Saturday, April 14, 2012

Planted Herb Spiral

On Tuesday I took a day off and planted the herb spiral with a variety of herbs and flowers. It is in the center of the kitchen garden beds to attract predators and beneficial insects, and I think it looks beautiful. The greater the variety of plants in an area, the more confused pests will be and the plants are less likely to be damaged.

Herb Spiral with a Hardy Mum on the top - this will be replaced with a planter of Peppermint for tea. Each of the white labels indicates a different herb or flower.
Planted: (from the lowest point and circling around) Chive, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Cilantro, Chamomile Dill, Marigolds, Parsley, Thyme, Thai Basil, Basil, Sage, edible Nasturtium and Echinacea are planted at the 3 corners.  Peppermint will be the top planter and I am still deciding on a water container for the beginning of the spiral.

I also have several medicinal herbs and lavender to plant - but haven't decided where yet.

Our garden has many different purposes and right now we are focused on restoring the soil and creating the levels needed to sustain the ecosystem in our yard and provide a complete circle of growth,  compost/replenish the soil,  regrowth. If the conditions for growth are in place, plants will grow.  The beds will be annual vegetables and will need to be planted each year, but the bulk of the other fruit and nut trees, and plants that are arriving in May will be perennial. Once they are planted, and the plants that support them (green mulch) are growing, they will need only to be watched for pests and for pruning if they grow too quickly (only because of the size of our yard).  One of the other purposes of the garden is to have a natural place to sit and enjoy, so in each vegetable bed and around trees we have planted flowers and nitrogen fixing plants that will feed the trees and produce flowers and green mulch, as well as shading the ground and capturing moisture and keeping it close to the trees, vines, etc. Also - they will fill in the spaces with color and be beautiful. I have several pieces of decoration that I will be putting out into the garden for people to find and enjoy. Some I bought, some are gifts. These little touches are what makes it fun and whimsical.

The side effect of restoring the soil and creating an ecosystem and completing a full circle of the cycle of plant growth, is food. One of the things we have to accept with these projects is that the food may not happen this year. All of this is an experiment, so we focus on the soil and the correct conditions and pay attention to things, hoping that the food will follow at the end of the Summer, but this is truly a journey experience and not just for the food. 

One of the things we observed today is that it is very dry here right now and the insects and birds are looking for water. We watered the beds early and put water in a small cast iron bird bath. Right away, the fuzzy bumblebees were in the straw - getting out of the sun and getting the moisture, the hornets and other insects were landing on the straw and getting moisture.  The lack of rain will be one of the greatest challenges if it continues on this way.  
We have mulched and prepared as much as we can - we just need a rain to fill the rain barrel again. We will be getting two more rain barrels so we can gather rain for dry and hot times during the summer.  We do all of our watering by hand with watering cans. It is relaxing and keeps us in touch with each of the plants we are growing. 

The bulb flowers continue to grow and bloom in the front garden.

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