sizing up the vegetable garden

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Now that I’ve got most of perennials happily settled in their permanent places, I’m turning my attention to the veggie garden.  I’d like to put in two raised beds back here. I had raised beds at my old house and they were the best thing I ever did – you fill them up and have perfect, unwalked on, well-draining soil, plus you don’t have to bend over so far to weed and harvest.   The boxes will be similar to the ones at my old house, except that this time I’ll have a 4’x4′ and a 4’x8′.  We want to get them built this summer and filled so that they’re ready to plant first thing in spring – maybe even a fall seeding of a few things if we get them done in time!

 

And yes, those are dandelions in the grass.  The Edmonton infestation includes my own backyard.  😦

 

 

playing with plants

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I’ve been planning this new garden all winter and can’t wait to get started!  I planned the major stuff back in December which included a circular design for the lawn and an Evans cherry tree to anchor this corner.  But otherwise, it is fun to play.  I picked up these three spiraea shrubs (‘Dakota Goldcharm’) for another spot in the garden, but suddenly realized they would give me more bang for my buck here, because their shot of colour will be seen from the kitchen window.  The dwarf cedar (‘Hetz Midget’) will add some winter colour.  The rest of the area will get filled in with perennials… I’m not sure what yet besides my Mom’s bee balm.  But first…. digging!

apple tree pruning: before and after

I’m thrilled to have 2 apple trees in my new-to-me backyard.  However, the big one was overgrown and the little one has a big pruning wound on it and needs some TLC.  Although I know the basics of tree pruning, I thought it would be worthwhile to call in some professionals for this first year.  Here’s the before and after (left and right), for the record, so that I can do it myself in some years (note to self to call in the professionals every 2 to 3 years).  You’ll notice the big one is quite opened up compared to before, and they didn’t take much off the little one because it needs its leaves to try to recover:

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OK it’s a little hard to see with my neighbour’s trees in the background! How about this:

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Better?  You can see more sky between branches in the ‘after’ pictures on the right, right?

Want to know more?  Here’s a recent video on tree pruning.

A few tree pruning tips I’ve gleaned from it and other sources:

  • it’s time to prune apple trees! (roses in a couple more weeks)
  • prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs like lilacs and cherries after they flower
  • get rid of branches that grow straight up and those that cross over each other -> aim for an open, vase-shaped tree that has space between branches
  • prune from the bottom up with hand pruners or loppers, just outside the collar where the branch connects to the tree
  • don’t use paint or pruning sealers at this time of year! Balsam is good.
  • clean tools with a wire brush and rubbing alcohol

Here’s hoping for lots of apples in the fall!