Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This is happening in the Living Room...

So the fruit trees are growing like crazy...

And the Banana tree is so happy....

It has a second one growing underneath.

This is such a neat experiment! They have been repotted once in the year we've had them, into these bigger pots. They will probably need to be repotted/new soil once a year. 

The coolest thing of all is that in the middle of winter - the room is full of green plants.

Our Garden is coming to life!

When you consider that our yard looked like this only a few short years ago:

And last year grew into this:

It is not so surprising that this 2nd year we have started to see some changes - like toads and chipmunks. It makes me so happy to see this little toad (below) living in the herb spiral. There were two of them there the other night and a really big one near the dry river bed.

Permaculture - to me - is the process of restoring an area to function again. I didn't have to put toads in the garden.  Because of these small changes we have made - creating a garden that attracts slugs and other bugs, creating a place with shelter and moisture - it really was just a matter of time before the predator arrived...

 The cute little guys that will save our vegetables. 

They do the work naturally, and we don't have to.

It's magical.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sea Kale, Turkish Rocket, Flowering Comfrey and Potatoes!

Two of the perennials we learned of only a couple of years ago - and planted last year Sea Kale and Turkish Rocket  came up early and are growing so fast.  They each are getting broccoli-like flowers. This is something I have never seen!

Sea Kale

Flowering Sea Kale

Flowering Turkish Rocket
 We had a good amount of red potatoes that grew and we canned last year - we were able to have them once a week throughout the winter.  This year, we wanted more control and put them into a 4x4 bed and will build up around them as they grow. There is also a horseradish planted here from another bed where there wasn't as much control of it spreading.  The goal is to grow and can enough potatoes to stop purchasing them for the whole year - until the next harvest in 2014.

Potatoes in a 4x4 Bed with Horseradish (top left corner)

Comfrey is another new addition to our garden and it is spreading and flowering. This makes me happy, because anywhere something useful grows, the grass can't. We are still working on a solution to the grass and are covering it over with mulch, cardboard, straw...whatever we can find that will limit it from coming back. We will have to deal with it in the autumn and really cover it so it doesn't take hold at all in the spring. How great it would be to have a yard of comfrey to walk on instead!

Flowering Dwarf Comfrey

Toads, Apple Blossoms & a Paw-Paw Tree

The garden is changing so quickly - plants I took photos of yesterday have already changed. I want to be sure I document things that are new to me so I don't forget and have a reference from year to year of where things are how they change and where they show up on their own. Because  plants are making their own decisions only one year into this - and growing where they were not planted...

First - after the past couple of days of rain we have seen several toads. I think this one is an American Toad. What is important to remember, is that we never had toads in our yard before it was a garden.

One of the apple trees has blossoms. We won't let them grow this year, except maybe one to taste it. It's so encouraging to see that these trees we planted only last year have done well through the winter and are acting like they should in spring!

The Paw-Paw Tree - just planted a few weeks ago is getting leaves. This will be the tallest of the trees and is planted in the back corner of our lot.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Perennials are Growing and Seeds are Sprouting!

When we planted all of our annuals last year, we hoped that everything would survive the winter and come back now, in spring. With the wicked winter and the several feet of snow that covered our (sticks) fruit trees, I wondered how they would do. Most everything looks dead in winter and it's hard to tell what is happening.

It all worked!

Grape vines, kiwi vines, the fruit trees (one apple is flowering already). Jostaberry, Currents, Blueberries and Strawberries all have flowers and are starting fruit. Sea Kale, Sorrel, and Turkish Rocket, Ramps, Horseradish, Mint root and 3 different mints - all are thriving.

Turkish Rocket


Dwarf Comfrey
In our beds, the planted radishes, carrots, potatoes and arugula are already up and growing. In my flower pots, cutting flowers and poppies mixed with marigolds and kale - all coming up. Even the moon flowers and morning glories in a planter are sprouting.

Volunteers? A lone sunflower already 6 inches tall, a random potato in the back corner, and a bed full of what looks like cherry tomatoes and amaranth - where they grew last year. 

We have already found a couple of critters in the garden: a sighting of the first little toad - who may, or may not be living under the dill plant...and a chipmunk in the wood pile. An unusual sight in the city, but welcome because I know each of them serve a purpose in this garden.

Spiders are weaving webs and we work at finishing our plantings. In a couple of weeks, the tomatoes will go into their beds and we are rotating arugula and radishes to keep them growing all summer. Then there is the Corn, Squash and drying bean bed - and I still need to find where I will put the Mammoth Sunflowers this year. These are the kind of decisions I love to make!

We made a change as far as our diet and started buying almost all of our meat and some greens from Mass Local Food. They also offer some plants, so we bought a Raspberry and added it to the garden.

All remains to be seen, but so far, I feel like I am coming alive with each of the plants I find growing of its own accord, and each I plant. Nature is a miraculous system that only needs the right conditions and will thrive endlessly!