My plans are somewhat ambitious and will probably be tempered by my physical limitations, but at the moment I am considering adding a small shallow pond to attract birds, more vegetables in large pots at the sunny back end of the trailer, the addition of several native plants to the garden, a seating area, and some "vertical" gardening.
I started out thinking I'd concoct a shelf-like apparatus at the front end of the trailer and another on the side, so I could put potted plants in those mostly sunny areas. Over a period of several days I have looked at a whole range of vertical gardening ideas and have worked out a plan I think will work. My idea is to plant them with fast-growing food crops, like mesclun, spinach, Chinese greens, plus a variety of herbs and flowers.
My basic plan is to begin with one of two structures; I am not certain which would work best. It may come down to which is easiest to build. Plan number one would be to use sturdy bamboo or plastic reed fencing (standing upright) as the base, secured into the ground with rebar. I would cover the fencing with heavy plastic sheeting. Over the sheeting I'd staple a layer of thick, porous material like inch-thick polyester quilt batting or the furnace filter material you can buy by the roll. What I want is an open cell structure, through which small roots can grow. A second layer of batting would be stapled over the first. I'd cut openings in this layer just large enough to slip a seedling into. The second plan would be to build a frame, secure plastic signboard to it and proceed as above with the porous fabric.
This is basically a hydroponic system. Nutrients will be supplied with each watering cycle. I thought about water reservoirs or drip systems but decided that the simplest thing is just to buy a hose-end sprayer attachment and water that way. If it becomes too difficult to keep up I might install reservoirs or soaker hoses.
The advantage of these vertical walls is that they would take up very little space. I could basically have a living fence. Of course it might not work, but the idea that something might not work hasn't stopped me from trying other hair-brained ideas I've dreamed up over the years. This idea will have to wait until spring. In the meantime I have planted the seeds we gathered yesterday, without a clue as to whether they need stratification or any other special treatment. I plopped them in small compost-filled pots, watered them and set them up against the skirt of the trailer to face winter.
On our walk Zak and I gathered seeds or berries from a variety of shade-loving plants which should grow well in my garden:
|Mahonia [Berberis] aquifolium commonly called Oregon Grape. Beautiful evergreen foliage which turns bronze in the fall, loads of yellow flowers in the spring and edible (though sour) blue berries in the late summer and early fall.|
|Symphoricarpos albus, the Common Snowberry, which is grown for its blue foliage and attractive (though inedible) white berries.|
|Sedum integrifolium commonly called Rose Root. This little succulent sedum propagates with runners. We found some growing in loose sand which were easy to pick out. We took half a dozen teeny plants, and I re-sited them in my garden this morning.|
The great thing about gardening is that there's always some new project or plant to keep you buzzing. And the farther away spring is the more grandiose the projects. LOL