Saturday, May 17, 2014
Let it Rain - Planting a Berry Garden
The garden has been so incredibly dry lately. You can just tell by the way the plants are growing (or not growing). It's as if they exist in a state of suspended animation, trying to conserve as much water as they can. In my garden, I try to water as little as possible, preferring to allow nature to drive things along for better or worse. This is part philosophy and part necessity. My planting beds are scattered throughout the property and installing an irrigation system to cover all parts would be not only expensive but in many ways impractical. It's funny how something like having to manually water your plants with a hose will shape your thought process and ideas. It's time consuming and inefficient - sure signs that it should be done as a last resort.
In any case, I've been doing a mental rain dance everyday during the past two weeks, obsessing over the weather forecast, and hoping that we would receive some much needed rain soon and in substantial quantities. That finally happened late Friday night and into Saturday morning. The showers were steady and strong - enough to penetrate past the top layer of garden soil. You can just tell that the parched ground was taking it all up. Now is when we gardeners give thanks and wait for the explosion of growth that usually follows.
Last weekend, I got started on a large rectangular berry bed in the West garden. Removing the sod was as easy I thought it would be since grass does not grow well here. I also dug up plenty of large rocks. Then I added about 10 wheelbarrows worth of compost and leaf mold to enrich the soil and create a semi-raised bed. Ultimately the dimensions of this bed will grow to wrap around the perimeter of this garden. But for now, it will serve the purpose of housing most of my raspberries and blackberries.