Garden Report: January 2014

As my first progress report, I decided to break up the to-do lists and progress by month. I made the Phase 1 Deadline, but I think this will be easier. I though it would be important to keep a tally on a few things besides the to-do list and an overall garden photo. I also want to keep track of what work I’ve completed, what I planted, how much I’m harvesting, and how long all of this takes.

This has been quite an overwhelming undertaking to be honest. I’m worried I’ll screw something up or be unsuccessful, so it’s been a struggle to move forward. I’m taking it one small project on the to-do list at a time.

I do have to admit the beds are functioning great. I was worried about the odd leaf shape pieces of the garden beds at first. The flow of moving in the garden is effortless. Just say no to 90 degree garden beds is my new motto. 

Unfortunately, the view from the back door hasn’t changed much. I’m hoping next month will show more progress.

The December verse January photo comparison would have been pretty boring. I thought May would be more inspiring. In May, you can see the young wheat and sunchokes starting on the left side, the young apple and peach are happy on the right, and the cardoon is getting ready to flower in the center.

The January photo is terrible at best. You can see the apple and peach tree have been removed and the outline of the new beds are visible. There are 5 fruit trees in the photo if you can spot them. The swale is the most obvious in the foreground which is still not complete. Hopefully, this photo is the worst progress photo.

Here’s the incomplete swale I briefly talked about being my main feature in my passive irrigation system. I planned on moving all of the leaf bags that are stopping up the rain flow in the swale and get it tested out.  That didn’t happen. This swale is ugly now, I know, but once completed, it will look like a mulched pathway with a hill on the lower side.

The to-do list for last month is mostly complete. Anything I didn’t complete just goes to February’s to-do list. I’m getting tired of planning the garden. I’m ready for some results already!

1. Complete the master plan bed layout. -Done! (95% complete, I have one half of a path left but ran out of wood)

2. Remove (3) T posts. -Done! I’ve been putting this off, but it was easy.
3. Relocate existing Apple and Peach Tree -Done!
4. Relocate tree collards if the ice storm didn’t get them & disassemble the raised bed –I’m not confident the tree collards will make it. Instead, I dissembled the raised bed and will wait to decide if they are done-zo.
5. Relocate Cardoons – same here, it’s questionable if they will come back, so I’m waiting.
6. Finish the main swale – I’m 90% complete on this. I need to tweak it a bite and fill it with mulch after a rain.
7. Trim existing Trees – I’m 90% complete. The big elm is left to trim and I need help.
8. Construct the (2) annual veggie beds. -0% complete. Haven’t even started.
9. Purchase & Plant Trees: Pear, plum, [nitrogen fixer tree], pawpaw, apple, pecan, [wild card tree]
-65% completed. Pear and plum have been purchased and planted. The Pawpaws and 2nd apple tree have been purchased, but the company doesn’t start shipping until March.
10. Plant cover crops –0% complete. I think I got a little ahead of myself with this one.

Like a business, I think it’s important to monitor the inputs (work) verse outputs (harvest). I want large quantities of outputs to justify the work I’ve been putting into the garden. Since it’s winter, the number is assumed to be low, and not much is established or planted. I also lost most of what I had from the ice storm.

Jauary’s harvest = just a few handfuls of herbs and surviving trees collard leaves.

I really wanted to keep track of the hours I work since I constantly get the ‘boy, that’s going to be a lot of work’ look. Well, I want to track the hours to know if it is or isn’t. I’m not including the hours worked in the front yard doing the ‘regular’ yard work. Any help I get with the garden I’m considering a bonus because I don’t have any consistent help.

Also, I’m guessing, once my garden is established, I’ll be working about 10 hours a week. This might seem a lot, but that time includes harvesting, working mornings before work, and weekends. The time spent watching tv will move to garden time when we get our sun back. I feel like no time will really be lost.

January’s work = 13 hours

Honestly, I don’t think I worked enough or very hard in January. I feel really behind after looking at my planting schedule. This month, I mostly worked on completing the to-do list, clearing the old compost pile, cleaning up, collecting leaves, collecting coffee grounds and collecting cardboard. Actually, my dad did all of the cardboard collecting for me. 

The things you put the most work into are what you value most, right?

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