Since we ordered SO many things for this year, and expanded how much space we were gardening in, I decided to go over groups of things in separate posts, in no particular order and spread over the next few days.
There were a few things we planted this year that we won’t know how they will do until next year, at the earliest!
The first of these are the wildflower mixes.
Now, what we should have done, under better circumstances, was clear out our chosen locations of all roots in the fall, loosen the soil, then plant the seeds in the spring.
We just don’t have the equipment for that. Especially for the areas we would be planting them.
This is one such area.
Can you imagine going over this with a tiller, then clearing out all those roots, as recommended? Especially since there are a lot of tree roots in here; I had to go over the area and cut them away before I could mow it.
This is outside the property, and technically not our responsibility to keep clear, but my family has kept it from getting overgrown for as long as I can remember. Inside the fence from here is where we had our corn and sunflower blocks this past summer.
This is where the package of Western Mix seeds went. They didn’t get broadcast until there was no possibility of early germination. Normally, that would probably have been around mid September, but it ended up being at the start of November! I put the seeds in an old bulk-size spice shaker with some soil, gave it a shake to make sure they were well mixed in with the soil, and scattered it not far from where we had just installed the new sign. In the photo, that would be basically right where I was standing to take it. I didn’t want to spread the seeds too close to the fence line, so we wouldn’t be walking on flowers while tending to the fence.
In theory, when the snow melts in the spring, they will germinate and this area will have wildflowers growing in it. The purpose is to attract pollinators, and to make it so we no longer need to mow here at all. The ultimate goal is for almost this entire area, all the way to the driveway, to be filled with native wildflowers.
We shall see how it works, some time in the spring!
This is where the alternative lawn mix went. The area was raked clear of leaves, raked again to loosen the soil (it’s almost bare soil in between the rows of trees, with some crab grass trying to grow in it), the seeds scattered the same way I did with the Wildflower mix, then the leaves were returned as a mulch.
As with the other seeds, I expected to do this in the middle of September, not the beginning of November.
Hopefully, when the snow melts and the soil warms up, we’ll have all sorts of things growing here. If it works out, we’ll get more of these seeds and use them in other treed areas that are difficult to maintain, but we don’t want to leave to become overgrown again.
Then there are my Christmas presents from my husband.
More specifically, spores for morels and giant puffballs.
Morel mushrooms are native to the area, but I have never seen any in the home quarter. I remember finding them in the unoccupied quarter that is rented out for pasture, even though it’s probably at least half trees, plus a pond and marshy area. It’s highly unlikely we’ll have a chance to go morel hunting out there, so being able to inoculate an area inside our yard is definitely preferable! This location was chosen because the instructions recommended several different types of trees to spread the spores under, but the only one that grows here is elm. After checking out a number of videos on how to grow morels, I built this bed for it, with carboard to keep the crab grass out, and inoculated layers of wood shavings and hardwood pellets.
The spores for the giant puffballs needed a couple of days in water with molasses first. The instructions said to pour the liquid over grass, and I chose this area between the rows of elms, because it’s not easy to mow or keep clear.
Puffball mushrooms are also native to our area, though I’ve never seen the giant varieties. These guys are supposed to get so big, you can cut them into steaks.
The thing with these is, we will have no idea if it worked, until something pops up, and that could potentially take years!
At least they didn’t cost much when my husband ordered them on Amazon. Over the years, we plant to get spores from other types of edible mushrooms to inoculate trees and logs. Recently, I went over the wish list I’d made of different mushroom types on Amazon, and the prices are almost 10 times what they were before! I even tried comparing like-for-like by finding the same Morel spores my husband had ordered. The price increase was really shocking!
There are other places to get mushroom spores, however, and I’d rather not order from Amazon, anyhow. Whether or not these work out, I still want to get other types of mushroom spores over the years to try. Types that are either hard to find in grocery stores, or that are just way too expensive to be worth buying.
A very different way to grow food, but a fun one to try!