Gardening

Garden Journal :: in the greenhouse

This little world of abundance is only really possible under the cover of hoops & plastic during late fall/winter.

As much as I love the birds and other wildlife it really is a bummer to go out into the garden to see everything all eaten and destroyed.

In other garden beds we have some lentils, calendula, swiss chard & mustard greens too, but not quite as photogenic. As much as I enjoy each moment of the wheel of the year I am really looking forward to spring

Be it spring of fall I wish you all happy gardening!

Gardening

Adventures in the Woods

Only recently I began thinking of this place as a forest. Previously it seemed to be just a forgotten corner of the farm where we are caretakers.

Now as I walk the trails we maintain I see that so many other animals benefit from them too. Our cats, of course, love to run around on the trials but so do wild (& rare) wild deer that I have only been able to catch glimpses of, guinea pigs, snakes and birds too.

Today I went out foraging for plants for my garden project – aloe vera and an ornamental purple plant called wandering dude.

Sitting on the ground and digging around I see that this “forgotten” corner of the land is full of life.

Between the invasive plants and fruit trees planted by generations past has become a natural nursery for wild herbs and native saplings – a forest of diversity for the future.

Gardening

Garden Journal :: Late Summer Bouquets

Zinnias for happiness, Dahlias for beauty & mystery, Goldenrod to bring inside the brightness or the sun and blue sage foliage for grounding & protection.

Call it a bouquet or a sculpture made of flowers, anytime one makes art there is the possibility to infuse life with meaning ๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒผ

For drying, for salads, for indoor decoration ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒผ these are just some of the gifts for the garden in the magical time when summer transforms into fall.

And speaking of fall which is quickly approaching, these past few days I have been spending time each morning harvest & processing. I am drying herbs, making tomatoe sauce, and medicinals jams – trying my best to save and savor the abundance.

These hours in the morning become my own little rituals. A way to connect with the place where I live and be in the now moment, while simultaneously preparing for colder months ahead when flowers and fruit will be scarce.

Vara de Oro – Golden Rod flowers
Gardening

Garden Journal :: milpa // the three sisters ๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿฅ’โ˜€๏ธ

Since forever diverse plants have grow together and that is the way they thrive. Humans picked up on this long ago and began planting in association – some crops grow together better than others and this might change depending on where you live.

Over the years we have experimented with different combinations. First we went with the classic milpa/sisters trio of beans, squash, and corn but the beans always got lost in the under growth. This year beans were planted in the vegetable beds and here in this garden we have red corn, wild quinoa, and cayote – a kind of squash/melon native to Argentina.

It also seems important to mention that there is a lot of a plant called Spanish Needles (a “weed”) growing all around and we mostly just let it be. Spanish Needles, aka Farmer’s Friend, Bidens pilosa is an edible weed also considered a pioneer plant and builder of healthy soil. The leaves and flowers are edible too ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒผ

Most likely this combination will evolved and maybe next year we will try to add a few other plants, maybe amaranth and sunflowers to this plant association ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐ŸŒฑ

Gardening

Weaving with Willow ๐ŸŒฟ

Basket making is a future goal though during the herb-drying season, woven trays are super useful! I really have to thank this instagram and tumblr for filling my feed with endless inspiration for artistic and useful projects using materials made directly from nature. It is a funny thing, that social media reminded me of something so ancestral: making use and making useful things with the resources that grow naturally around us. ๐ŸŒณ

Online you can find all kinds of tutorials for making baskets but I always go with this wild weave – this one is new and needs to dry but the ones I made last summer are holding up just fine. All you need is lots of fresh willow and time.

Gardening

Garden Journal :: Summer to Fall

Looking forward to the fall garden because, to be honest, our summer garden was not very productive.

In years past we harvested more tomatoes & cucumbers than we knew what to do with but this year only the basil did well, sadly.

But I want to be honest, gardening is hard and sometimes things go wrong without any clear reason as to why. I think, in this case, we haven’t had a good summer season because we tried to take on too much: we extended the garden beds, tried out new crops in addition to work and all the other responsibilities of our work-trade for living here.

And another reason might be that this is just a sign (one of many) that we aren’t meant to live here permanently, that the time to move on from this farm is coming.

So, this upcoming fall I’m committing to doing less and focusing on what I know grows well: leafy greens and herbs as well as scaling back to just a few, intensive garden beds and potted plants.

Wherever you are, and whatever season it is , I wish you luck in your gardening efforts.

Gardening

New Horizons : Libra Gardener Seeds

This project has been several years in the making and started by a simple desire to produce something in my garden that can be shared with the world. Over the years I mulled over several business plans and even considered selling dried herbs which I grow. But that didnt really work and there doesn’t seem to actually be a need for more herbal products.

As the world changes, more and more folks are wondering how they can be positive influences on their local environments. Of course there are many, many ways to help Earth return to an ecological equilibrium. One such way is by planting a garden for pollinators & other beneficial insects – and this is a topic I am particularly passionate about, so it seemed like a good ideally on which to center my sustainable biz around.

Here in our garden we grow flowers of all kinds, perennial native plants alongside herbs and non-native animal flowers. Over the years I have been saving seed and planting successive generations and now I am at a point of wanting to share some of my favorite and easiest to grow from seed flowers: calendula, marigold, and culinary poppy.

On my Etsy page I posted a listing with those three seed packets and an accompanying zine with info about planting for pollinators and some articles about herbalism too.

A couple of pages from the zine featuring some of the most common butterflies of North & South America.

All together this is a perfect little starting point for growing a beautiful flower garden in almost any climate of the world and would be a great gift for yourself or some other aspiring gardener this spring.

In a future post I will go more in depth about each of these three flowers and in previous posts have talked about the butterflies in greater detail as well. So, expect more flower-goodness soon, until then I will leave you with the link to the listing if you are interested in supporting the world I do with this blog & in real life as well, thanks!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1146665036/plant-your-pollinator-garden-kit-3?ref=shop_home_active_1

Gardening · Herbalism

Making Herby Pesto : with wild greens and other “weeds”

Traditionally pesto is made with fresh basil leaves, nuts, olive oil & grated cheese but there are many alternative recipes that I am going to share with you in this post, including pestos made with edible weeds and garden herbs. Today I will be sharing my recipe for pesto made primarily with a common garden weed: Amor Seco or Spanish Needles โ€“ Bidens pilosa.

The recipe::

then I will explain step by step:
-1/2 cup roasted peanuts
-3 garlic cloves
-3 cups fresh Bidens pilosa or dandelion leaves
-3 sprigs of an herbs like oregano or rosemary
-3 sprigs of fresh basil or cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil or sunflower seed oil
-Optional: 6 โ€“ 8 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (only if you will be using within thr next few days)
-1/4 cup hard cheese (like Parmesean) grated.

The process::

First I went out to the garden and picked 3 cups of fresh Amor Seco which is growing in abundance and will soon go to seed. I tried to collect mostly leaves with some flowers, avoiding the stems and stalks. The entire plant is edible but the leaves & flowers are best. Next I grabbed a few sprigs of other herbs โ€“ I chose basil and oregano but you could also pick rosemary, sage and cilantro.Back in the house I chopped the fresh leaves and put them in the blender. You can of course use a food processor or chop up the herbs super finely by hand which will take around 10 minutes.If you are using a food processor, add the greens, and all the other ingredients to the food processor little by little.If like me you have a blender and not a food processor, add the chopped greens and fill the blender with twice as much water, blend for several minutes then filter out the water with a tea filter or cheese cloth. Be sure to press the water out as much as possible. For regularl pesto with basil, a food processor is ideal but with more bitter, wild greens, blending with water helps release a bit of the bitterness without losing the nutrients or flavors.Next, toast your peanuts, pecans, pine nuts or whatever seed you wish to use.

Chop the nuts or seeds well and either add them to your food processor or โ€“ if you used a blender- to your herby paste made by the blender. Then add the oil, minced garlic and all the other spices listed in the recipe. I also like to add balsamic vinegar only when planning to eat right away or within a day or two.&& that all! I like to put the pesto in a cute ceramic bowl to accompany a variety of meals from steamed vegetables to pasta dishes โ€“ this pesto is delicious on anything!

The flowers are also edible:

And small butterflies love them too.

Gardening

Capricorn Season :: in the garden

Capricorn is often seen as a pessimistic sign and usually associated with hard work.

My garden-based interpretation of Capricorn season as a time of Earth-based work. Depending on what season it is where you are, this could be a time for: adding mulch to garden beds, making compost and, planting seeds for the future (both metaphorical and physical).

Here, it is the height of summer, tomatoes are just starting to ripen and the first wave of sunflower blooms is occurring. The soil needs extra nourishment to continue on producing and another round of sowing seeds too.

Bumble bees enjoying the abundance of sunflowers in bloom.

If it is winter now for you, maybe this is the time for composting and planning for the upcoming growing season – planning is a very favorite activity of Capricorn.

During Capricorn season (December 21st to January 19th) and new year celebrations there is lots of discussion about planting (metaphorical) seeds and setting goals + intentions for this new year.

Seed saving dry beans for next year’s garden.

How does Capricorn factor into your birth chart? What planets or houses traversed the sign of Capricorn at the moment of your birth?

If you haven’t already, take a look at this section of your natal chart. This will help as a guide to how to best embody and work with the sign of Capricorn as well as working with the powers of the sun and venus which are both currently in this pragmatic & practical sign

And one last thing :: Happy New Year, many blessings for 2022!!

Gardening

In the Flowers

In a couple of weeks we will have to mow this field and transform this section into the lawn-landscape that the owner prefers. Mowing down these flowers isn’t something I am excited about but, I accept this as part of my duty as a landscaper and part of our trade for getting to live here.

So, before that time comes I wanted to appreciate and share this field of flowers as the wildlife refuge that it is 10 months out of the year:

If you want to see a bumble bee go to a standof thistles and wait.

For now this is just part of the job of a landscaper …

… that is until the permaculture revolution takes hold of this planet (once again).