Summer Time Update

Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

As I hinted in the last post, I’ll add a few pictures of my ‘front’ garden, which is home to the tomatoes and peppers – but more than that, it’s a work in progress.  I want to create a self-sustaining wildlife garden, full of native drought resistant, self-seeding or perennial plants that will feed the butterflies, moths, bees and birds.

The rear garden is a resounding success in terms of good bug population.  The earthworms are outstanding!  I see spiders duck and run every time I turn the water on.  Winged things are numerous, mostly tiny flies and wasps, but also lacewings, ladybugs, dragonflies, blue winged wasps and parasitic wasps.  It’s a good thing, because I’ve seen a good share of the bad bugs too!

Nearly discouraged, I’ve fought to keep my course with the gardens.  They’re not pretty and tidy.  There are no neat rows of voluptuous vegetables.  That’s a tough pill to swallow for an OCD type, let me tell you.  What I have, as you’ve seen, is a structured series of beds, fraught with untidy, self-strewn weeds and such.  Oh My!

The good news is that it’s working.  I’m experimenting with self-seeding, to allow the garden to become less time intensive for me.  What I learned by mistake is that many things we weren’t really aware of will survive a hard winter.  You’ll be as surprised as I was to learn that Pole Beans (particularly heirloom rattlesnake beans) will overwinter and produce heartily.  I now have them springing up nearly everywhere in my garden, right along my overly productive cilantro.  Cantaloupe has also made its own special appearance, along with dill, parsley, watermelon, potatoes, and lettuce.

I’m going to purposely allow several plants to rot on the vine/plant, and just do a minimal rake in and leaf cover at the end of the growing season.  This will allow me to find out how many of these wonderful, fabulous heirlooms will simply grow when they’re ready to grow.

Back to work for me – and for those who are new viewers, mine are gardens of full-on experiments, as I struggle to produce a winning combination of many gardening theories:  permaculture, forest garden, hugelkultur, polyculture, and medicinal native edibles.  Join in, but expect random posts, cuz I’m a busy dreamer.  :)

 

Rough paths and patches of 'weeds' for winged visitors.

Rough paths and patches of ‘weeds’ for winged visitors.

Permanent wood strip cage for the tomatoes, with space for wire cages inside.

Permanent wood strip cage for the tomatoes, with space for wire cages inside.

It’s hard to tell, but I dug a deep trench between the tomatoes and the peppers and have filled it with a deep layer of straw.  I fill the trench to provide deep watering, as the Kansas heat will take a toll on these plants if I conventional water them.

Tree limb lined paths and patches of native weeds and self-seeding flowers.

Tree limb lined paths and patches of native weeds and self-seeding flowers.

 

And a final picture – the most recent from the rear garden:

rear garden view

 

Back to work!

Dreamin’

 

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Spring Garden Gallery

The back garden plot is finally on its way.  I hope to get the warm weather vegetables into the soil this weekend, as the cool veggies take the lead.

Interspersed with intentional planting are the allowed beneficial weeds:  lambsquarter, shepherd’s purse, henbit, dandelion and goatsbeard.  These serve to feed the pollinators as the vegetation and flora take their sweet time.

The permanent beds are built from a tilled space.  I rake trenched the pathways, then covered them with landscape cloth, old rug scraps and thick straw.  The beds have been lined with materials scavenged from both our yard and the neighboring lots, mostly tree limb scraps.  This keeps the beds from being overly compacted, gives me a clean and weed free path, and allows establishment of perennials.  I’m hoping that the trenched paths will also provide deep irrigation for the beds, as we’re likely to be in drought conditions again.

Edit:  The photos below have descriptions, which are best viewed in full format.  Simply click on a photo to activate the gallery.

I’ll post the front garden next…

Dreamin’

Garden Thoughts

Gearing up for Spring, and dreaming of gardens and growing and harvest, reality comes crashing in and sets the tone.  That reality washed over me as I posted my recent activity in my garden journal.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to track what I plant and when and how it progresses, with notes to mark target dates, spacing and sunlight needs.  I use a new sheet for each garden year, copying the previous year and revising it to start the new season.

garden plot

Plot of garden spaces and containers, showing the sunlight by color

Distracted from this progress by a newly discovered idea, I had been engrossed in creating a garden plot on a separate sheet in the workbook and forgot to start my new tab.  Last night, I copied the tab – realizing that I was copying from the previously noted season of… 2011.

garden journal

Chart of plants and their needs with planting dates and progress notes, color coding left over from 2011

I’ve had a rough couple of years, and I was very aware of that fact.  I just hadn’t realized how drastically it had affected my garden plans until last night.

The past few months have been busy with bursts of organization, purging, and planning.  Activities that had been lacking for the most part during these years evidenced as missed tabs on my garden journal.

I was stirring last year, laying down a plot for a permanent garden, plotting about how to attract beneficial insects, and setting down ideas for permanent plants.  It’s time now.  Time to sink some roots.  Time to take hold of the time I have available and figure out how to do things I need to do.

Time to start gettin’ busy.

Dreamin’