One pleasant thing about the erratic weather is that between cold fronts you get the occasional lovely day! Yesterday was in the 50’s and sunny. Perfect for a long walk about the place. Over the fence I can see the neighbors hay barn, show above. I love the way the afternoon sun shines on it in the winter, especially combined with the silver and golden winter grass.
My inner “Garden Clock” started stirring this week. Despite the arrival of the garden catalogs starting in late December, it was quiet. But yesterday I felt the first stirrings of the 2009 gardening season – within anyway! Soon I’ll be getting the monthly garden guide out (Thanks Arkansas Extension Service) and doing the little mental calculations to adjust the suggested dates, which are for Little Rock, to our slightly colder NW Arkansas. If I remember correctly, there’s stuff I can start planting as soon as mid to late February! OK, not much stuff, but a thing or two? I’ll check and let you know…
Thanks for stopping by Larrapin Garden. It’s good to be back.Read More
Still on the subject of time, I look around today at the thinning leaves on the branches, the sea of copper oak leaves on the grass, and I can’t believe that just about two weeks ago it looked like the pictures below.
The fig tree made it up pretty big this year! As I’ve said before, being from Alabama where figs really grow into tree sized, this still seems like a fig bush to me.
It’s a brown turkey fig tree (bush) and this year for the first time we had several handfuls of delicious figs. Incredibly, this hot spot against the south facing wall is still a little too shaded by a neighboring sycamore tree to bear fully. The figs don’t really ripen till October. By that time the sun has dropped low enough for the sycamore to cast shade. Hmmm. I’d like to plant another higher on the property to get *more* sun. Amazing that the Arkansas Ozark sun is still not quite enough for these guys!
This narrow leaf sunflower was a beauty this year.
This was one of the last monarchs to emerge. This was his first hour of morning sunshine. His wings were still soft. I hope he caught a strong tailwind and made it down to warmer climes before the first frost we had on October 25th or so.
So it will be many months till it looks like this again. But there’s plenty to do, designing, reading and dreaming of the garden 2009! Thanks for stopping by Larrapin for a look back to two weeks ago. The next post will be a Buckeye update!Read More
My Grandmother always said time speeded up when you got older. I guess I thought she meant when I got her age, not my age now! Autumn is here in all her glory. The leaves are full of color and falling on every breeze. This purple birdhouse in the front yard maple looks like a postcard for Autumn to me. Of course it is Arkansas, so I’m out messing around in the garden every day, getting beds cleaned out and covering them with a deep coat of chopped leaves. Ahhh, back to the chopped leaves.
You see for the first time ever, this year I was on the ball enough to plant a cover crop. A lovely cover crop, the “soil-builder” mix from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply. It came up and got about six inches high. Looked completely lovely, like it was doing fabulous things to the soil right before my eyes. Then killer-bambi descended.
We are having deer trouble for the first time in ten years of gardening in two states surrounded by deer. Our big dog Shug is about 13 now. She’s still pretty tough up close – she’s a big chow mix, but her eyesight and hearing have faded enough that she doesn’t see or hear the apparent HERDS of bambi that must march like hungry zombies out of the woods towards the garden while Shug keeps her nearsighted and nearscented watch from the porch many yards away. Ahh, the indignities of old age… Shug would be mortified if she knew there were armies of deer *just* over there in the garden. You can tell them by the crunching…
So anyway, the deer ate the cover crop down to the stubs. Horrors. So I’m back to covering the raised beds with deeps layers of chopped leaves. Not as good for the soil as cover cropping, but the next best thing for me. Sigh… I will get even with killer bambi. I’ve been online and discovered the electric-fence-wire-dabbed-with peanut-butter treatment. Next time I’m at Tractor Supply, a fence charger is on my list. And a big jar of peanut butter. Bambi, prepare for a PB & J (peanut butter & jolt) you won’t forget!
I know this sounds harsh from a person who welcomes (most) wildlife to the garden with open arms. But some wildlife just can’t be good neighbors with the garden. Nevermind there are fields of grass all around that seem fine for cattle. And acres of brushy woods that deer favor. So bambi, please back off a bit. I’ll try the fence and see if that works. It’s not fatal, if a bit startling, no doubt. If that doesn’t work, I may have to sit out in the garden with the shotgun like Ozark gardeners of the past have probably done many a night, protecting the garden, and planning for venison stew!!Read More
Sustainability & Permaculture
Beauty & Vistas
We’ve been creating the Larrapin landscape for three years now and it was only when I looked back at the pics we took when we purchased the house did I realize how far we’ve come in three fast years. When I add in the facts of our one to two inches of topsoil over a gravel/clay mix, then I realize that these gardening methods I’ve learned from my many teachers really, really work!
Here’s the side yard the day we bought it:
The dirt gash you see in these pics is where the owner had just installed county water in addition to the (very deep and productive, but slightly-sulphur-smelling) well we use for the garden now.
Now I can’t claim credit for *all* the increase in green, because this year we had already reached the year’s average total rainfall by mid June…while in 2005 the area was in a drought…
Am I ever glad we took those “before” pics just so I can see our progress! I can see a productive, mostly edible, naturally grown, wildlife & bird friendly landscape inspired by many garden teachers and (recently) the ideas of permaculture, starting to take shape!
Thanks for visiting the Larrapin Garden Blog. I’d be delighted and honored if you would leave a comment by clicking the comment link below this post so I’d know you stopped by!Read More