Laurie K. came by and she took these pictures. Thanks!
There is much to do in the garden, but the amount of uncertainty and old habits (the ease of spending a day reading) and inertia and other things have kept me from it.
If you want to come over, you'll at least help motivate me to get out there. It is getting nicer and nicer.
Other related projects: about a week ago I grew Tempeh. See here for the beginning of that story. Yesterday I started some sauerkraut, inspired by a passage in Sandor Kraut's new book, which reminded me of the project I started when I read his older book (I found a crock, bought some sea salt, but never did the rest!).
This reminds me that we need "progressive church" where you go every week to hear the good messages and practice the good practices so that we learn them and keep them up.
Yesterday I also planted my first flat, so I'll have a bit more control and certainty than direct sowing in the garden among the other seeds that are there.
I made the flat from discarded wooden crates that Best Produce throws away. . . I wonder where the wood comes from and where down south they were shipped from.
I planted some papayas, but the main motivation was some sweet potato shoots that need (following Jeavons) to be put in a flat after being cut off the potato prior to being planted in the garden. I also planted sunflowers, butterfly flowers, florence fennel, eggplant, peppers, two squash seeds, some onions. I want more beneficial insects to help eat aphids. It was 50 deg. F (10 C) last night--probably too cold for peppers and eggplant. I also planted three jicama roots in pots. I want to grow cherimoya too. And passionfruit. (For vines to cover an arbor [yet to be built of bamboo from the canyon] and the roof, to make it cooler).
I should perhaps use bottles (glass or plastic) to make mini greenhouses for some of my plants. . . so they will grow faster. We'll see!
There's also some more land on the north side of the house to try planting things in. . .
Those are Kimberly and Mark(?)'s cabbages--they gave me them already started.
The peas are the other visible green things to the north. Fava beans and garlic, which was starting to grow before I ate it (and which I planted), are also doing well. And, what I'm most excited about, things with deep beet-red stems are doing well (chard or beets!). And there is some lettuce too which I need to thin. Carrots may have started to come up. The only thing that may not have grown at all might be the onions.
I have been watering every evening, and spent some mornings thinning out patches where a whole clump of stuff sprouted. I have also pulled out a lot of what I'm sure is grass. (I'm less sure in the onion patch).
There is a rough mulch on top. . . I couldn't bear bare soil. As a result there are some weeds and roly-polys, but so far so good.
Two of the many potato pieces I planted in the sheet mulch bed have grown leaves to the top of the mulch! (others rotted--it is very damp). All the green is sprouted mulch (small pods from some sort of tree).
I'm looking towards two fig trees in pots which are leafing out. One is probably black mission--a volunteer from a corner of the yard (our neighbor has a tree), the other is a cutting from a prolific calimyrna that Jonathan helped me start. I want to plant them, but I'm not yet sure where. There's so many black mission figs in the neighborhood. But the calimyrna would be a great thing. . . I love figs. I've found so many existing fig trees around though (I have been a fig glutton), I'm wondering if there aren't other trees better to plant--Pine nut? Other nut? Papaya? Kiwi (not a tree--vine would be for the front--see below)?
Perhaps I could replace some of the plants which are growing but not making food. . . A ficus, and other things. Like that tangerine tree I do not water (There is definitely more citrus than I could ever hope to eat in the neighborhood--my teeth get too much acid as it is).
Laurie was on the roof for all the previous shots. For some of the following she was in the middle of the road. No hazard pay, but I did let her borrow The Life We Are Given.
Grandma Ann said not to plant trees in the green-paved front yard. She's afraid the roots will mess up her plumbing. Do you have any suggestions about how to address those fears? The lighter patch is where they already dug up her concrete yard to replace rotted pipes. She said the concrete cost $24,000. But maybe she was off by a decimal place.
She did say, however, we could plant flowers there. Paul left a bunch of seeds of drought-tolerant flowers (statice and others). I just need to start a mulch pile out there. And put some soil on top. . . We'll see how that goes over. She suggested it!
I made a tentative commitment to leave SD by January 2008--but that was when I was down from bicycling around ugly SD, dealing with the screaming guy in the apartments out back, and my grandma's sniping, and my attempts to garden, make tempeh, and do all these cool things in isolation (I mean in my house--SD FNL has been a wonderful experience in being helped and in not being isolated), with hardly a clue how to do it (wouldn't it be easier to learn from someone? To live with a group of people who are all into it, and who maybe already have a good collection of books/other resources?).
But who knows. . .
My recent daydreams have me thinking about spending two weeks at Green Gulch Farm or Deer Park Monastery and see what happens from there.
Already, in May, I'll be at Quail Springs for two weeks, and may hike through the forest (Los Padres National Forest) from the Santa Barbara train station to get there.
I'd better quit this. Mike may show up soon after 12 and it is 11.