Posts Tagged ‘Organic Gardening’

The August Garden

Some photos of Dra’Faven’s front yard cottage garden:

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Edible Landscaping Secrets

I get so many questions from people about permaculture, edible landscaping, Robinhood roses, and “permaculture in pots” that I thought I’d list some of the top things I’ve discovered here. This is by no means a comprehensive post — just sharing some of the beauty and a handful of general tips. (If you would like personal assistance with your own situation, this month’s Property Reading Special can include that.)

Combine Flowers with Veggies:

One of the easiest ways to sneak edibles into a “regular” landscape is to intermingle them with flowers. Passersby will notice the blooms but not the edible. This purple iris and columbine camouflage purple and green radicchio. The taller, vibrant plants distract critters from the radicchio, while the lower radicchio covers the soil and keeps it from drying out so fast. The radicchio is so well hidden that I forgot it was even there, until I found it un-nibbled and happy in the slight shade provided by the purple maple and taller flowers:

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Even trickier, you can plant edible flowers like nasturtiums, violets, hibiscus, borage, and roses. Many herbs like sage and lavender flower as part of their life cycle, and squash blossoms are not only beautiful but delicious!

Consider Color:

Many vegetables come in unusual colors beyond what you find in the grocery store. Sources like Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds specialize in rare and colorful varieties of garden classics. Even standards like red chard can play nicely with coordinated snapdragons and pansies like we have approaching our front door:

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Garden Update: Bursting Forth and Bittersweet

I’ve been so busy with sessions and house hunting, which makes this season’s Dance of Spring a little bittersweet. The literally thousands of bulbs I’ve planted as recently as last Autumn have begun their smiling jigs and Sufi swirls. I still contend that this circle of miniature daffodils I planted around our North Star Cherry tree, visible from the stairwell’s window, was one of the very best gifts I’ve ever given myself:

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You can also see the chives poking through as they prepare to bloom in the season of alliums, while the Elfin Thyme ground cover awaits warmer weather.

As David and I view property after property, Continue reading

Flowers in November: Some Beauty on a Gorgeous Day

Getting back to more of the garden variety garden posts, here are some flowers still blooming today, plus a bouquet I made David’s mom this past Saturday.

Zinnias:

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Veronica:

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Cosmos and sedum:

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Mums and sweet alyssum:

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Saturday’s bouquet with blackeyed Susan’s, lavender, cosmos, sedum, zinnias, yarrow, foxglove, and bachelor’s buttons. We’ve also got wild violets, snapdragons, calendula, nasturtiums, and more still smiling in the yard — at least until this coming Friday’s hard frost. I enjoy it while I can!

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Blessed Be …

and be the blessing!

 

 

Invasive Species, Black Walnuts, Narcissists, and a Comment Bump-Up

I’ve received some emails and comments about yesterday’s post, Clearing Fog: Higher Discernment and Effective Tools to Free Yourself from Confusion, Narcissists and Sociopaths, and I just want to remind everyone that I consider myself primarily an artist in all things I do, including in my garden and on this blog.

In the garden, as on the blog, context is everything. The very same “beneficial” plant in one setting could become toxic and invasive in another setting. Tansy attracts all the right bugs, but left to set seed, it can completely overtake your garden, as well as your neighbors’ yards. If you plant it, know what you’re dealing with, and keep those seeds in check. If you don’t want to be careful, then don’t plant tansy.

Black walnut trees provide excellent walnuts, but the juglone they exude happens to poison most surrounding plants, even for years after cutting them down. Do black walnut trees have zero value? Should they be avoided at all costs? That depends on what you’re trying to grow around them. If you love black walnuts for their calories, heart healthy fats, and taste, then maybe you want to plant black walnut trees. Maybe you want to create an entire guild of black walnut trees and compatible plants, because you love what those plants offer. No problem there — unless you want to grow juglone intolerant plants around their drip line or roots. If you want a regular garden, then don’t plant black walnuts. If you have black walnuts around, you will need to know how to protect your soil and plants from juglone contamination. Context makes a difference in what and how you decide to plant.

Japanese knotweed is the bane of ecosystems, a highly, highly invasive species that out competes native species and can ruin yards, parks and gardens. Would I ever plant it? Nope. Does it have value as a foraged plant? You betcha. Japanese knotweed happens to grow extremely well in Lyme-endemic areas like Wisconsin, and guess what? The exceptionally high resveratrol content in Japanese knotweed just happens to be an effective alternative treatment for Lyme Disease. It also makes delicious rhubarb-like deserts, and tastes amazing as a pickle. Is Japanese knotweed evil? Should it be sprayed with increasingly strong toxic chemicals? Or could it provide an enormous amount of free food and medicine for restaurants, wild food foragers and people needing to strengthen their immune systems?

Please take any article or video I post within context of the post. Just because I post an informative video or article that speaks to the topic at hand does not mean I fully endorse the person or their work in any and all contexts. It means I found value in what they shared related to the information at hand. I write so many posts about discernment in order to help individual readers increase their own process of discernment. My posting something does not absolve you of your own responsibility for discerning in your own life and its own unique contexts. Like an artist, as a blog writer, I feel into what feels important to express, and I pick and choose colors, words, images, articles and/or videos that help to make that expression more available.

I do the same thing in the garden with plant selection. I would not and do not knowingly plant invasive species, but if something is already there, and it provides exactly what I’ve been looking for, I will find a use for it until I find a way to eradicate it, if I find it’s posing an active risk. Context makes a difference with plants and with people. Some narcissists and sociopaths do incredible work. I’ve actually found that these types of people vie with one another for control, and so often they provide extremely useful tools for seeing through other narcissists and sociopaths. That doesn’t mean I want to watch every video they’ve ever done, want them as a friend, or endorse all their work. Unless I specifically say that I endorse someone or that this person is a friend of mine, then I am not blanket endorsing them. As an artist, I have merely decided that this particular color works well here. As a gardener, I’ve decided that this particular plant would look good here and provide value to its neighbors. As a blogger, it means I find this particular piece valuable in this particular context.

The world is not black or white. It has a whole lot of grey. If you can’t decide between a and b, that’s likely due to the infinite distance and variances between a and b that you haven’t considered. Empowerment includes wading through the grey to find your own answers. If you need help with that, I’m happy to assist through articles and/or sessions; however, the decisions on how to act or what to do with information remain your own responsibility. Here’s how one reader has applied some of the material on this and other blogs. I write and garden to inspire and to create more beauty in the world. Sometimes that involves looking at big piles of compost and recognizing how everything and everyone have value. Context is key. Knowing what you desire to create in your life, how you wish to feel and how you wish to be … all of these are keys, too.

Comment bump up from Seattle72:

Gaslight is a really good movie. Gives me shivers watching it. Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman are brilliant in it. A 19 year old Angela Landsbury is in the cast as well.
In the aftermath of ending a recent relationship, I was getting bummed thinking that it seems all men are abusive narcissists in some form. Then I was whacked upside the head with the realization it only seems that way because I keep trying to master my trauma to rewrite history to prove I’m worth loving, by cycling through the same story, with similar players, over and over again.
I really started to buy into the idea that I must be crazy because when I was with him, things seemed so good. He dangled the carrot, and I jumped. It felt so familiar. Then, almost like clockwork, within 36 hours of spending time together, I would awaken from that spell and start questioning him, holding him accountable. I was no longer adoring and instead started calling him out on his crap, which included gaslighting, lies, evasion, etc. You can guess which side of me he labeled as crazy and unstable…
I started to believe it too, that my adoring, fawning, butt-kissing, suck-up side was the sane side… Why couldn’t I just be nice all the time? I was so lucky to have him, if I keep this up I will lose him! 😝 He encouraged that fawning part of me (which really is a coping persona borne from childhood abuse, a component of Complex PTSD, its the fourth ‘F’ in the fight, freeze, flight, fawn quartet). What an incredibly sick form of conditioning, what an incredibly unhealthy relationship.
I think one of the gifts of this experience is discovering that my so-called bitchy side that stands up for myself and expects respect and accountability from others is actually a great facet to have! Its not the crazy side, or bad side as a few narcissists would have me believe. It carries much of my will and aligns with 3rd Chakra energies if I’m not mistaken.
Conversely, if I see myself starting to fawn and trip over my good sense and self care to please someone for the reward of their approval, that’s when I need to take a moment to assess whats really going on there, it could be a signal something is up.
I’ve had it backwards for so many years now! It’s kind of freeing to realize that the side of me I wished away for so long, the side I blamed for all my failed relationships may actually be a very important part of my core being.
I’m looking forward to exploring this flip in perspectives.
Here are a few links pertaining to Complex PTSD that I found pretty helpful.
http://outofthefog.website/toolbox-1/2015/11/17/complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-c-ptsd
http://www.pete-walker.com/index.htm

Thank you, as always, for creating this space to share.
😸

Laura again: thank you, Seattle72! Sounds like you’re reclaiming parts of yourself and embracing Shadow … more keys to being happy, healthy and whole. Many blessings to you and all!

Garden Pretties and Yummies

Some recent rains in this very dry summer have the garden looking lush and producing well! Below you can see one of the newer “neighborhoods” planted this year, including one of nine hazelnut trees, a gooseberry bush, three hostas, nasturtiums, kalette, kale, comfrey, calendula, zephirine rose, and blackeyed peas. The dead looking matter around the base of the hazel is cut down comfrey, which adds nutrients back to the soil to help this tree thrive:

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This area was originally a mass of tree stumps and so many dandelions that it was constantly going to seed. In 2014, I put out large swaths of landscape cloth and covered it with mulch. The only thing growing there was my old garden tower, but as the mulch and repeated layers of mulch broke down, I noticed extremely dark, rich soil there. Not planting anything seemed like a waste of good yard space, plus I have a view of that area from my writing office.

The difference in growth between this area and the new yard in front of the blue house is striking, as this original yard has been sprayed twice yearly for 3.5 years with a farm grade fish emulsion and soil conditioner a friend of mine invented, whereas the other yard has only gotten two treatments and began with crappy soil. The gooseberry above (bottom left corner) was planted at the same time as the one in front of the blue house, but is three times as full! That gives me hope for the blue house yard, which just needs more TLC to catch up to its neighbor.

Above, you can also see a row of dwarf apple trees and some of the backyard gardens. Here’s a closer look at those:

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Zinnias have finally made a strong, regular appearance, shown here with various chards, cabbage, tomato, French sorrel, nasturtium, borage and calendula. Behind them you can see our two pokeweed sentinels by the back gate, more comfrey and borage, and just a hint of blueberry bushes and raspberries to the upper left:

zinnias and friends

Cushaw squash has begun its journey to the sun. These are the extremely drought tolerant vines that produced five toddler sized squash last summer with me completely ignoring them. You can see one of those below, alongside Egyptian walking (all over the place) onions, sea kale, tomato, eggplant, more borage, and kohlrabi, with rhubarb in the back and another triple tiered bed to the upper right containing various peppers, Thai basil and a volunteer melon of some sort:

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I’ve been harvesting, freezing, juicing, making falafel white scallop squash “fries” in the convection oven, and today marks the first pickles of 2016:

(No, I did not juice that entire homegrown beet! I used about a third, and that pile of homegrown produce (except three stalks of celery) made 1.5 pints of green juice. Mmmm, so fresh! The white scallop squash “fries” helped me use up some falafel mix that needed to go. I just tossed strips with a bit of olive oil and the mix, then baked at 400 and finished with a broiler until crispy. They went really well with a homemade vegan ranch dressing over salad greens, fresh tomato and a cucumber.)

The squirrel planted giant sunflowers out back have reached at least ten feet! You can see them below with the white scallop squash plant (bottom) and the “ideal companion plant” borage, which has pretty much taken over here. The bees love it, so I’m getting loads of pollination this year:

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Despite the enormous sunflower, the three Brussels sprout plants growing under it appear to enjoy my neglect:

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The echinacea by our front door is in full bloom…

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…and every morning begins with me opening the curtains and calling out, “Hello, morning glories! You’re looking glorious!”

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Wishing you abundant beauty and deliciousness!

Vandana Shiva ~ On Paris, Violence, and Earth Healing

“Let us make peace with the Earth. Turn to the Earth, and apologize. And then we can make peace with each other.” ~Vandana Shiva