Archive for May, 2014

DIY Food Department: Urban Gardens Deepen and Diversify

I love this! It is happening, folks. Get in on the action, wherever you are, however you can. I just read that as of January 1, 2014, the US and Japan are allowed to sell each other’s “organic” produce without labeling origins. Um, Fukushima area has loads of organic farms. Personally, I would prefer to grow my own. You don’t need to have an insanely wild yard that takes all your time to transform into permaculture paradise. You could start with a small plot of square foot gardening, a window garden, community garden space, neighborhood yardshare, or a Garden Tower. With food prices set to skyrocket, you probably won’t get a better return on investment than fresh, free produce grown by you. Next best and equally important? Support your local organic farmers. Buy directly if you can, through CSA’s and at the local farmers market. These folks work so hard to provide us fresh, real food. We need to support them if we want to continue having such options. Bon Appetit!

Garden Update: Trellises, Flowers and Stacking Functions

backdoor gardening

Busy days here at Faery-Hof! This week focused on various trellising projects and acquiring an “instant” garden through my friend Kimber’s thinnings and castoffs. Yesterday, I got out some zip ties and quickly put together what I want to call a wabi sabi trellis for Malabar spinach, which will hide the apartment complex’s parking lot and afford us some backyard privacy:

trellis

The Malabar spinach supposedly grows fast, but it still has a ways to go before reaching the trellis:

malabar spinach

Also yesterday, Kimber — who is my garden’s favorite person this week — helped me re-trellis a grape vine that had begun to invade my peas:

grapes and peas

You can see the new trellis towards the right of the following photo, and the companion grape vine on the wooden fence. They haven’t produced grapes yet, but they seem happy, so we let them grow.

back gardens

I also needed to trellis one of my asparagus plants, which has grown taller than me! I got to practice a bean teepee style with bamboo poles:

asparagus

Up front, we’ve got repurposed tomato cages holding up newly thinned irises, also from Kimber. She recommended I cut them all back before planting, but I couldn’t resist instant flowers. Our next door neighbor was so funny last night, asking with wide eyes if I had “just planted those or did they grow that fast overnight because of your recent fish treatment?” (Kimber arranged for our yards to have a very special treatment normally reserved for farms, and I had warned our neighbors that it would stink for a day or so. It does! Still. He thought it smelled “like the Lake.”) Anyway, the neighbors keep track of the garden now, and his wide eyed question still makes me giggle. Next year, they won’t have tomato cages, but you plant irises shallowly, and they couldn’t hold their own weight without the cages.

irises

Another cool thing that came out of that conversation is that our neighbors offered to compost their food for use in the garden. He said they know nothing about composting, so they would like a list. Since they don’t eat exclusively organic food, I explained that I would probably build them a separate bin that I can use to compost weeds and to put the compost on flower beds. They’re excited to have some place to put food waste, since it forms the bulk of their trash. This really makes me smile, because a) I never have enough compost and b) it’s so cool that our neighbors are waking up to the world of compost! I gave them a small tomato plant for a porch garden this year, and I saw they had purchased some marigolds, too. The mom next door also, apparently, takes photos of our flowers and brings them in to show people at work.

I love how this garden — for all its insane amounts of work right now — is bringing neighbors together and keeping things out of the landfill. A neighbor up the street now plans to add wood mulch to a bed outside his house, and our wood mulch guy now has nine people on the delivery circuit for the mulch he used to need to pay to dump.

Finishing up the Kimber tribute from my garden, this sedum donation, divided into three, has finally begun to recover from transplant shock. I’ve now got three different types of sedum in the front yard and look forward to their fun forms. One of the sedums, not the one pictured below, will also serve as ground cover in the area killed off by a year of Mount Mulchmore.

sedum

In this front bed photo, you can see some recent perennials (Veronica) and various annuals procured on a Menard’s run with my friend Leah and her handy, dandy truck, which also hauled more compost (see why I am so happy about the neighbors?!), potting soil, and concrete slabs for our rain barrels. If you look closely, you can also see that our tiny lilac actually has a few blooms:

front bed

At the far north end of the front beds, I have been getting the greatest kick out of watching the long row of sunflowers follow the sun each day. This photo only shows about 1/3 of the length of that row:

sunnies

The rose bush I planted in honor of Gramma Irene is blooming like crazy:

rose bush

When I was growing up, we had rhododendrons in our front yard, and they would always bloom on my birthday. Our landlord planted this one right before we moved in, and sure enough, the first buds began to open on the eve of my birthday. Today they look even more lovely:

rhododendron

Despite having all this growing space out front, I’m so glad I got a Garden Tower this year. Wood mulch robs nitrogen the first year, so there’s a noticeable difference in growth rate between greens planted out front and greens in the Garden Tower. As long as I have greens, melons and flowers, I don’t care which arrangement they come from, but I would be freaking out if the slow growth up front was all we had to look forward to this year. Look at how lush the Garden Tower plants already are!

Garden Tower growing well

In the backyard, I’ve really been stacking functions — sunflowers and trellises for food and privacy on both sides of the yard. I also have this 24 foot long trellis set up with mulch, cardboard, concrete block “planters,” and companion plants. (We still need to add the other two 8 foot long trellises.)

long trellis

It’s not the prettiest setup, but it will do several things at once:

1) Trellis tomatoes, watermelons, gourds and pumpkins

2) The red plastic mulch will keep moisture in, prevent weeds growing through the mulch, heat up the layers of leaf and wood mulch, newspaper and coffee underneath, and reflect a more productive spectrum of light back onto the tomatoes and curcubits for higher fruiting rates

3) The cardboard shuts out light to weeds in front of the plastic mulch, giving the plants a better competitive edge, as well as moist soil in front of the mulched beds, in case those get dry. It will eventually form the first layer of a lasagna garden bed I’ll make this fall.

4) The concrete blocks and plant pots hold down the cardboard, while also giving space for companion plantings of marigolds, calendula, borage, mint and bee balm. I lost all my squash to vine borers last year, so this year I am determined to attract the right predators and repel the damaging pests. At season’s end, I will dump the spent soil into the lasagna beds and use the concrete blocks to hold tarps around our cold frame for added protection. Then, next year, I’ll probably cardboard another area of “lawn,” since this area will be ready for more regular gardening.

I’ve also enjoyed stacked functions of perennial edible beauty, in particular, the sea kale:

flowering sea kale

Sea kale is so pretty and so tasty that I bought another two starts for the center front bed. Next year they’ll provide some gorgeous green and white flowers before many other plants get going. It takes awhile for sea kale to adjust to transplant, but imho, it’s well worth the wait! Here it is again next to the pretty fava bean plants and Egyptian walking onions:

Fava's sea kale, onions

I’ve let the Red Russian Kale and spinach go to seed, too, so I can collect seed for next year, plus enjoy their beauty now. This bed will get cleared out very soon, so I can plant lima beans to regenerate the soil before another round of heavy feeding brassica’s in late summer/fall/winter:

kale and spinach to seed

We’ll finish up today with yarrow and clover, over and over. 🙂 Actually, this grouping happened spontaneously, and I’d love to recreate it all over the yard! Our yarrow hasn’t shown color yet, but the blooms are a bright magenta, which goes so well with the red clover blossoms. This combo nourishes the soil, provides a spot of beauty, and attracts all sorts of beneficial bugs. Gotta love it!

yarrow and clover

New Horizons – New Moon in Gemini May 28th, 2014

Gentle, yet deep insights from Tania Marie about yesterday’s New Moon in Gemini and what that energy can mean for us. I find it interesting just how many diverse people experienced similar intensities and sudden needs for decision in May … and how many diverse people felt a shift into new levels of calm this past week. A lot of swirling dust storms have settled just since the weekend. It takes a New Moon to anchor that new energy, though, so here we go. Enjoy some slow breathing after a month of hyperventilation. Thanks, T!

Tania Marie's Blog

Tania Marie in EcuadorThere is a challenging aspect to this New Moon in Gemini, as it is a Neptunian New Moon, which means that although we are feeling ready to clarify our thoughts, ideas, feelings, and actions, the dreaminess of Neptune in Pisces can result in potential fog, unless you can embrace and flow with it, engaging its creative ability to help you to imagine greater and more possibilities than you may have arrived at. Otherwise, you may get caught in the confusion and illusion, remaining stuck in believing the fantasy and seeing what you want to see, rather than your authentic truth.

So rather than experience rude awakenings from denial of self and others, we can engage our truth by remaining grounded, while keeping open to higher potential. Be willing to take the risks with the knowing you are supported.

Neptune energy can also create that “Oneness” experience to everything and that…

View original post 734 more words

Quick Reminders

Last Three Days for May 2014 Specials and one more week to sign up for Reiki Level 1 Certification in Goshen, IN:

MAY 2014 SPECIALS

45-Minute Intuitive Life Path Assessment

A slightly shortened and discounted version of the usual hour ($175) session, this 45-minute reading helps you identify where you are, where you’ve been and where you’re heading on your soul’s long journey. Great for clarifying intentions, discerning “should’s” and for anyone curious about what your soul values above and beyond societal customs and expectations. $122 if paid on or before 5/31/14.

Please contact me if you’d like to sign up.

Buy Four, Get Five Tarot Readings

Sometimes people want guidance about relationships, goals, decisions and/or progress checks along the way. Tarot offers a fun, lower cost way to check in. Based on synchronous selection of the cards and my own interpretation of the spreads, these readings include emailed photos of the cards so that you can follow along. Tarot is not a replacement for Medical Intuitive readings, but I am continually astounded by just how much the cards do reveal about all sorts of topics. This Tarot special offers a great alternative for people who would love some intuitive readings or intuitive life coaching at a lower price point. $222 buys you five (half hour) sessions, which can be used at your own pace if paid on or before 5/31/14. (That works out to five half hour Tarot sessions for just $47 more than one hour of my usual intuitive/coaching rate.)

Please contact me if you’d like to sign up.

EVENTS:

REIKI 1 CERTIFICATION CLASS now forming for June 7, 2014 in GOSHEN, INDIANA

I’ll be teaching another Reiki Level 1 Certification Class on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at Assembly Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana. We’ve already got quite a few students and auditing previous students, but this is a big enough space that we still have some room. Two recently trained Reiki Master Teachers will also be auditing/assisting with this class as part of their ongoing training. If you live in the Michiana area or even Chicago, which is about three hours away, this is a great opportunity to learn a natural, gentle form of energy healing.

Reiki is an ancient healing method rediscovered in the 19th century by the Japanese monk Dr. Mikao Usui. The “Rei” in Reiki stands for “universal” or” spiritual,” and the “ki” corresponds to the “life force energy” known as “Chi” or “prana” in other Eastern systems of healing and energy work such as feng shui, Tai Chi, Qigong, or yoga. Thus, Reiki refers to “universal life force energy,” “divinely directed healing energy,” or “life energy of a spiritual nature,” with an emphasis on subtle energy fields rather than the physical body. By working on all the different levels, Reiki helps the body to relax into a state that allows optimal self-healing.

Students will learn the history and science of Reiki, all hand positions for treating self and others, how to begin a Reiki healing practice, and they will receive a Reiki Level 1 Attunement and full certification to this level. Taking a Reiki class with me also permits students to audit for free (space permitting) any level Reiki Certification Class up to the level taken with me. I have had the privilege of teaching all levels of Reiki since 2002, all over the United States, and am so pleased that many of my students not only use Reiki in their own lives, but are also teaching Reiki classes to their own students.

Please contact me for details.

This Is Your Mind on Neptune – Today’s New Moon in Gemini

As usual, Emily provides an excellent description of today’s energies. Happy New Moon!

virgo magic

gemini new moon collage by Emily

Today’s New Moon is super-Neptunian – are you feeling it? Sleepy, spacey, weepy, overwhelmed… Honestly, I’m feeling so freakin’ lazy that I just want to refer you to (or plagiarize from) the post I wrote about last year’s Gemini New Moon, because it’s basically the same deal (well, this New Moon is a little different, but last year’s post is still worth reading or re-reading).

The New Moon (at 7 degrees Gemini) forms an exact square – 90-degree, challenging angle – to Neptune, God/Goddess of the Ocean (at 7 Pisces). The typically light, airy, intellectual, chatty, busy-busy Gemini New Moon instead takes on a Neptunian flavor – watery, deep-feeling, uber-sensitive, imaginative, inward-turning, and potentially escapist, addictive, self-pitying and victimy (shadow Neptune).

Drawing us further into the dreamtime, Neptune is also stationing – standing still in the sky before turning Retrograde on June 9. We’ll continue…

View original post 694 more words

The Voice

Thanks to Tania Marie and Shel Silverstein. For some reason, I felt led to click through to Tania’s public FB page today and saw this, even though I’m not on FB. Perfect message for anyone wavering on big decisions!

The Voice

Vandana Shiva: “Soil, not oil, is the future of humanity. It’s no accident that ‘human’ and ‘humus’ have the same root.”

Last lotus reblog of today.