The different stages of our raised veggie patch!
These photos were taken over about two weeks, because as it turns out gardening is hard work and we’re slouchy procrastinators. First we had to cut up and shovel out the existing lawn, followed by extensive removal of any roots (there were a lot). I put down layered newspaper to block the light, in order to prevent any new weeds from shooting through. I left a bare patch of soil in the centre so the worms have a little window to come and go. I then hosed the newspaper down and lightly covered it all with dirt. We had a huge pile of quality soil from the local landscapers delivered - a fantastic mix including peat, compost and manure. We left this out to age for a week or so. Today Mum came over to help Dad and I finally fill the box and plant the seedlings. We have broccoli, celery, mini cos lettuce, basil and carrots growing. Excited to see how they go!
Procrastination or not, it looks great!
Pasilla or Chilaca Pepper
This variety of the species Capsicum annum is known as Chilaca when fresh and Pasilla when dried. Pasilla peppers are used mainly in sauces. It has a rich flavor, but is not very hot. This pepper is one of the main ingredients of mole negro, a sauce used in Mexican cuisine.
I have one plant of these in my garden. Lord knows we that during the summer we run through pasilla like they’re going out of style.
Hugelkultur, meaning “hill culture” in German, is a method of raised bed gardening that uses decaying wood as a basis for building up a berm. Berms are useful in directing the flow of water, and protecting more delicate plants from prevailing wind damage.
For this simple hugelkultur garden, I have piled sticks and wood, covered them in compost, planted my shrubs, and mulched the resulting berm first with a layer of newspapers, and a second with a layer of wood chips.
As the wood breaks down, it will create a rich soil with plenty of air pockets, allowing for excellent drainage and root penetration for the plants planted in the mound.
Hugelkultur raised beds are an excellent form of “no-dig” garden (like the straw bale gardens) making them a good choice for those with impaired mobility or strength. They also sequester carbon, and provide a handy use for all of the trimmings from pruning and hedge maintenance.
My yard has poor drainage, so building up the soil it the only sustainable way to utilise the space without creating a pond. Hugelkultur beds provide excellent drainage for plants that don’t like “wet feet” (ie. waterlogged root systems).
This it what I was talking about regarding my extra native soil. Little hills or berms work well with native plants. At my former place, I had one with succulents and wildflowers.
There are several more here:
Reblogged for ‘old-timey’.
Borrowed landscape; evening sun through my neighbour’s cherry tree
At my former home, there was a date palm. Every week, we had to sweep up the seeds covered with flies. The seeds would fill up 1/4 of our 55 gallon trashcan. I still spent hours pulling volunteer seedlings. When we moved, I was too happy to leave that life behind.
Sadly, in the move, I replaced one annoying tree for another. My current nemesis is a guava tree. Sure, in the picture it looks innocent and friendly, but come fall it will turn into a stinky, sloppy mess. It’s the Drunk Friend of trees. I am resenting all of these seeds everywhere and volunteer trees growing in my pots.
Do you have a garden nemesis?
Thinking more on the White House Victory Garden, I get a little upset thinking it’s a wasted opportunity to expand gardening education to the citizenry. The problem may not be the White House directly. The WH garden is tied to Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. There are resources at the site, but I wonder how many people actually know that. I don’t watch talk shows, so I’m not sure if when she appeared on those shows gardening information was shared. I do know that what I’ve heard and seen of her appearances for Let’s Move has been solely focused on exercise. (This works out well for my exercise Tumblr. <evil laugh>)
The groundbreaking for the WH Garden was in 2009; first seeds were planted in 2010. That’s FOUR years of possible visible education on gardening, not just the benefits, but also information how-tos for all gardening zones in this huge country. Prime chance to invite farmers, Master Gardeners, public gardens & home gardeners to show off their skills. Even if it was just mining people from USDA’s The People’s Garden, that would’ve been something. There are 15 video clips on the Let’s Move site, many with famous people & chefs which is boring to me. I know how to cook and would rather see actual home gardeners doing their thing. There are a handful of informational videos. Granted, the White House’s growing season is vastly different than mine, but that’s where bringing in people from all over the country gardening in various ways would be beneficial.
All of that aside, there is a disconnect between citizens and their knowledge of what government does. I am always amazed when I speak to local gardeners who had no idea the USDA even had information about gardening on their site. They thought the Department just inspects food sources and plays with intake numbers. When I show them government resources from our city, country, state and federal levels they wish they had known sooner. Of course, in my neighborhood it would better if all of the sites were also in Spanish, Hmong, Hindi and Cantonese. (I’m tired of my crappy translating skills, y’all.) So many people here garden by word-of-mouth or just what they saw their parents or grandparents doing. That tradition is great and I’ve learned from that as well. The old ways and new ideas or technology should be shared