Tag Archives: gardening

Lazy Sunday

17 Jun

Borage flower

There’s nothing lazy about this Sunday in the garden, but it is a lazy Sunday for the blog. I’m in the process of staking my tomatoes, a post will be coming up about that this week. I’m taking an iced coffee break because it’s scorching hot right now.

I’ve opted to just post some pictures:

Happy Sunday, Happy Father’s Day, Happy Gardening!

Eggplant to be

Spinach Harvest

Garlic scapes

Garlic flowering

 

Toddler at Work

10 Jun

The Garden Assistant when he was six months old after a sowing. (2011)

Toddlers are naturally curious. The world and everything in it is fairly new to them. Now that they have mobility and a developing hand eye foot coordination, it’s only natural that they want to touch, grab, taste, figure out how things work, and just investigate the world that surrounds them. Unfortunately for a mama gardener, that also means touching, hitting, digging and swatting at plants, often the plants that we put so much effort into growing. So, how to keep a toddler from destroying the garden? Enlist their help!

Working with his soil

I set aside a bag of soil for him to play with, along with his own pots, a pail and a shovel. This keeps him entertained while I repot or transplant plants. I sometimes ask him to help put the real soil in the real pots I am about to use. With supervision, I also let him water some of the plants with his own watercan. The trick is to pay as much attention to him as the plants.

Watering the Eucalyptus

On occasion, if my attention favors the plants, he has acted out by hitting a plant. He has particular contempt for my Eucalyptus plant for some reason. In that instance, after the terror bells go off in my head over the poor plant, I call him over and in my sweetest calmest voice go over the spiel for tantrums (I realize you’re angry, can you tell me what you would like? etc) and once his needs are met, I explain to him that it’s an owie for the plant. This usually has him blow kisses to it with his apologetic eyes. I’ve gone so far as to explain photosynthesis to him and the importance of loving and caring for plants and trees for the survival of our species. I know this goes over his head now, but I hope that as we continue the dialogue well into his childhood, some of it sticks.

“Helping” make holes in a tin can

I hope to impart my love of gardening to him. I hope someday he shares my feelings about gardening. That it’s not just a fun hobby, or a way to eat yummy tomatoes, or a way for the individual to feel connected to the earth and the cosmos, but that it’s also a way to participate, albeit in a small way, in the creating of oxygen for the planet, and to become part of the resistance to the Monsanto giants who relish in making a profit while poisoning our food. For now, it’s all about sharing a moment together. In our busy lives, my Garden Assistant and I relish slowing down and gardening together.

So, if you have a toddler on your hands, have them help in the garden! They’ll love to feel useful, and included, you’ll be able to form beautiful memories together, and you’ll have less mangled plants when you’re not looking!

Easy on Fridays

8 Jun

Spearmint on Margarita!

Garnishing a margarita with Spearmint from the garden! Cheers!

**Easy on Fridays will be a recurrent event where I post a simple picture from the garden… because really, who wants to do any work after 5pm on Friday?**

 

Good Black Gold

7 Jun

Compost bin- third layer- old potting soil

 

The ideology of sustainability in gardens and farming has been part of my lexicon for a very long time. Given that the earth has traditionally provided its own resources, and given that reliance on foreign resources is relatively recent, it just makes sense to have the earth work within itself. It wasn’t until I became a gardener that I transferred that ideology into practical concrete actions.

Part of that recycle, upcycle living means composting, and I was ashamed that I wasn’t practicing what I viewed as essential. Well, no more.

Last weekend, I created my first compost bin. A week later, and I am already craving to create another.

A free vet supplies bin. Go to vet clinics, they will be more than willing to get rid of some of these!

I found this vet supplies bin for free which locks itself so that no critters can open it. I whipped out the hand drill (god, how I love power tools!) and using the biggest bit, drilled holes on all sides.

I filled the first part with brown organic materials, mainly dried leaves left over from the fall.

For the second layer, I added some organic fertilizer and some store bought mushroom compost I had been using on the garden soil. This acts as an activator, I read.

The third layer is old potting soil that needs nutrients.

The last layer is all veggie waste, scraps from the kitchen, and coffee grounds. Refer to this list for knowing what to put in there and what not to.

I mixed the layers well and poured some water, enough to make it moist but not wet.

Now, time for the sun to do its job!

I read quite a few articles on composting and opted to do what feels most natural to me, which ends up borrowing from several of those sources. I’ll include those links at the bottom.

In a mere few days I have seen the colors change in the bin, and I am itching to create a new one to keep filling with kitchen waste. We eat a LOT of veggies and fruits a day, we need to compost the peels!

I’m excited about growing black gold for the garden, and being one step closer to sustainability. Water conservation, well, that’s another story… one step at a time…

Here are some of those sources I consulted:

http://www.composting101.com/

http://vegweb.com/composting/

http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html

http://www.howtocompost.org/

Grow Ink

6 Jun

My latest tattoo: Growing.

Tattoos have always been a fascination for me. Although I don’t have many (in tattoo people standards), the ones I do have tell my story. My tattoos tell the story of moments in time, of the different selves I have embodied, of the varied beliefs I have acquired and then shed, of the ones I still keep. Our beliefs, our thoughts, our selves, and our lives are transient, either they grow with us, becoming firmer, rooting themselves to the core and blooming into more complex ideas, thoughts, selves, or they slowly wither with the passing of the season. Neither of those dualisms is more correct than the other. It’s our growing process. We must on occasion shed some of our outdated modes of thinking in order to give space to the new, and we must also keep some core fundamentals that give us a sense of a deeper purpose, a deeper self. Tattoos seem to me like the yoga phrase “As above, so below”.

I look back at my sensitive, fluttery 18 year old self who wanted nothing more than being free and let to wander, and who identified herself with a butterfly, so much so that she tattooed one on her. And, I look back at my fiery, determined self in her mid to late twenties who had achieved some sort of career success for herself, who felt that everything in life was a battle, but who kept her anger at the injustices in her life bottled, and chose no other symbol than a volcano to tattoo on her back. Every tattoo in my body is a chapter of my life. Some chapters remained inkless, but the ones that made it into skin create a rough sketch of who I have been, who I have wanted to be, and who I am today.

It was not with little thought then, that I approached getting this new tattoo on my arm. Man putting seeds in the ground, caring for the seeds so that it might become a tree, (which are also the lungs of the earth, creating oxygen out of carbon monoxide) under the Egyptian hieroglyph for the sun.

This new ink in my arm has become a personal testament to growing, both the plants in my garden, as well as myself as a person, a mother, a spiritual self. With some nurturing from ourselves, we can all become towering symbols for growth. We can all be flourishing lungs of the lives we have created and continue to create.

For a lighthearted read on various plant tattoos, go to this. I enjoyed looking through the various designs.

Progressing Soil

5 May

Working the soil

Mother’s Day is coming up, the safe day for planting outside in Colorado! Aside from it being the most appropriate day (growing as mothering and all that jazz) it’s also the most exciting day for me as a gardener.

In preparation for it, I did some of the final tilling of the soil. I’ve been working it every other week, turning it, adding compost, airing it. If anything, it’s definitely helped develop my arm and back  muscles!

Last year my container-grown plants gave a high yield, but the ones in the soil plot did not. I’m certain it was the soil. It was its first year and it was almost solid clay. Poor drainage did not even begin to describe it. I could’ve made pots out of that clay!

This year I began taking care of it in February. I added store-bought mushroom compost and some home-grown organic matter.

Today, as I tilled the soil, I found some earthworms! I’ve never been so excited to discover wriggly crawlies! This means the earth is finally getting enough oxygen for them to survive. And of course that they are producing nitrogen, so needed for plant growth.

We all need a solid foundation in order to find our balance. Some lucky among us can find their center even in wavering tightropes, sand or clay (like dandelions). But most of us need the solid earth, airy and silty, in order to thrive.

I’m hopeful that all this hard work will pay off and this planting season will be fruitful.

Namaste, yo’s! 🙂

The Process

23 Apr

Tulips from the front garden.

“Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ

tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ

bhárgo devásya dhīmahi

dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt”

English translation: “We meditate on the adorable glory

of the radiant sun; may he inspire our intelligence.”

Every gardener has their own process. Special shoes to slip on before heading to the garden, a pair of gloves to fit into, a pair of shears to tuck into their apron, a long sigh of anticipation, a smile of expectation. For me, gardening begins with Gayatri Mantra. A Sanskrit mantra, Gayatri invokes the Sun, the light, the force of the Universe to strengthen our prayers, to give power to our intentions. What better way to approach the garden than to ask the Sun to protect our process!

When I first started gardening, I was always so afraid of unintentionally killing plants, of being unable to keep them alive. After a while, I have come to understand that it is inevitable to kill plants. Some will die through no fault of our own. It’s not us, it’s nature! Some live, some die. How presumptuous of us to believe that we have control over life and death!

Sure, the more you garden, the more you understand your plants. The more intune you are to your plant’s signs. More water, less water, more sun, less sun… It become less formulaic and more intuitive. Less plants die at your hands, but some will always die. It’s the inevitability we all face: sure death, our only certainty.

I chant the Gayatri mantra so that my intentions are strengthened, so that I slow down, strip down to the core of my human form, that which is nature, that which is dirt, just like my plants. And from that notion of sameness I can approach them not from attachment to their result, but from the joy that comes from basking in the sun with my spiritual equals.

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