One big success from last year was that I discovered a service called Chipdrop. They connect you with arborists working in your area. I had a mountain the size of two VW buses (!!!) of freshly chipped cherry chips dropped on my driveway in August. Those wood chips mulched every bed on our property several inches deep with a ton leftover. My sweet husband decided took the initiative to use the chips that were left to build me a new (gigantic) bed at the back of the yard. I'm slowly filling it with perennials of both the edible and ornamental variety.
Understanding my goal-oriented nature, I sat down a couple weeks ago and wrote out a few for this year. I've even already accomplished a few of them! Here they are:
- Enlarge existing raised beds to 4'x8' (I've already done this, but they were 4'x4'...pictures will be forthcoming!)
- Build an arch trellis between the two most northern beds for beans, butternut squash, etc.
- Plant blueberries. I tried this last year and both bushes died from drought during one of my trips. New bushes have been ordered, so I'm halfway there on this one.
- Plant a dwarf fruit tree that is self-pollinating in the new bed at the back of the yard. I've chosen to plant (and have already ordered) a pie cherry called a Northstar Dwarf. I'm hoping it will arrive this week!
- Plant an asparagus bed. This has already been done.
- Transplant Japanese Maple to new bed at the back of the yard. This is done!
- Move the rhubarb to a place where it is less likely to be stepped on.
- Keep good notes on the garden. I've started this, so I just have to keep it up!
Now, between the garden and our CSA share, this should mostly be no problem. But the only fruit our CSA farm does is strawberries, and my fruit trees and bushes are a few years away from fruiting. I'll have rhubarb from my own garden, and have plans to purchase extra strawberries from the CSA farm for canning and freezing, but that leaves out a lot. My plan is to purchase fruit in bulk from farmers while it's in season. I'll do the same thing with corn since our CSA farm doesn't grown corn, and I would rather keep the garden space for other things.
This last goal in particular is going to take some work on my part. I'm going to be busy canning, pickling, freezing, and drying in order to have enough to last, hopefully, through the winter. However, I know the difference in nutrition and flavor will be my payoff. I might even have a reduced grocery bill!