We know our adoring fans have been itching to know what we've been up to at the new homestead. Well, mostly we've been painting, unpacking, and adjusting to our colossal lawn, which needs to be mowed every 10 days or so. This lesson was learned the hard way, since we waited almost a month to mow it the first time. It was so long that only half the grass was cut by the mower blade, the end effect being one of a haircut by a blind or sadistic person.
Our ambitious plans for the fall have been scaled back for for reasons of cost and sanity, but we won't be sitting on our hands, that's for sure. We were going for a fall crop of root vegetables and greens, but we took the prudent option to spend more time planning. But seed garlic will be shipped shortly, and the big project looming is to mark out the new garden and put in a hardcore deer fence before the ground freezes. This will be a lot of work, of course, but just as difficult has been determining the dimensions of the main garden. It needs to be big enough so that we'll never feel hemmed in, but small enough to be manageable. The existing vegetable garden is 50 x 25', and we're looking to enlarge that to 75 x 50'. Now that's a lot of space, but it includes 10 annual beds, 2 of which will have cover crops each year to let them rest, interspersed with 4 perennial beds containing strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, and a wild card--chives, hardy kiwi, something like that. There will also be a considerable 4-foot buffer of wildflowers on two sides of the beds, which will deter pests and attract birds and bees for now as well as give us room for expansion later.
There's also been plenty of salivating over fruit and nut trees over at Trees of Antiquity and Gurney's, finally settling on some cherries, almonds, apricot, hazelnut, persimmon, blueberries, and our favorite golden raspberries. (Actually, after looking at that list, we may have to pare down a bit more.) Mark's grandparents also have an orphan fig tree we'll be adopting. Fruit trees will help cut down on some of our huge freakin' lawn as well as yielding the obvious deliciousness after a few agonizing years of waiting.
We're still struggling with how much of the property will be lawn come next year. It's a challenge to find portions to allow to go to meadow while keeping some nicely trimmed spaces for socializing and running around, all the while keeping the holistic approach to our place in mind. Our mantra: This is a process, not a goal. Rinse. Repeat. Repeat.