I’m Headed For September Gardening

If the summer heat in August is waning, it’s time to start dry stone wall building and getting ready for a big September transplant and rebuilding push.

Notes On The Dry Stone Wall

The pic below shows the east wall and the corner turning across the front of the house. Turning the corner and heading for wall #2! (finally…)

Note the top of the wall on the right is now filled with soil (that’s why it’s dark in the picture). Rather than use stone to cap it, I’m going to use plants. It should be spectacular next summer. (He says hopefully.) I’ll have pics of this next year for sure.

Thanks Jake @ Topsy Farms for the suggestion (Jake is our resident dry stone “guy” and I asked his advice about topping the wall as I’d changed the design (built it thick enough for a taller wall but decided I really liked it short. And I didn’t want to tear it down and rebuild.)

I want to get the first two levels done on the wall in the next few weeks before I start moving all the plants around (remember – this will be my only garden by next summer) Two levels will allow me to backfill the soil to the wall to the desired height and get on with soil building.

I’ve finished hand-digging this garden expansion now – the front left section – and removed the weeds/grasses etc. It was a grassy-lawn-weedy mess up until this week. It’s ready for some mulch and a serious organic matter upgrade.

Notes On The Backyard Plants

I’ve started watering heavily in the back garden where the shade perennials are. I want to keep that soil damp and see if I can reduce the stress level on the about-to-be-moved plants to zero.

And after a conversation with my neighbor, I decided I was going to have to copy her and set up a system to water the big trees on our property. Remember a mature maple tree can use upwards of 300 gallons of water a day. I’ve been a bit too lax on this so I’ll have to get the black plastic pipe out and run water lines to the trees. I hate to lose them.

Notes on Fort Mayo – Our Vegetable Garden

After all the work on our newly protected vegetable garden, we ran into a problem we’d created and have only ourselves to blame.

I’ve been watering and feeding the maple tree on our front property. (Good boy Doug!) The stupid thing responded (who knew?) and grew vigorously. So strongly in fact, it’s now shading our vegetable garden.

It was one of those head-slapping moments when I did a sunlight check because the tomatoes weren’t doing that well. Duh! Had I been thinking, I would have done that check in the spring *before* I built the deer-proof cage.

So the vegetable garden has to be moved to the only spot near the house that has guaranteed full sun and that will not change. And that means the protective systems (fencing etc) have to be moved as well. (Yes, I will unplug the electric fence before moving it.)

I’m hoping to get the soil worked up this fall – which really means finding the damnable rocks, removing them and then digging in copious amounts of organic matter. The pest barriers will have to be a next year project.

Final Notes

Mayo and I are setting up our “retirement” gardens. We see it as a space limited garden with no expansion in the future. My children (bless them every one) don’t believe I’ll restrict myself to a single garden. Nor do they believe I will slow down in moving plants around. And to be fair, they may have a historic precedent for this belief.

Stay tuned as I continue to build rock walls to fence my ambitions in and see whether my children are correct (again) or whether I outsmart them this time.

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