Friday, June 20, 2014

Gardening Journey: Is there something growing there?


 The garden is starting to come together... not as bustling as I'd like it to be this time of year, but somethings happening for sure. Unfortunately, there's probably more weeds than anything else, but I'm doing my best to keep them under control until we can get some more mulch down. Gardeners, what is your preferred mulch? We used cedar wood chips to start, but I learned afterwards this might be a no-no because they take longer to break down. I was thinking about pine needles... gathering them from the forest, but there is some debate about the acidity, and I'm also worried they will just blow away. (This study was pretty interesting, suggesting they are no more acidic than rain water within a short period of being used.) If anyone has experience with pine needles, good or bad, let me know! This Fall I'd like to try sheet mulching so I can get in early in the Spring like a proper gardener who knows what they're doing. Everything but the garden seems to grow fast in our yard, so I think mulching is necessary.

The wooden poles in the center of the garden (old Christmas trees slightly charred in a bonfire) form a teepee that morning glories will grow up, which will also provide a play house for the girls.  As mentioned before, we're trying a mandala garden this year inspired by Gaia's Garden, and it's finally starting to take shape as many of the seedlings have emerged now, and most of the starter plants are in. I think there are a few things I need to replant... my lettuce is patchy... and not many pumpkin seeds have sprouted yet... it might be the cedar mulch causing problems for the lettuce... I pushed it back for planting, but rain has been moving it around. The pumpkins had plenty of room, so I'm not sure why they're giving me a rough time. I've already replanted them, so we'll see if the second attempt works out.


My little garden fairy has been helping me keep the grass watered. Gardening with two little ones near a busy road is not as idyllic as it may seem... haha. I spend far too much time pulling a weed and then running to catch the one year old from endless peril. But like an old pony, I keep trudging along, despite the fact that I know this garden will not be the talk of the town, unless it's to say, "Have you seen the jungle the Wildwood's have in their yard?"


Speaking of plants that grow like jungles, I'm excited to try out my first batch of comfrey tea fertilizer that should be ready soon. Check out this video to learn about the virtues of comfrey. A piece of the stem rubbed on poison ivy dries it out and takes away the itch in a day, as I discovered last year.


I am taking solace from my pathetic vegetable garden in the perennial blooms this year. The peony bush we planted when we moved here five years ago finally took off with giant white blooms.


 Our lupines are spreading too, and they are always a delight!


 We planted a bunch of zinnias from seed in the front flower bed, and most are doing well. But many of our sunflowers didn't emerge so I planted more the other day.


We bought some potted strawberries which are being eaten as quickly as they turn red. I'll try putting them in the soil as soon as they are done producing fruit so they can maybe come back next year (I have no idea if this will work, but I didn't want the birds to steal our precious fruit.)


 Oh, the peonies! Can you smell them?! They'll be gone all too soon.


I thought I'd leave you today with a bit of gardening inspiration.... exciting reads and links to checkout...


Here's what I've been reading:
- "Wild Color"  (taken out from the library) Did you know birch bark makes a lovely pink dye? I'll have to try it sometime.
- "Perennial Vegetables" (also a library loaner) Not sure how many of these veggies my picky eaters would try, but it was fun to think about.
- Gaia's Garden This one I did invest in... a great guide to starting a permaculture garden... I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I think I'm learning a lot from it.
- Taproot magazine: the latest issue, "Seed", has so much garden inspiration, and I squealed and clapped my hands ( I never do that!) when a little garden journal illustrated by Phoebe Wahl popped out from inside the pages. Such a cool gift, and such a special magazine!
- "The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids" (another library find) has some great basic gardening information as well as creative ideas for gardening with the kiddos... I might have to add this one to my personal library at some point

And Watching:
- Edible Garden I adore this show... I watched all six episodes in the winter, and it's what led me to start thinking about permaculture. She makes an enchanting garden in her urban backyard.
- Fork to Fork  organic gardening tips and simple recipes from the garden.. I've only watched the first one so far, but it's quite charming... and I do so wish I had their old timber frame home

Looking:
- Beautiful Rock Design
- Tree Stump Path
- Urban Mandala Garden
- "Blackberry Patch" by Julianna Swaney


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