Sunday, August 14, 2011

I have a yard!

I spent the day moving the first of my stuff into the new house I'm renting. I'm very excited to finally be somewhere besides a one bedroom apartment. The yard's pretty shady but presents some interesting gardening opportunities that I'm working over in my head.

This picture shows a small patch of grass completely encircled by deck and walkway in the backyard. It's a bit shady but the concrete border will make a useful edge and it's out of sight from the road. It's also about as far from intrusive tree roots as anywhere in the yard and is conveniently close to the back door. I think I'll set up a compost pile against the deck so I can easily toss in kitchen scraps during the winter. It's not a ton of space but will be a great start for intensive cycling of brassicas and tomatoes at least. I'll probably tuck in other (especially more ornamental) crops throughout the property.

The soil's pretty lousy; compacted and light in color. I'm kinda burned out from vegetable gardening this year so I think I'll go right to making an investment in the spring. I'll dig up this whole section (and maybe borrow a rototiller) then seed in some cover crops. CU has a pretty awesome guide for cover cropping for vegetables. Cover crops are planted for many reasons - most notably to prevent erosion, increase nitrogen and soil organic matter and suppress weeds.

It looks like oats and red clover would be a good mix for me. They'll grow deep roots that break up the soil structure, increase nitrogen content and produce lots of organic matter. The oats will die and begin decomposing during the winter, which should leave the soil fairly easy to work come early spring (when I'll likely install a low tunnel for an early start on greens!).

I should probably think about what else I want to start now for 2012. Maybe asparagus? garlic? some spring bulbs or a few perennials?

More to come...


  1. We planted asparagus in our house in Baltimore several years back. The third year we were there they yielded two spears that were of sufficient size to be edible (barely).

    Then we moved. To San Diego.

    I wouldn't plant asparagus unless you're planning a serious time-commitment to the place you're living in.

  2. Hmm, good to know. Some websites said similar but I hadn't taken them seriously.



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