Today I got to spend several hours in the garden. It felt great! I haven't been home for any stretch of time in such a long time. Army daughter was supposed to come over today with her family and she called to say they weren't coming, as long as that was OK with me. Perfectly fine. I want to garden.
I weeded all the garden beds. The grand kids weeded the old asparagus bed, which is really the walkway between two of the garden beds. Last winter we dug out many of the old asparagus plants but lots grew back. We will dig out the rest of the row this winter. That won't really get rid of them because if there is a little root left they will regrow. I'll end up having to spray roundup or something on them to kill them off at some point. But for now, we will probably end up with another hundred roots or so to plant somewhere else or to give away. If anyone wants asparagus roots let me know! My new location for them is along the fence line going down the driveway. I have about 50 or 60 feet planted right now. I can put in another 100 feet on this fence line. If I want I can plant them along the entire property fence line. 1/2 mile of asparagus. That would sure produce a lot. It's really an easy plant to grow. You just water them for the first or second summer, then they just grow during the spring and after you are done cutting them they fern out and die out during the summer if they don't get water. They will come back the next spring. They don't really spread out wide. I think mine spread from about 6 inches to about 2 feet in width in about 10 years.
I trimmed back 10 of the fruit trees. When you look at the way most people grow trees in their yard and then you look at the way they are grown in commercial orchards you will notice a completely different method of growing trees. Most home grown trees have a center stem and all the branches grow off that. Or they have several stems. Usually the tree starts branching somewhere between waist and shoulder high. There may be dozens of branches. Not in commercial orchards. Most trees have three to six branches that all start about one foot off the ground. It looks like the center stem was cut out and the branches all grow around this cut area. When the trees are trimmed each fall you end up seeing the main branches and just little stubs of stem growing from each branch. If you've seen it you know what I mean. They look nothing like backyard trees. I'm in the process of converting the trees from center stem to the commercial style. This means over the years I've cut out the leader stem and trimmed and trimmed the trees to get them growing right. I'm almost there! The trees are looking good and I'm hoping next year I get an excellent crop. I still have about 40 trees to trim.
Not all the trees need trimming, and some of them, including the fruiting mulberry look more like yard trees than orchard trees. I wanted them to look that way. I wanted to be able to walk under those trees.
While I was trimming trees, and feeding the leaves and branches to the sheep, I was thinking about really getting this property to fully support us - not only feeding us but making some money on the side. My food storage program will feed us for over one year but if it's supplemented as I expect to be able to then it should last quite a lot longer. My intent is to not have to rely on the bought food storage but to be able to provide all the food we need...forever. When TSHTF I would expect life to be a little chaotic. I'd expect to be relying on the food storage more and having less time to deal with the garden. Once things settle down I'd expect the garden, chickens, ducks, sheep, and goats to feed us entirely.
This means I have to expand more of the garden into permanent crops. I also have to get more serious about keeping the sheep out of some of the pastures so I can plant them with grain. I'd like to put in some additional trees. The winter weather keeps killing the avocado trees I plant. I'm thinking about planting one and putting a permanent type of greenhouse on top of it. Just trying to wrap it isn't working. This will provide a high calorie high fat fruit. I'm also going to put in many more apples. An apple tree will provide fresh fruit, it's easy to dry for storage, it produces juice, cider, and hard cider. It's a great all around tree. I don't have enough.
I was also talking to daughter-in-law today about getting trees planted at the bug-out place. I will buy them if they keep them watered. It seems like a good trade-off. I couldn't get Mr. or Mrs. Bug-out renters to keep trees watered so even though I've owned that property for two years now, it still doesn't have any live fruit trees. That is going to change this winter! It gets too cold there for most of the citrus fruits but I may be able to put a couple in.
Yes, I love gardening. It lets the mind wander and is good exercise. And you get to eat all day long!