Grit Blogs > Backyard Baers

One Project At A Time, Please

By Benjamin Baer

Tags: Projects, Herb Garden, Tomato Plants, Pests, Wildlife, Chicken Coop, Firepit, Benjamin Baer,

Benjamin BaerWhile spring is coming to an end, our list of projects does not. We have made a lot of progress though.

Most impressive so far is probably our herb garden, it is thriving. We have loads of lavender, parsley, oregano, mint and cilantro. The other evening I clipped a bunch of cilantro, and made cilantro lime chicken for dinner. It was excellent.

In addition to our herb garden, we have seven tomato and three cucumber plants that are all doing very well. We should be eating homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers in no time. Knock on wood, so far we have been pretty fortunate with pests and weather.

I did come out one morning to find a deer had cleaned up one of the cucumber plants, but they have not been back. I think our dogs do a pretty good job of keeping wild animals from coming too close to the house.

This year has been drier than average for our area, but not too bad, and definitely nothing like the drought conditions experienced in other areas across the country.

PKB has been doing an excellent job of, at least, pretending to be interested in the garden. She definitely seems intrigued by the plants, and always makes certain to check them out when she is outside strolling around. She just needs to learn the plants are fragile, and we must be careful with them, as the other day I caught her standing next to some of the tomato plants violently shaking one of the cages … hopefully, we don’t end up with shaken tomato syndrome.

PKB inspecting some of the tomatoes.

PKB inspecting some of the tomatoes.

We have quite a few berry bushes that are also thriving. We should end up with more blackberries than we know what to do with, even after the birds and animals get their share. Blueberries, on the other hand, are a different story. Last year, we had hardly any blueberries. By the time we got to them they had pretty much been cleaned out. I’m hopeful that won’t be the case this year. Someone once told me, if you aren’t going to use any of the pesticides or defense mechanisms (which we don’t) then you need to make sure you plant enough for everyone to get their share – us, the birds, the deer, the rabbits and the insects. So, hopefully, that is what I’ve done, and we will see what happens.

The clearing process continues to be a work-in-progress. And it is a lot of work, and a lot of time. But, progress has definitely been made in two different sections. Originally, I was focused on one area for a chicken coop, the garden and a firepit/sitting area. I was under the impression that we could have all those items in one cleared-out section of our property. So, we cleared out a large portion, and even built some stairs with natural rock gathered from around our land, and it looks good. But, surveying that area, I couldn’t decide exactly how to utilize it for everything I wanted, it is pretty steep (which wouldn’t be great for the firepit) and doesn’t get a lot of sunlight (which won’t work for the garden).

So, I decided, as it was visible from our back deck and not too far from our shed, the area would work fine for our chicken coop, but that was about it. Which meant I needed to focus on clearing out two sections, rather than just the one I had been working on.

To make a long story short(er), I now have the original area with the natural rock stairs that will house the chicken coop, and another area on the other end of the house that is going to be perfect for the garden and the sitting area. This section of our property gets plenty of sunlight, and isn't quite as steep as the first area I started clearing. Of course, the main drawback of this approach is it has doubled the amount of work to be done.

The garden and firepit/sitting area will be in this section.

The garden and firepit/sitting area will be in this section. This area was completely grown up with trees, weeds and bushes, but we have made considerable progress clearing it out – only leaving the blackberry bushes and a few young pines.

As you can see, we have a lot going on, but this represents only a small amount of everything that needs to be done. There is still plenty to be done to get everything the way we want it.