Tag: gardening

Garden tea

My garden reminds me of a summer ice tea. I sit down and sip the cool and quiet. I feel the sensations travel across my tongue, down my throat and through the inner corridors of my body.

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Excuse me, my dead chicken is in your yard

The soil is sandy and pebbly and virtually devoid of organic matter. Perfect for hardy native plants like wild mustard or wild lettuce- they do just fine in his yard. Yet I can’t help want to amend it with some mulch, orange peels, compost, leaves or a dead chicken– just to satisfy my obsession with soil enrichment.

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The road to winter

Ahead stretches the long road through winter- mile after mile of bleak landscape and little change in terrain. It is time for the gardener to take a rest in the passenger seat- feet up on the dashboard and weary back hugging the seat. Her right hand, resting on her belly, is rough. The tiny trenches in her palm are still full of soil from her last stop—pulling down plants, chopping them into pieces, mounding them on the beds, layering leaves and manure. Cementing it with water. Her parting gift was cover crops- winter wheat, hairy vetch, fava beans.

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My soil test results are in!

Nitrogen is a large woman in a black dress. She has hairy arm pits, stinky feet and keeps cheese in her fridge until it is covered with mold, which she never bothers to scrap off and eats voraciously.

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In between my dream world and the world of haste is a thin veil of plants. A hedge of lanky ladies– the Sunchokes, sunflowers native to North America– rule the space. They are the sentries.

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Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center

I recently had the chance to visit with Amanda Bramble of Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center. She and her husband, Andy, have created an amazing living system around their home on 38 acres just north of Madrid, which is completely off the grid – without even a well. They grow vegetables, fruit trees, fruiting shrubs, and other perennials, based entirely on natural precipitation and rainwater catchment. The property is an inspiring demonstration site for hands-on learning about sustainable design and construction.

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My plants will not grow

My garden has a weird growth curve this year. Something like 5th percentile for height and 10th percentile for weight. In all my years gardening I’ve never seen my plants so diminutive

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The garden squat and… Hello Kitty?

Lately I’ve been overcome with a deep sense of doom about the evolutionary trajectory of humans. For all but a blink of our 200,000 years we have been a species completely immersed in moving around in the natural world….

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Seed Pack

All I knew about growing sorrel I had heard from a farmer at a local grower’s market. In her lilting black sunhat she said “it likes shade” and “watch out it can spread.”

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On the prow of a ship

My garden is the front yard, hugged by a driveway on each side and the street out front. I often feel I am on a prow of a very green ship- sticking out into a concrete sea.

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Seeking shelter

The past week the word that has been clinging to the outer edges of my thoughts is shelter. The word could have been shade. Lord knows we were all thinking about shade. But the word was shelter.

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Imogene comes to stay

Last summer Imogene came to live with me. Her whisper was a bit raspy as she said “now you listen here, enough of this fancy stuff. You best figure out how to grow food or these babies are going to go hungry.”

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Garlic catastrophe

I’m writing to report a failure. Every fall I plant garlic. For the past 6 years it has been a ritual that marks the season. A garlic is planted by plucking a clove from the larger head and placing it in the soil, rough butt in the earth and pointy nose towards the sky…

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Everyday I’d go out in the morning and there they sat, just about the same as the day before. My impatience would crawl up and down my spine and settle in my tongue.

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