After a long blogging hiatus, I’m back! And I’m really late kicking off garden season 2012. Truth be told, I’ve been working on some other projects (not related to gardening and sustainability) that have monopolized my spare time over the last few months. Plus, the time has just gotten away from me. I can’t believe we’re already nearing the end of February!
To rectify matters, I officially kicked off my gardening season today. First, I cleaned out the bed for the peas and planted three varieties, which included two flat peas (Oregon Sugar Pod 2 and Taiwan Sugar) and one snap pea (Sugar Sprint). Gee, that’s a lot of “sugar” peas. In front of the pea bed, above, you can see the garlic has come through the winter just fine and is putting on new growth.
Also putting on new growth is the rhubarb. I’m hoping that my rhubarb plants will provide enough for a decent harvest this year. These are fairly young plants (just a few years old) and it does take a few years for them to become established and provide a decent harvest.
Last fall, I planted a cover crop in a few beds. It grew really well and I turned the cover crop in one of the beds today. I’ve never done a cover crop like this before so I’m not sure how long it will take to break down. Hopefully this bed will be ready for the summer crops I’ll need to plant out in May.
In the greenhouse, the mini dwarf peach and nectarine trees are about to bloom. Unlike last year, I did a much better job keeping these watered over the winter and the trees are looking great.
Other recent tidbits:
- My annual order from Raintree Nursery arrived. I think this will need to be my last annual order for a few years as I’ve basically run out of space. Last fall, we removed our big leaf maple tree. We did this to create more sunny, plantable space. Of course, this prompted the Raintree order. Delivered, and planted, were two more cherry trees, a crab apple, and a plum.
- We’ve noticed that our energy bills over the winter have been noticeably lower than they were last year, in fact, about 20% less. We believe this is the direct result of the insulation project we did last fall. We significantly increased the insulation in the attic as well as under the floor. Looks like it worked!
- Also on the energy front, we’ve received our first solar assessment and bid. The proposed solar system would supply about 30% of our electricity needs (more if we can reduce our electricity usage further which is definitely possible) with a payback of about seven years. I think we’ll pull the trigger on this in the next couple of years as we continue to work on bringing our usage down.
- We have a new plan for our car situation. We recently decided that Derek would get a Jetta TDI wagon. This is the diesel version that gets 40+ MPG. We’ll use this as the main family car and for road trips. Then, once my Volvo (current family car) hits 100,000 miles, I am going to get an all-electric vehicle. Since I am currently at 86K with this car, it will probably be a few years before I go electric.
That’s it for now. I hope everyone had a great winter and that you are well ahead of me with your gardening 2012 tasks.