With the warmer temperatures and beautiful sunshine today, I’m starting to think about gardening in 2016. If you look close at the ground, you can see established plants starting to grow again. I was removing some oak leaves out of my home garden today and am already seeing dutch irises, autumn joy, shasta daises, and spring bulbs peaking out of the ground. Two things I like to work on now:
First, I really want to make sure that my fall cleanup is complete so these plants do not get damaged from a late season raking. I have a beautiful neighboring 70 ft. oak tree, but it doesn’t lose it’s leaves until January. We were gifted with about four to five inches of oak leaves and acorns this year. It was a bonus year for the oak tree and the squirrels are ecstatic to bury acorns throughout the property. They take one bite out of each acorn, bury it and mother nature does the rest, growing hundreds of oak saplings. Anyone need a few oak trees?
The second, more exciting thing I focus on this time of year, is the garden planning. I take out all my notes from last fall and look at what I planned for this season. Two years ago, I started switching from an elaborate detailed garden to a garden that focuses more on food. As a neighboring river birch tree matures at 9 1/2 ft. per year, I am losing quite a bit of full sun on the property to plant food crops. My solution is to explore more edible shade crops this year and plant the larger crops like squashes at CABI Community Garden. At home, I plan on moving my lettuces and cruciferous vegetables to partial shade (3-5 hrs of sun). This might help to keep the arugula and other greens from bolting too soon later in the summer. I also plan on experimenting with vertical gardening to make the most of the sun where I have it. Strawberries and several different herbs should work fine. I’m always open to try new crops too. Did you know that you can grow kiwi fruit and goji berries in Boise? These were new to me last year, taking prime full sun locations. I can’t wait to see how they taste this summer. Have you started planning your garden for this year?