Monday, June 3, 2013

Garden part 1

Despite this blasted rain, ITS STILL BEAUTIFUL SPRING which means..

I love to plant. I love green things. I love roots. I love the color of the earth when I dig a hole for a seedling. I love that even though I wear gloves, I still get my hands dirty. I could write poetry on how amazingly in love with the world and life and nature just the simple act of planting makes me feel. And you know what, just for the heck of it, here's a good one:

Teyethinonhweratons ne akwekon
onhwentsyáke kayen ne ohontehson'a
Otya'ke kakhwa itewaks.
Otya'ke ononhkwahson'a tewatstha'.
Akwekon teyethinonhweratons ne
Ohontehson'a tsi shekon

Etho niyohtonhak
ne onkwa'nikònra.
We give thanks for all of the vegetation on the earth.
Some are foods we eat.
Some are medicines we use.
We give thanks for all of the Plants that are still helping us.

So our minds will continue to be.

Its actually part of the Ohen:te Karihwatehkwen, the Mohawk prayer of Thanksgiving, which is really something quite beautiful to read and hear, and I encourage anyone to look it up and get a little glimpse of true Mohawk culture.

Now, that being done, lets talk about this years garden! Im pretty excited about it because I actually found a solution to my problem of lack of space/lack of permission from the landlord, and it came about so perfectly too. But before I reveal part 2, I want to introduce part 1. This year's exploring is all part of testing and pushing the limits of gardening in small areas. Im very into the whole 'grow food not lawns' thought, and that being said, I decided my flower beds would not have (although beautiful) flowers contained in their rectangular shapes anymore, but would rather contain a myriad of herbs. I love me some fresh herbs, and have been growing, using, drying/freezing my own for quite some time, a skill passed down from my mother. She's like my very own encyclopedia of growing things, that woman is. With a name, or even just a description, she can tell you where to plant, how much to water, sun/shade, harvest season, etc of pretty much anything that grows. Im in awe, constantly.

Anyways, the deal this year was to figure out what herbs I could plant with such a constrained depth for root growth and still get a maximum of produce. Here is what I planted:

Spearmint and Greek Oregano. Mint is such a vicious garden plant, if you dont wantch out for it, its going to take over everywhere! So the support is another experiment, I want to see if I can control its growth shape, like clematis on a trellis. So far so good. Those two are good to plant toguether, precisely because mint is so vocieferous and oregano just chills in its space, one giving balance to the other.

Basil, rosemary, and cilantro. Ive been working hard on the basil, trying to make it accept its constraints and flourish within it. Maybe if we could have some SUNSHINE it would be a bit easier. Rosemary and basil are both vertical plants, while cilantro spreads. If I could replant, I would have placed the cilantro between the two others, but so far so good. You can see how much cilantro grows and adapts quickly. A very healthy and vivacious plant that forgives easily.

Lemon thyme, chives, and curly parsley, all very calm and organized plants that dont need so much attention, excepting maybe the chives at this moment. I have to daily weed out the dying strands so the survivors can grow more firmly, but thats expected. Those three are like the chill neighbors who say hello but dont bother anyone or anything.

Potted flowers are pretty, but useless in most cases (although some are delectable). Besides who needs flowers when you can have friggin tomatoes on your front porch? The smell and sight of this always makes me happy. You see the little babies already growing? CANT WAIT!

From what Ive gathered with my previous notes from last year, the only plant here that could be in danger would be the basil. But also, Ive tried transplanting maybe 6 offshoots off the mint and theyve mostly fallen to their deaths, so I think theres more to observe in terms of shoot/stalk strenght vs root growth. From the amount of rain thats fallen in the last few days, I would say theyre more in danger of drowning than not being able to grow more, which was a major source of frustration. I had thought of bringing them in, sheltering from all that damned rain, but if I had planted them in the soil, I wouldnt have been able to protect them, and Im a tough love kind of gal, so in the measure of science, experimenting, and my own stubborn will, I left them out. The flower beds actually have great drainage as well.

Throughout this season, Ill give updates and how I use the herbs as well as how I preserve them for certain uses throughout the year. And part II will be finalized in the next couple of days, so thats going to be very exciting!

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