Plans, Vol. 1

Despite my lack of posts, I’ve been keeping an eye on the site traffic and recognize I have a lot of work to do.  I intend to break up a few of my earlier Blichmann posts to provide more thorough reviews and better pictures.  I also have a few reviews I haven’t started yet.

I find myself with more time on my hands than I expected to have right now, so I’ll be out in the garden making improvements and documenting that work.  Next week I’ll be picking up the butchered hog I purchased this year and will be making prosciutto and country ham with it, plus sausage, bacon, pulled-pork, ribs and so much more!

Plus, I have more than a handful of brewing recipes I want to work on, so you’ll see a bit about those in the coming weeks, too!

Garden 2013

My wife and I are preparing our 2013 garden.  The weather this time of year is rarely sunny, but at least it didn’t really rain this weekend.  As a matter of fact, it appears that our area of the country is in the middle of the most boring winter in recorded history.  It’s been under average daily temp of 50 F, though, so we bundled up and took on a few chores.

We had ten yards of soil and soil conditioner delivered on Friday.  I appreciate having it delivered in bulk, and Sawdust Supply did the job this time.  We got seven yards of their planting soil mix, and three yards of GroCo.

photo

Nicely done.

The asparagus are fully geared-up.  It’s been almost two years since I planted them and we have taken no harvests in that time.  We’re hoping to harvest a bit this year, and today we weeded the beds and topped them off with some of the planting soil.  The moles have devastated the inside edges of the beds, so we packed them down and back-filled them.  Later this year we’re going to dig up one of the beds and put down a mole guard, then we’ll do the same thing next year to the other bed.

A couple of weeks ago we dug out one of the original beds and put down mole guard.  We’re using metal lath from Home Depot.  Two sheets covers the bottom of a 4′ x 8′ bed with overlap in the middle and along the inside edges.  Last time we did this to a bed we stapled the lath to the inside of the wood wall and wound some wire along the middle seam, but this time we did neither.  The boards we used were not cedar, so they’re slowly deteriorating.  We’ll replace them in time.

There’s only one other bed we’ve treated this way and there the moles dug around out the outside of the bed instead of the inside.  I can deal with that, as long as they don’t get to the roots of the plants.

The blueberries are next to the asparagus, so we weeded them and put down some planting soil with acid fertilizer.  We also pruned them a bit.  The deer pruned them last year.  They’re pitifully small, so I’m forcing the long-term view onto myself.

My wife started a number of gopher spurge plants last year, and today she planted a few of them around the asparagus beds and our lower lazy bed.  She planted some around the upper lazy bed late last season.  The gopher spurge roots are supposed to repel burrowing animals.  We’ll see.

I weeded out the hops planters from last year and topped them off with planting mix.  We’re still trying to decide what to do with the hops this year.  We have the skeleton of a shed in our backyard and are considering sending them up the supports for a lazy trellis, but we aren’t sure if we’re willing to give up the option of taking the structure down this summer.  Just like the asparagus, I saw this year’s hop shoots already well-formed and ready to go before I topped them off.

We bought some seeding mix this weekend.  I think it’s time to get some brassicas started.

My wife planted Spanish Roja garlic this weekend.  I failed to plant them last fall when we received them.  We’ll see how they perform compared to last year’s crop, which was abundant and more than sufficient to last us until now and beyond.  Some of last year’s harvest has started to sprout, but much of it continues to store well.