes this year so I ordered a ton (let's just say the man has a very special relationship to potatoes so we have an entire 4'x12' bed dedicated to them in 2021) from a couple places including Carter Farms Organics which sells Austrian Crescents, that I recently learned is AKA Kipfler, my husband's favorite potato from his home country of Australia. I'd been looking for them for forever and finally my research paid off with this li'l tidbit. So everything is getting budded and curing, and by next week should all be in the dirt!
“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ”
~ Michael Pollan