Garden Report: May 2014

At the end of each month or at the beginning of the following month, depending when I get around to publishing the post, I like to review each month. I like to review the progress, what I’ve harvested and how many hours I worked. There are disbelievers and I want to show how hard or how easy it is to create and maintain an edible forest garden
June 1st marks the 151th day in creating the forest garden. It’s getting hot, so the progress is slow but the plants are growing. We got over three inches of rain this month! That means the plant growth is on the up and up. It’s been bitter sweet because most if the green in the beds is the grass. It’s been the biggest disappointment even though I knew it would happen. I have an idea how to fix that…
 1. The Mulch Pile continues to get smaller
I’m sure you’re sick of me talking about it, and I can assure you I’m tired of this project. It’s a never ending pile! Two of my awesome neighbors have helped me with the pathways by lending a hand and lending a much needed, large wheel barrow. I always enjoy repaying with adult size beers after the sun goes down. The pile is so much smaller now, I can see the light at the of the tunnel. 

 2. Bed Addition.  
Over by the grapes which are on the fence close to the huge elm tree now call home to a new bed. There is also the first peach I relocated to this bed and of course have a comfrey that is thriving.

Well, it’s half done. I added cardboard and another awesome neighbor gives me bags of yard waste that I use to mulch with. Add that to the list of Community resources I use in the forest garden!

 3. New Seed Planting & new Plants.
I have mostly focused on establishing my perennials so far. This month I planted lots of green beans, squashes, pumpkins, sunflowers, wheat and wild flowers. The stores have 50% off sales this time of year, so I really tried to grow more mulch.

Speaking of 50% off sale, this is also the time when the big box stores get rid of their fruit trees. Thanks to this heads up, I was able to get a new peach and plum tree. They weren’t in the best condition, but for $7 each, it was a deal I couldn’t pass up. That brings my total up to 11 trees in the forest garden including my orange that’s in a pot. 

I am finally seeing growth with the kiwis and my only surviving pawpaw. This fall, I think I’m going to invest in two pawpaws to help shade the patio and the house from the southern sun.

4. Relocating Existing Plants
The sunchokes survived the winter and are coming up from last year’s planting. It’s surprising because they didn’t do well. They were going to be sheet mulched over for one of the major pathways, so I moved them to one of the back beds where I think they will do well.

I also moved the beauty berry from the front yard to the back where it’s much happier. The sole surviving black berry from last year was moved from its unhappy spot to one of the berry patches. I removed a cardoon from a furture pathway and located it beside a plum tree.

4. I said goodbye to my Aquaponic system.

It’s about time to purchase a scale for better accuracy.

I’m finally harvesting enough to mention it all! 
Wild: I’ve harvested about 12 dandelion flowers (and dandelions from fields for more infusions) 
Herbs: The spicy oregano and mint are harvested weekly. I have two comfrey plants that I harvest enough for an infusion each week. I transplanted all of the pups from my main aloe vera plant and got a nice size amount of meat to make a smoothie. 
FruitDuring my morning and evening garden walks, I’ve been able to get about two small handfuls of goji berries. 
Veggies: I’ve continued to harvest the chard I planted out from the aquaponics system for smoothies. I’ve harvested only one onion and used all of it but the root. It was delish in these enchiladas

May’s harvest = about 4 times a week harvesting
Yearly harvest Total  = just a few handfuls of herbs, surviving trees collard leaves, goji berries, onions, aloe vera, lots of comfrey, and dandelion flowers.

I can’t wait for the fruit trees and bushes to mature because it’ll make for a much longer section!

May’s work =  I’ve averaged about 7 hours a week I think. I’ve been working an hour-ish before work and a few when I get home besides the weekends. The over taking grass has depressed the work load.
May = 35 hours
Yearly work Total = 170 hours

Time to tame the grass! Any ideas!?

credits & resources: just my photos this time // see linked posts for particular sources

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