Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wise Trees. . .

Monday, Little Bug and I strolled through the warm sunshine, over the squishy ground to pluck the first lengthy blades of grass for chicken feed.  Well, I plucked the grass.  Bug stood by the chicken pen talking to the chickens and waiting patiently for Mommy to bring the "food."  

He could stand there for hours planning with those dirty birds.  He feeds them any thing he can fit through the wires.  When the neighbor is there, Bug will go in the pen and herd the chickens into their house.  They aren't afraid of him, so sometimes he gets to touch one.  It always makes him laugh.  

But adventures in chicken-feeding isn't my point here.  My reason for this is the walk we took after we visited the chickens.  When we left the chickens, my little farmer headed straight for the neighbors' house. I was able to detour him into the garden between the blackberry bushes.  There I saw a beautiful sight. . .shiny new leaves gleaming in the February sun. 


From the blackberries we headed to our own garden and fruit trees.  We were met with more wondrous signs of Spring.  While Bug played in the barren veggie garden still covered in last year's protective plastic, I marveled at my peach and pear trees.  The peach tree needs a good pruning before the season really sets in, but it was covered in small, fuzzy beads, promising a good harvest this year.  (I must point out, however, that I have yet to get a good harvest from this tree.  While it produces massive amounts of fruits, I have to race the deer to get them--one day late will literally lose my entire harvest to the greedy beasts.) 

The pear tree, while not as energetic as the peach, was also beginning to show its readiness for the warmer weather.  It has buds and even new growth.  And maybe the new growth is where the pear focuses its energy, because some of those young branches were long.
New Buds
Young Shoots 
Bug and I also discovered Daffodils poking up. . . First where I thought there were no more, then on the southwest corner of the house, and then in the little round garden surrounding our small white Dogwood.  This may not seem like a big deal, but where others' Daffodils may already be blooming, as with the church down the road, ours are always late.  (Whoever planted them must have put them--and every other bulb--too deep.)  When they finally push out of the ground, I know Spring is right around the corner.  We could have another snow--or a first, as this year has left us wanting--but for the most part, Winter is heading out.  The Dogwoods are also covered in the little grey beads that are their buds.


What does Punxsutawney Phil know?  I'm ready.  Bring on Spring!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Signs of Spring. . .

The Crocuses have pushed through the leaf litter to paint the drab garden floor with their spiky green leaves and bright purple and golden-yellow blooms!

This is the first sign of Spring that I've seen, so I'm excited about it.  But don't get me wrong.  I'm not under the delusion that Old Man Winter has loosened his grip on my corner of the world.  In fact, I almost hope he comes back with a vengeance.  I love Winter.  I love snow.  We haven't gotten much of either this year.  I'm tired of the teasing.  I wish Mother Nature would simply choose what season she wants us to experience and deliver.  

I'm all for Winter.  Bring on the snow!  Bring on the cold and the wind.  Paint my world in white and shadow.

But quit teasing me with the promise of an early Spring if you're not going to deliver.  I can wait for Spring, but this back and forth, cold and warm stuff?  It's getting old, already.  Just pick one, please.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I think my gourds from last year are almost ready.  That means that, at some point next month (maybe into April because of our super family vacation coming up), I'm waiting for a good steady rain to wash them off.  Then I can start making things like bird houses (not really), cottages (likely), and snowmen (definitely).  

I have so many projects coming up.  It's exciting, but a bit overwhelming at the same time.  Maybe I'm being a tad over-zealous with all of this.  If so, it's a lesson I'll learn the hard way.  Bring it on!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Planned Plants. . .

I'm going to keep this one short and sweet.  Below is the list of plants I plan to grow in my garden this year.

  • Sweet Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • BIG Tomatoes
  • Pickle Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Watermelon (small, personal-sized)
  • Small Gourds
  • Large Gourds
  • Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins
  • Baby Bear Pumpkins
  • Jack-B-Little Pumpkins (gourds)
I can be more specific on the names of the different gourds once I dig out my seed packets.

Possible additions from Farmer Freddy are:
  • Green Peppers
  • Cucumbers (regular)
  • more Tomatoes

As far as my herb garden, I'm not quite as certain.  I do of some that I will definitely be growing.  Rosemary is among them.  It's my favorite because you can use it for just about everything.  I'll post more about the herbs as I decide.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blog Schedule

Although I hope it isn't necessary, I feel the need to point out that blog posts on The Sheepish Gardener will start out as weekly and increase in frequency as the seasons change and my garden grows.  Perhaps There will be extra posts inserted here and there, such as this one, but not often.

Here is my plan for posting:  
  • Start with weekly updates on layouts, seed purchases and arrivals, and the like
  • Posts come 2-4 times a week with garden prep and planting
  • Daily posts will begin when the plants start sprouting and producing

I am super excited to get started, and I can't wait to share my adventures with everyone.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Here we go. . .

I've decided to start a separate blog about my adventures in gardening, so here it is.  Obviously, it's still winter, and while the ground isn't frozen I won't have any new pictures to post for quite some time.  Even so, I've started my planning and seed searching.  I've planted the seed in my neighbor's head that I may have produce to offer for his produce cart once the season arrives.  Last year I supplied him with tomatoes and cucumbers.  This year I plan to do the same, plus squash, pumpkins, and gourds.  

Last year's garden was about 24 feet by 26 feet, with 11 rows for crops.  This year I want to add 2-3 rows and make it a bit deeper.  I'm also adding a raised strawberry bed probably 4 feet by 6-8 feet, and a raised herb bed by the house.  The herb bed is still in the planning stages as there are obstacles to maneuver around and over, not to mention the planning of the garden area around the bed and the types of herbs to be planted.  

As winter thaws into spring, and as my plans begin to solidify, I will post pictures of the layouts.  Then I will post regular photo updates so my readers can watch as my gardens grow and produce.  If I can, I will post pictures of the types of seeds and plants I plan to grow.  I do have some seeds I've collected from last year's crops and fruity gifts I received from friends.

At this point I will admit that my plans come off as a bit overzealous, especially for a second-year gardener.  My garden was so productive last year that I couldn't keep up and probably half of my harvest went to waste.  And this year I want to go bigger?  I must be crazy, right?  Well, maybe.  But I'll have more help this year because my mother is retiring and will have more time to play in the dirt.  

My compost is still going.  I attribute the mild winter weather to helping with that, although I may find that it would have been better for it to freeze.  (I still hope for a good freeze because of bugs.)  I've been feeding the been sporadically when I have a substantial amount of compostable ingredients to dump.

Another garden-related activity I'm looking forward to is prepping, carving, and painting my gourds from last year.  I have 37!  If you like those little bird and butterfly houses, bird feeders, one other such crafts made from gourds, keep an eye out.  If I discover a skill for crafting the gourds, I may be selling some.  They would be cheaper than buying them at stores and online, just because.  Special requests would probably be honored, too.

A little note about this blog's title before I go. . . I believe some sheep I never met are integral to my garden's success.