I purchased some hop rhizomes from my local brewing shop. I got Cascade and Magnum. Which are supposed to be two varieties that are both hardy and popular for beer recipes. For once the layout of my yard is really working to my advantage. I have a side of the house that faces south without anything else going on over there. I followed their instructions for planting and they should be ready to grow up some twine to my roof line.
I planted a few seeds this evening. In Garden #1 I planted a square each of spinach and carrots next to the garlic.
In Garden #2 I planted lettuce, celery, sugar snaps, watermelon, Old German tomato and bell pepper. I was careful to not plant the tomato and pepper too close to where I had the tomatoes last year. The watermelon seeds are left over from the watermelon that grew last year.
I forgot to update on the rain barrel. It works quite well for me. The gutter system captures less than a quarter of my roof area but even an inch of rain fills the barrel. I think I have space to add an additional barrel if I could find one on the cheap.
I picked up extra bricks to raise up Garden #1. My wife and I picked out some plants for the long section. I borrowed a friends truck and bought a ton of soil and picked up a half ton of mulch. I had to dig up the plants that I already had growing so that I could replant them at the new level. After filling up both gardens with dirt we planted and then covered with mulch.
A quick note about the mulch. There is a yard wast dump in my town that anyone can go to and take a load if they want. Mostly it's shredded leafs but today I noticed a pile of finely chopped wood chips. The mound was about 7 feet high and not too tightly compacted. As I got into the pile I found that it had started composting and was quite hot and steamy inside. When I got it back I made sure to add a couple buckets full into my compost pile to see if that would get things moving.
It's spring time again. I began the process of weeding out my gardens this weekend. It's not too bad and with the loose soil I left most of the weeds came easily. Next year it would be a good idea to mulch again once the growing is over.
The mint I planted survived the freezing winter. The larger one required a lot of pruning but it's coming back nicely. As expected the garlic survived and has sprouted again.
In Garden #2 I decided to open up more room to planting.
As is usually the case, I haven't even started to seed yet. Hopefully in the next week or two I'll have it done. I expect the risk of freeze is over.
The apple tree I started survived the winter and whatever it is that likes to nibble on it. I pruned it and it might be time to look for a place to put it permanently.
The compost pile turned to soil better than I was expecting. However, our kitchen scraps don't seem to be doing enough to produce the amount I'm looking for. I'll leave it this year and find an extra source to fuel it.