Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Signs of Life!

Last Autumn I planted flower bulbs and they have already come and gone. Beautiful Tulip, Crocus, and Daffodil flowers in Spring when everything else is so gray... 

I also planted the Sunchokes - or Jerusalem Artichokes - and had no idea what to expect. This week, pushing through the straw, the first signs that all is well in the Sunchoke bed and the experiment is off to a good start. Since this is the first time through with all of these plants, I am trying to document them to keep a record of how they look when they first sprout and also to recognize them should they start to sprout where we do not want them.
Sunchokes / Jerusalem Artichokes 
I squeeled like a little kid when I saw the Sunchokes were almost 6 inches tall! I only looked away for one day...


We have two experiments in our potato beds. One with soil, straw and seed potatoes, and one bed with just the straw and seed potatoes.  Both have sprouted. The bed with soil is growing at a little faster pace, but who is in a hurry? Potatoes grown on the ground, covered in straw grow just as well so far.

Potatoes growing on cardboard with some soil and straw.


The most recent bed is a 4x8 on the South side of the house. Space we never used for anything! Now it has sprouted corn and sunflowers. When they are 6 inches tall we will be planting beans and then 3 different squash plants to either vine out to the front yard or trellis - not decided yet. 
Bed with Sunflowers and Corn

Sunflowers Sprouting

Corn sprouting
The seeds took less than a week to sprout. It practically grows before your eyes!


On April 12th, we planted our fruit trees - four different apples (semi-dwarf) and 3 pears (dwarf). In what is one of the most encouraging things to occur this week - the trees have leaves and one even has blossoms. We won't be letting them fruit this year, but knowing that they are growing and healthy and seeing those first flowers is a feeling that can only be described as having a full heart.  

Pear tree with a new little flower garden by the house.

Apple Blossom 

Two more Apples and a Pear nearest the shed.


The view from the house.

Straw beds in the back left are potatoes - foreground (right) is dwarf pear.
To the left of the clothes line - are the apple trees and almond at the end of the  fallen tree.

During the past couple of weeks, it has rained quite a bit, and the river bed has been serving its purpose. We only have one rain barrel right now, and when it is full, it overflows into the riverbed - and flows on to the fruit trees. It's working well and we will be getting two more rain barrels to capture water on the other sides of the house to use in flower and vegetable beds there.

water gathers in the dry river bed and flows along the log to the center of the yard
and the fruit trees.

The past few months of work - bits and pieces here and there that suddenly seem to come together in this season and become a garden. More perennial plants will be arriving - Paw Paw Tree, Kiwi Vine, Concord Grapes, etc. etc. and there are more seeds to plant in the beds.  Each small thing that we start carries on by itself. Our part in this is observation and enjoyment. 

The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is go to the window and see what has changed. Mushrooms spring up over night and are gone when the sun hits them, the plants get greener and greener as leaves open and seeds sprout. 

One of my favorite moments was when I saw a little sparrow land on the branch of an Apple tree and sit there. Barely a branch, barely a tree - and already the bird knows to stop by for the caterpillars. It works because it is supposed to. The cycle has always existed and will long after we are gone. All we hope to do is restore the conditions for Nature to work her magic...

Life is truly miraculous. 

Nasturtium growing around the herb garden.

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