My newest adventure includes becoming an urban farmer. Here in Texas where four months of the year we average temps in the 90's, gardening can become a challenge. It is environmentally unfriendly to have huge expanses of lawn and plant non-native species which require high amounts of precious resources. I have a master plan of changing our expansive lawn and non-native plants to something more beneficial to us and the planet. After all, we borrow our planet from our children. Now that my darling husband is quite occupied with his wood-turning business, he isn't exactly paying attention to my master plan of turning our front and back yard into an urban farm with a native species garden for our wildlife friends to enjoy;)
I have doubled our vegetable garden space from last year, planted two apple trees, two blackberry vines and one raspberry vine. I plan to add elevated beds for native species habitat in the front and back. With the elevated beds I can control the soil content more. We have a very clay soil, which some clay is great for your gardening, we have too much of a good thing.
Here I am planting an Ein Shemer apple pollinator to the Dorsett Golden Apple tree I planted last week.
I have used a borrowed wheelbarrow from my dad to mix the native clay soil from the hole dug by my darling hubby and mixed it with compost from my own compost bin, super compost from the Natural Gardener, worm castings (yes you can buy this from the Natural Gardener) and Humate (organic material produced from bacteria and fungi eating decaying matter, yum-yum).
I asked my super smart, super patient father-in-law advice about planting these trees. He is a farmer in Pleasant Grove, Utah and has been growing apple trees for decades. Naturally he is the family expert on planting apple trees. Did I mention he as a degree in Agronomy? Notice the nice, pretty 8 foot Ein Shemer apple tree in this pic. Apparently, the tree is too big for the root ball when transplanting. I need to prune about half of it off so the roots will have a chance to develop and feed the tree appropriately. Since I know I won't harvest fruit for 4-ish years, it didn't hurt that much to prune this drastically. Still, ooohhh:( I know I have a challenge to keep this tree alive the first year, watering too much or too little will kill the tree.) The summers here are brutal, must be diligent.
Here is the 'Lucky Mutant". Root-Baby-Root!!!
I will keep you posted*