Garden diary week 5: Cleaning up the yard

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The past week, after a couple of weeks of snow and freezing weather, we jumped into spring-like weather. This brought us out of the house and we’ve started with garden work. It’s still too cold for sowing and planting, but there’s plenty to do.

We decided to cut down most of the trees and shrubs around the house. The forest next to us is getting huge, and since it’s not ours we can’t do much about it. So we need to find a way to get some more sun in the garden, and the only way is to start trimming all my shrubs and trees.

Most of the trees and shrubs are over 30 years old, so I decided to cut them down completely. In December I cut down the lilac tree and forsythia, and last week we decided to take down all the pine trees. Already we got a lot more space in the yard, so we decided to also take down most of our forest trees and extend the fence all the way. In the end, we’re hoping to get more vegetable space.

While we were taking down the pine trees we also decided to take down the quince tree. During the fall we took down most of the old apples, plums, and cherries, but when we started planning the new anti-hail net we realized that the quince tree was just in the way so we took it also down. This gave us a huge area for vegetable beds which we’ll get prepared this week.

Right now we’re left with an apple tree, which I pruned on Saturday, a walnut tree, an early plum, and a young apricot we planted a few years ago. I will buy some berries this year to fill up the empty spots in the garden.

I also managed to do some side garden work, and I have two beds ready for the upcoming year. Over the winter I’ve been collecting kitchen scraps in our waste barrel and got enough fertilizer for the first two beds. The rest of the waste isn’t ready yet due to the freezing temperatures we had, but it should be ready in a couple of weeks.

The two beds will be turned into a small greenhouse area. Here I plan to transplant asian greens and early lettuce which I sown indoors a few weeks ago.

The Asian greens are already outside together with onions, leeks, and kale seedlings. The temperatures are high enough to keep most of the seedlings outside. This week I’ll transplant the flower seedlings to bigger pots, and keep them outside also. If the temperatures drop I’ll move them back indoors, but for now, they will be perfectly fine outside.

The tomatoes that I sown 5 days ago are starting to slowly germinate, so I’ve moved them to the lighted indoor shelves, and the pepper seedlings sown 4 weeks ago are almost ready for individual containers. I’ll probably move them this week.

This week I plan to use this unusual warmth and start outdoor containers of carrots, brassicas, chard, and beets. We’re also planning to plow the beds and if we have time we’ll collect the leaves and use them as mulch. There’s plenty to do and this warmth needs to be used.

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