Posts Tagged ‘Permaculture in pots’

Tulips and Spinach, Oh, My!

Spring keeps popping up with new colors and forms. I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to have new life exploding good cheer where we watched the magical, weeping birch tree slowly die, then decay and eventually topple over. I loved that tree and the birds that gathered on it, but this bucket of blooms fills me with gratitude every time I look outside!

The seeds I sowed outdoors on Spring Equinox are off to a very slow start. They’re cool weather crops, but we’ve had cold nights and very little sun. I feel grateful for this volunteer spinach amongst my hyacinths. I just harvested some leaves because it’s blocking a few of the late bloomers in this bed. Yumminess awaits!

Out back, the Garden Tower is fully planted with more cool weather crops — arugula, different types of lettuce, carrots, spinach and chard. Most of these are itty bitty seedlings I just transplanted from inside. I did manage to find some organic collard, lettuce and sweet pea starts at our health food store, but it’s still early for transplants. The sweet peas went into the ground in front of the clematis trellis.

David’s mowing the lawn as I type, so please excuse the extra long grass and weeds. I’m staying out of his way! One thing I love about the backyard garden is how tucked away it is. After I turned a third of an acre into an urban permaculture farm at our last place, he requested more swaths of regular yard at this one. But sometimes Crazy Plant Lady can’t help herself. We put in the corrugated bed last Fall, and this Spring I added two 20-gallon fabric pots for growing potatoes. You can see them behind the pot of day lilies just poking through the soil:

The far back bed with the white trellis currently has garlic growing in it, but I’m going to try some sweet potatoes there this Summer. That area doesn’t get the best light, but it gets scorching afternoon sun. Sweet potatoes are one of the few plants I can grow there that like it hot, hot, hot. We’ll see how it goes. With me, everything’s an experiment. Behind the trellis, you can see a pot of stinging nettles I brought from Goshen. I do love my nettles, but you definitely want to keep those contained.

To the left, you see one of the potted perennial rhubarb plants and a black lace elderberry that lost its biggest branch to something. I suspect the bunny, but it might have been an ice storm. To the right in the black grow bags, you see some lilies and lavender starting to peek out. Behind those to the right, Egyptian walking onions — a perennial onion that can take over your yard if you don’t keep up with them! I mostly put them in raised beds and containers now, as I love having free and easy food that returns year after year.

I’m afraid my “perennial” purple kale and collards that I’ve had for several years up front may have (frost)bitten the dust this year. No worries, though, I finally found a good source for sea kale seedlings! I miss those gorgeous easy care plants from my Goshen garden. The cuttings I took from there didn’t transplant well. Hopefully, I’ll have better luck this time. Sea kale is more of a cabbage, and it comes out before most other greens in Spring. It’s perennial by nature, not just a fluke. I love the dusty sage colored leaves and the beautiful white flowers that make it such an edible ornamental. As with everything, we shall see!

What are you growing this year? There are so many ways to increase beauty and food security even in a small space.

Signs of Spring

I spent Easter Sunday clearing away old yard debris in preparation for the new Spring growth. That felt like a symbolic way to honor the energies of resurrection and rebirth. Now we’ve got some 70 and 80 degree days, urging me to plant seeds. I can probably plant some outside, despite us being over a month away from final frost date. I also figured out a new indoor seed starting and LED light fixture system, which I’ll set up on the New Moon.

Meanwhile, some photos from this morning:

hyacinths in bloom, with more shoots to come
daffodils blowing in the wind
sedum poking through last year’s growth, plus irises, onions and a pot of mint (still sleeping)
rhubarb
young nettles in a huge pot, getting ready for pesto
more daffodils bobbing in the wind

So many things seem so surreal right now, but Nature continues its cycles, bringing beauty, color and cheer. Enjoy each moment! All have purpose.

Garden Update ~ Garden Tower 2 Setup and Spring Planting

I haven’t posted a Garden Update in a long time, so I decided to document the assembly of our upgraded Garden Tower 2. I had this in Goshen as part of a demo garden showcasing different ways of growing crops — permaculture, raised beds, Garden Towers 1 and 2, Square Foot Gardening, tiered/circular raised beds, Big Bag Beds, Smart Pots, wood mulch gardening, food forest, etc. I had not set up the Garden Tower 2 in Kalamazoo, though, because doing so required me figuring out where to put it, building a patio, and also fencing it in from critters.

I’ve detailed three years of groundhog adventureshere — from Kalamazoo Kal to all his very hungry relations. Last year, I switched the front yard beds primarily to rabbit/deer/groundhog resistant herbs and perennials and had all but given up on annual vegetable gardening. It’s just too frustrating to fight all the critters. Our fenced backyard is even worse than the open front yard, as the groundhogs have generations of tunnels and ancestral habits.

A dream on April 4, 2020 told me that my future self would really appreciate if I assembled the Garden Tower 2 that lay unassembled in our shed. I followed the advice, ordered seeds, got everything needed for assembly, only to learn that that weekend was the last time I could have done so prior to Michigan’s Governor declaring gardening “non-essential” and making it illegal to buy what I’d need. Score one, Dream Guys! A “mix-up” led to me ordering some extra parts for the GT2, and we ended up with an extra tier. For me, this changes the entire aesthetic of the GT2, and I love it so much more now. I don’t know why that one extra layer makes its form so much more appealing, but it does.

In any case, David and I spent a long Memorial Day weekend celebrating my birthday, going on wooded walks and drives, building a patio, and setting up and planting the Garden Tower 2. For anyone interested in the process, we documented some of the highlights.

The “Before” space, slightly in process, since I forgot to take a Before photo! This required moving three Smart Pots to the other side of this existing raised bed. Moving those turned out way easier than anticipated. In the photo below, you can see the patio blocks before digging out and leveling the ground. We’ve got the base of the GT2 there for reference, to see where we wanted this rotating tower:

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Late May 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 Photos and Radio Show Link for Friday, May 18

As promised, here’s the link and time conversion for tomorrow’s (Friday, May 18, 2018) radio show. You can listen to the show from anywhere with internet access by clicking here at 1:30 p.m. Eastern this Friday.

For your convenience, that’s:

10:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight time

11:30 a.m. Mountain time

12:30 p.m. Central

16:30 UK time

17:30 in Western Europe and South Africa

7:30 a.m. Hawaii time

1:30 a.m. in Taiwan

and 3:30 a.m. in Sydney, Australia.

If you’re not in those areas, you can still listen at that time, but those are the main regions I know I have blog readers and clients.

Last week, we discussed the challenges and gifts of Chronic Lyme disease, my Metaphysics of Lyme Disease book in progress, and we also touched astrology as a healing tool and some of my encounters with the Spirit World. For now, that show is archived here.

And now for some garden pictures! First, the cutest little faery house setup we’ve ever seen — David bought it as an early birthday gift for me. You can see it next to some bachelor’s buttons getting ready to bloom, alongside purple verbena:

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