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!


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.


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.

E-journal · Gardening

November, December: my time in California

5 weeks in my hometown went by so quickly! I feel there is so much left to do. But, maybe this is normal for all gardeners and those who work on projects that will take years, or decades to be completed.

And the work days on Rabbit Ridge::

This year my family bought a few acres of land in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Back in summer I visited the land for the first time and this trip we focused on a few key projects in what will someday be a food forest and cabin.

Like so many projects I write about on this blog, this project is a work in progress and will possibly never be completely finished. I wonder if it is even possible for a food forest to be completed as the objective is to create a living and evolving ecosystem. This is all to say that this post is … to be continued!


Container Gardening

Even if you don’t have much space, you can still make a green oasis at your home. Ceramic & plastic pots make great places to grow the garden of your dreams. In fact, some herbs prefer growing in containers! In this post I am going to share some of my favorite container plants and how we use and grow them.

Take a peak just outside the backdoor of my parents home you will see our collection of potted plants. They are all located right beside the kitchen door and adjacent to the hose so they never go unwatered or forgotten. In this picture you see mostly culinary herbs like mint, shiso and ezpazote. Instead of planting them in the main garden where the sun can be intense in summer, we are keeping them in pots & close to the kitchen. This way the leaves are always fresh and easily on hand for garnishing dishes fresh out of the oven or to throw into a green salad.

Mint :: is growing in several pots around the yard. Most grow mint in pots to keep the vigorous grower contained and limit its ability to overtake other plants. We grow mint in a plastic pot to help it maintain the humidity it needs (and is hard to come by in this dry climate). We use mint dried in tea, fresh in mojitos and in herbal pesto. Yum!

Aloe :: this succulent medicinal loves to grow in containers as it needs great drainage. We do have aloe plants planted in the ground but they just do not thrive as these potted plants do. Aloe is essential for skin issues and sun burns so we always have a couple of plants nearby to be cut open and the sap lathered onto a rash or whatever the skin ailment is. These big ceramic pots are great for filling in areas like this rocky patio where we often sit with drinks on summer evenings.

Pots for planting :: much of our container garden is dedicated to starting young plants, like these valerian and calendulas, that just aren’t quite ready to be planted out in the garden. In these ceramic pots and in our nursery area the plants are protected from intense sun and are watered often. In a couple of weeks they will be planted into the herb garden out in the front yard.