Starting the Garden for Spring 2021

Collard greens from years past are still growing in the garden.

People have asked, but had to tell them that I did not do anything in the garden during the Winter of 2020 into 2021. After growing something in the garden for several years, I figured that it was time to give it a break.

Observations

Things like onion chives and garlic chives have managed several frosts that have occurred during the winter. This two herbs are both in a raised bed and a pots. The onion plant did create seeds last year, so those will probably self plant themselves and grow more onion plants this year as I did not collect the seeds.

Pine Mulch

In 2019, I used Pine mulch in the garden. Laid it on thick. What I eventually found out was that the pine mulch can change the acidity of the soil. Given that I had put a lot of it down, I think it really changed the acidity of the soil. Reason I say this is because things that would normally grow without much difficulty, such as tomatoes, were struggling to keep afloat. I thought about, but never did, get a soil test done to confirm this theory. A lot of the signs were present.

In 2020, I turned that mulch into the soil in addition to adding amendments to the soil to give the plants what they need to be successful. I did see a better outcome in 2020 because of this and have learned a valuable lesson in doing so.

Hackberry Trees

I used the winter time of the year, to cut down some trees that were along the property line. These trees are called Hackberry Trees. In 2017, I had one split. It the split portion of the tree fell over into my yard. In 2019, there was another Hackberry Tree that split. This time it split over into the neighbor's yard. I have also had branches randomly break off and split from other Hackberry Trees.

The reason that I wanted to cut the trees was because:

  1. they block a lot of the southern and western sunlight from reaching the garden during the summer time.
  2. wanted to reduce the chance of having another tree splitting and landing in the neighbors yard.
  3. there were two many trees along the property line. Thus wanted to thin them out as some of them had their growth stunted by other trees.

In total, I cut two trees down. One was about 25 feet (7.62 meters) tall, the other about 20 feet (6.096 meters) tall. After cutting them down into managable pieces, they will be placed on the firewood stand that I built to dry and eventually be burned in the firepit.

In the later summer of 2020, I cut down 3 Hackberry Trees. Unfortunately, I got multiple bites, from what I believe were spider bites, and had to seek treatment for those bites as they severely itched. Figured the winter season, would kill them off and less like to have that happen again.

Hackberry Trees Splitting

What I found from doing some internet research, it is very common for Hackberry Trees to split where to or more branches meet. The reason being is that the meeting point for the branches have a tendency to develop into a bowl shape instead of like the peak of a roof. This bowl shape, holds water and over time the water rots out the branch. Once enough rot has formed, the weight of the branch causes the branch to break or, in my case, the tree to split in half do to the weight of the branches.

Collard and Mustard Greens

I still have collard greens in the garden. These greens were planted around late 2018 and have gone to seed and kept growing. This is not normal behavior as the other collard greens that were planted in the raised beds and in containers have died off after they went to seed.

I also have some mustard greens that are starting to grow now. I assume these are from the seeds that fell off the previously growing plants. I will probably dig them up before they get too big and put them in one of the growing beds so that they have a better chance of surviving the upcoming growing season.

2021 Growing Plans

This year and I plan on sticking with some of the same veggies that I have grown in the past, such as bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic chives, onion chives, and mint.

Want to add more fruits this year, but not sure which ones as tomatoes usually draw some bugs that I'm not familiar with and are difficult to get rid of.

Also want to be better about documenting about what is going on in the garden this year. This will allow me to better keep track of past experiences and share those experiences with others.

Keywords: garden, gardening, backyard garden