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KVs lot makeover

 
pollinator
Posts: 166
Location: Southeast corner of Wyoming
46
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What I am starting with is a small not quite 1/10 of an acre lot in the city.  The lot faces north and a main street runs in front of it.   I have attached 4 photos showing about what the front yard looks like now.  They are at least a couple of years old so the pine in the northwest side is bigger and so are the cottonwoods on the east side. The brown area behind the house is the dogs run, the green section beside it is my small garden area.  The front yard is what I will be working on the most since it is pure lawn right now.  However there will be some changes in the garden area.

This is in Wyoming at about 6,000 feet altitude.  We have strong winds, cold winters, and cool nights even in summer.  The area is described as being semi arid so one thing I need to watch is how much water the plants in my finial plan will need.  Our soil is neutral to alkaline so acid loving plants like blueberries don't do well here.  


Plans for 20221: Take down the pine and the cottonwoods.  Move the flower bed from the west side to the east side of the sidewalk and add a cattle panel trellis.   I ordered a shorter clumping Jerusalem Artichoke to try this year.  I will put them in a larger grow bag where the cottonwoods were.  I will use the trellis to try growing a clumping bushier groundnuts and see how they do in our climate.   That trellis will also have some runner beans on one end as "pretty flowers" but with edible pods if I pick them young.  I also have some dahlia tubers coming for the flower bed.  Dahlias need to be lifted every year here and stored until spring but I hope to be able to increase the number of tubers and maybe try one or two this fall.  The backyard garden is being rearranged and a new asparagus bed is being put in this spring.  Those plants are already ordered but we need to dig the bed yet.   I hope is to find a Chinese/Mormon apricot seedling to plant on the west side of my front yard as an anchor for a future lower growing fruit forest.
alley-east-side.jpg
this shows the alley and bushes on the east side
this shows the alley and bushes on the east side
drive-west-side.jpg
we share the drive with the house next door and there is not a lot of room between the house and drive
we share the drive with the house next door and there is not a lot of room between the house and drive
front-of-house.jpg
Facing south towards the house. This is how it looks now
Facing south towards the house. This is how it looks now
satellite.jpg
A satellite view of the whole lot.
A satellite view of the whole lot.
 
Dorothy Pohorelow
pollinator
Posts: 166
Location: Southeast corner of Wyoming
46
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Small steps forward for the garden and other growing areas.

Earlier in the year I watched this video


I decided to use some of  last "stimulus check" to get a tumbling composter and give it a try as I don't have a space to make a proper pile.  I got a big single bin tumbler to use for it and was thrilled  to discover it fit nicely into a formally unusable corner.  I can foresee my new tumbler getting lots of use ESPECIALLY since DH has decided the little compost bin I got for the counter is just what he wanted...  of course the fact it is a single bin tumbler is a bit of a problem if I want to be able to keep dumping the household compost bin into it WHILE making the compost shown in the video.  Guess I need to find a place room for a pile in the garden...  or get a second tumbler and put it outside the garden proper but next to the garden fence.  That would actually be a very nice solution, I will have to think on that.

The garden proper is undergoing some changes also as I make room for the asparagus bed and decide where the new hanging strawberry planter will go on the privacy fence.
 
Dorothy Pohorelow
pollinator
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Location: Southeast corner of Wyoming
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Big step forward today as a local company came by and took down my two cottonwoods.  The leaning tree that was growing over the house was indeed dying.  I got a round off the top of the stump that clearly shows a good sized dead area.   We kept 3 logs from the base of the tree for DH to play with and I got a couple of smaller logs I can put mushrooms on.   Now I need to settle on a bush/small tree for that opening. One side of these bushes is my yard but the other side is an alley used by many people in our area.  That alley is giving me pause.  The line of bushes gives visual separation from the alley PLUS they stop a lot of the dust and small stones being kicked up by cars using the alley.  

Compare my photo earlier of the east/alley side of our front yard WOW I didn't realize what a difference removing those trees would make...
east-side-with-alley-trees-gone.JPG
The east side without the trees. It seems so open now...
The east side without the trees. It seems so open now...
 
master gardener
Posts: 2642
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland
1011
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Dorothy,
Taking down those trees will likely make the front garden more sunny (hotter and drier) as well.  Pity they didn't shred the tree branches for you....instant mulch!
Have you drawn up a plan for the garden?  Look at sunshine, wind, paths, things like visuals from the front and noise from the traffic.  It can be great fun to cut out to scale bushes and trees that you want to plant, other features such as barbecues, and play jigsaws.
I must admit I don't do this, I just plant organically as I go section by section, but in a smaller space it may be more worthwhile and save you some mistakes.  Start small, but have an overall plan.
 
Dorothy Pohorelow
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Lots of no goes this year.  DH ended up needing back surgery which set almost everything behind.  And we had some very big failures in my attempts to add other edibles to the landscape.

I got the Cottonwoods removed but not the Pine sigh.  It is a nice tree but in the totally wrong spot for it.

Sunchokes and Groundnuts were huge fails.  I am not sure if the squirrels got the sunchokes or what happened but I never say anything above ground in there area.  The groundnuts sprouted developed a small vine and died...  they did best AFTER my runner beans made a shaded area for them so I am going to assume that they needed more shade then I provided in that location.  I did find two small groundnuts in the dirt maybe next year I will find a shadier spot for them to try...

Apricot  was a fail as I lost my seedling so will have to start over with it BUT my husbands potted blueberry is thriving.  Next year it will need fresh acid soil to keep it happy but as my husbands favorite berry I am willing to baby it for him.   The Dahlias are here to stay.  My cheap on sale Walmart tubers grew into a lovely small single yellow flowered plants but sadly my big beautiful white pom pom lost the race with winter.  I still have healthy tubers to carry over and next year they will get put in earlier as the bed is already prepared for them.  

Potatoes on the other hand were a surprise.  While most of my potatoes were small (the ground is much harder then we realized) we have been eating on them for over a month. AND I learned alot about what they like so I am looking forward to bigger harvests in the future.  And we realized that they really are decorative enough to raise in our front yard as a fleeting but beautiful display of large paper thin pale lavender flowers.  Not at all the size or color I was expecting. They made a wonderful display with my dark daylily.  

The runner beans were planted very late but made a beautiful flower display, I snacked on a few immature pods and have a few drying with seeds for use next year.  I will plant these again but do it earlier and put up a better trellis so those flowers are easier to see and for the bugs to reach and pollinate.  

We did get a strawberry  bed started and it will be interesting to see how it they develop.  

Plans for next year are still being worked on but I really want to get a nice start on a food forest in yard.   I have joined a few native plant groups and will be working on developing one based on a mixture of natives and non natives.  

This year felt like one step forward and 3 steps back but it is a start and we learned a lot so I need to remain positive.
 
Nancy Reading
master gardener
Posts: 2642
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland
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Thanks for the update Dorothy, it sounds like you`ve had your share of challenges this year. I hope your other half`s back is better.
If you`re interested in potato flowers (they are lovely!) check out the cultivariable site. They have a vast range of poatoes including ones grown form true seed (TPS) rather than tubers.
source

Bill may be able to advise on best varieties for your climate and best for flowers
 
Dorothy Pohorelow
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Location: Southeast corner of Wyoming
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Nancy Reading wrote:
If you`re interested in potato flowers (they are lovely!) check out the cultivariable site. They have a vast range of poatoes including ones grown form true seed (TPS) rather than tubers.
source

Bill may be able to advise on best varieties for your climate and best for flowers



Thank you for that tip.  I had not thought to check the site this fall.  Grin Cultivariable is the reason I bought my dahlia tubers for the yard.  I found White Aster tubers on Etsy and wow is that a hardy big plant. Sadly they are the ones that lost the race against "first winter" But I did get some nice healthy tubers to store for next year.   I did just order some dahlia seeds from him and preorder a few tubers of plants I want to try.  I foresee another interesting spring and summer in 2022...
 
Dorothy Pohorelow
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Just made a tiny step towards adding more food to my lot.  After a lot of research I ordered some seeds for a cultivar/selection of Amelanchier alnifolia called Smokey. The species are native to my area so can handle the climate, the cold, sun, and of course our never ending wind. If all goes well these will be giving us fruit in a few years and in the meantime will be a good replacement for those Spirea bushes that are dying now that the cottonwoods are no longer protecting them...

For this year I have 4 grow bags of potatoes in that area. My row of grow bags in the middle of the yard has increased to include 15 grow bags with tomatoes, 3 with onions, and two shallow grow bags with kale and other greens in them plus one has Apple cucumber seeds planted in it.  None have come up yet but..   I also have a rosemary, and two blueberry bushes in large pots. OH and my horseradish
On the west side we are waiting on winter squash to sprout and ramble along that part of the yard. I may not get ripe squash to store but will get some mass to compost.
Our back garden has been reorganized so I could include a cattle panel arch and I have increased the size of two of my boxes.  Pathways are narrower but still useable.  That garden has greens, beans both dry and snap, summer squash, cucumbers and of course more tomatoes and potatoes.
 
Dorothy Pohorelow
pollinator
Posts: 166
Location: Southeast corner of Wyoming
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Finally we have our arch over the garden entry and all boxes in place to plant.  Yes it is late but we are hoping for some crops. Of course my shelf tomatoes have been out almost a month and are starting to bloom, as are a few of our potatoes.
9115449C-5E59-4048-9763-60839C8BACA4.jpeg
Garden photos
Garden photos
D96FB0BA-EAB0-435A-AE12-25C03E61FA21.jpeg
Arch
Arch
 
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