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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

our victory garden ~ potager

we have finally removed the last bits of what was planted before we arrived in our front fenced in victory garden~potager. the last three barberry bushes were taken out last week. i replaced two of them with fothergilla, my first experience with these so i am excited to see what they will do.

up next to the front porch i wanted some foundational plants so i planted reblooming lilacs. i am a sucker for any shrub or tree that blooms. this is the second spring they have been there and i am beyond happy with the results. i planted some heucheras and black mondo grass(ophiopogon plansicapus) between them. they still need some time to multiply to look good.

 i now have five raised beds for edibles. one is planted with wild strawberries, some thyme, and i put some nasturtium seeds in there last week. another bed has garlic onions, oregano, basil and parsley. two more beds have been seeded with kissing booth beets, crop circle radishes, arugula, red leaf lettuce, grandpa admire's lettuce head, broccoli early purple, marigolds and i also planted pansies and black tulips in one of these. the last raised bed has our garlic and this year i planted leeks for the first time, it also has lemon balm.

black flowers intrigue me so i plant any i can get my hands on. these tulips are on their second year.

 new little seedlings from the broccoli early purple.

                     mounds of oregano.
wild strawberries that have mostly been eaten by the birds in the past couple of years, not any more.

 this year i added a few new things like i do most years.
new to me, hops as a vining interest around the pole that holds the suet feeder and a hanging planter with succulents.
do any of you have any experience with hops?

i also added saliva, hot lips. the minute it went in the ground a hummer found it. i will happily wait until it really has blooms and attracts all the pollinators it wants.

as you might know we added chickens last spring and now have 10 hens, each one a different type. here's a few of them free roaming, as we like to call it.

 well i knew we would have to come up with some kind of solution for our raised beds because the chooks wanting to stratch around in the beds and look for bugs and worms.  i saw a picture of a play tent for children and thought that would work. i know that sounds completely insane but that's how my mind works. i showed a picture to my hubby and he set about to get them built. i knew he would come up with something but the covers he made are brilliant. he used two by two's and bird netting. the result is not only completely chicken proof  it is also bird proof, dog proof, small children proof and very beautiful to boot.

        i am completely thrilled with the end result.

this front fenced in area used to be all grass and some rather ugly landscaping or a lack of any design.  here's a before from october of 2010.   i like it a lot more now and we get great edibles from our simple design.

we killed the grass over the course of the last few years by laying down newspaper, craft paper, opened card board boxes then covering it with pine-straw mostly.  we did amend the soil around the foundational plants and then in the raise beds we used a combination of composts(mushroom, hen, cow) as well as worm castings, peat moss, manure, vermiculite and a small amount of sand in some.

i also bought a vintage four~poster wrought iron bed from an estate sale. it's smaller than a twin but bigger than a crib. i plant our beans on it and a vining black~eyed susan.
here it is on a particularly foggy morning last summer.

we now have added some feeders, waterers, and humming bird nectar so we can enjoy the wildlife from the front porch.

 at the present the weather is permitting, it is coffee on the front porch swing most mornings and we (me and hubby) love it out there.

         sometimes he sits in the rooster chair.
then there is always the bench too. 

we even have some seating in the garden itself.
this photo was taken last summer when the dahlias were blooming.  we welcome visitors to come sit a spell in our front victory garden/potager.

happy days,