Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wahoo for Wattle!!

This is sure a work in progress! With the help of two fellow Wattlers, we managed to cut down quite a few Mimosa trees that were taking over my garage, (along with tons of honeysuckle and other various weeds). The limbs from these trees were from 9 ft to 15 ft long, and quite subtle, making them perfect weaving material. I love the wonderful curve they have helped me to produce in the wattle fence.

I believe my cucumbers, peas, and nasturtiums will thoroughly enjoy their adventurous climb in and out of the limbs to the sky. One poor cucumber baby was actually trying to climb in mid air before the wattle was up, and he finally decided to curl his little tendril around his own stem/neck! The poor baby was choking himself! Whew! Got that fence up just in the nick of time.

A Little advice on Wattling a fence. FIRST post placement is very important. Mine are around 3 1/2 - 4 feet apart, which I find is really too far for weaving unless you have boundless access to wattling materials around 15 feet or taller. This "weave" needs to be at least 15 feet, and around 2 to 4 inches at the thickest part and a bit green and pliable. I have corrected this space in my lower garden, and feel it will make finding the weaving materials a bit easier with my posts only about 2 feet apart. I like to be able to weave through at least 3 or 4 posts to get a good strong hold.

Then just start at the bottom and alter each weave as you would with a basket or place mat. Don't fret over thin tops to your materials, just tuck them in where ever you can fit them. I even leave a few limb sprouts at the tops, to tuck in and out as I go. It really adds personality and flair, as well as stability. On the end post to your left (in the pic above), I used honey suckle vines to tie the weave to my tall post to anchor it all together, this worked quite nicely!


Okay, at the risk of sounding insane, I think I have a garden fairy! I was taking pictures of my Wattle Fence for this blog, and happened to captured these images. In the first photo, I see to have captured a purple figure with a misty underneath, hovering in the center of my garden, watching me with great joy. The next image, the fairy seems to suddenly become camera shy, and bolts to the right of the garden, causing it's poor lovely purple head to become pointy!

Okay, believer or non-believer, I choose to belive this is my own personal Garden Fairy. Maybe she will bring good fortune to the garden and help us to produce a bountiful yield all summer!

Anyway, until next week, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
Have a great week! Gertie

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lasagna Garden

Meet my new lasagna garden.

This will soon be surrounded by a wattle fence, and a lovely natural gate. I am planning beans, corn, various squashes, p-nuts and potatoes in this garden. The fence to the left is my old garden that will soon be my "Mystery Garden". I found it didn't get quite as much sun as needed, so this year my plan was to retire it and use it as a compost bin. Of course, as I earlier stated in a blog, I just so happen to have a mixed bag of orphan seeds that really need a home, thus the "Mystery Garden". However, for today, both plots patiently waiting for new plantings while my upper garden near the deck is receiving new plants on almost a daily basis. .

This plant just in!! My neighbor Rick, grew fennel last year, and it came back this year. He has no clue what to do with it, so he gave it to me!! YES!! Always a place for adopted veggies in my space!

Okay, so I started reading about no dig gardens a few years ago. Not because I am lazy, but because the thought of chopping up all of my lovely worms with a tiller makes me quite sad! During my no dig quest, I stumbled upon lasagna gardening and was quite intrigued! (NO this does not include pasta sauce! ) To lasagna garden simply means to layer your ingredients as you would lasagna. I began last fall with newspapers to kill the grass. This was a bit challenging due to wind and rain, the papers kept escaping all over my yard daily. I then applied a layer of cardboard, which imprisoned the paper quite nicely. After this set for a few weeks, I began layering with grass clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps, manure, and repeated this process. Over the winter I continued to add kitchen scraps, much to the raccoons delight, and this spring did a bit more grass and mushroom compost.

Whew.. now it's time to plant! The nice part is of course, big fat healthy worms, lots of organic matter for my plants, as well as low amounts of weeds. In order to plant you will need to cut out a hole and plug in your plants. With seeds, I spread a bit of dirt around and pat. They will soon dig down and venture below the cardboard for a joyous feast!

Now, so far I really love Lasagna Gardening, BUT, the downside is there as well. I need to be careful that my plants don't get fungus from too much dampness amongst their roots. Also, the photo above shows my row of Chinese cabbage, okay, what used to be my Chinese cabbage. This kind of gardening gives slugs a lot of space to live under leaves and such. So, they have devoured my cabbage, a bit of my artichokes, and even my newly sewn parsley. What to do? I tried the beer method, and not very helpful. I think it just gave them something to wash down their greens with. I searched for the "organic" slug bait, and have found none for sale locally, so I will probably shop online for this, and perhaps that will annihilate these nasty glutenous buggers!!

In the mean time, I pluck the little slimey's and either drown them or squash them. It works to keep the nibbles at bay, but keeps me quite busy! Until next time, Nameste! Teresa/Gertie

Friday, May 1, 2009

April was a busy month!

A Wattling we will go!

Okay, April was a very busy month, per my job as well as the garden. However, I do plan to blog at least weekly (probaly more than that) to catch everyone up on all of the exciting things going on in the world of Gertie's tasteful Garden.

Let the Posting begin!

For an overview, as I mentioned earlier in my first blog, I have decided to build a wattle fence, which has become 2 wattle fences, 3 archways and 2 gates.. (so far) all made from tree debris in my front yard. I dare say I shall need a few more blades for the reciprocating saw before all is finished. You would not believe all of the things you can do to recycle a few HUGE fallen trees! http://www.alaskabg.org/Education-Learn/HowTo/WattleFence.pdf

My hope is that all of my future climbing comrads, will take to the wattle fences and bring forth a joyous gathering of green vines and leaves, complimenting the lovely grays from the tree bark, as well as the colorful scented flowers with busy insects dancing about their heads to conclude with lots of yummy things to eat.

Along with the wattle adventure, I embarked last fall on a quest for dig free, weed free lasagna garden. I began with newspapers, cardboard, yard clippings, leaves, and compost from the kitchen, and slathered my planned area with these articles as one would do to prepare lasagna. So far, the worms are extremely fat and happy, and I am still digging to plant my seedlings. I do however, think the weeds will be most unhappy with the situation thus far.

I also have begun the mapping out the gardens in my log, as well as placing out plants and seeds. I like a cottage garden approach with companions everywhere. It gives the garden a whimsical flow, leaving one to feel as though it just appeared and was meant to be there for their viewing pleasure. Planting this way also seems to keep the bugs and weeds down, and as long as there are curvy paths here and there, you can harvest to your hearts desire.

This year's really fun factor will be my "mystery" garden. This began with cleaning out my garden drawers, to discover tons of wayward seeds in the bottoms (thanks to a hungry field mouse no doubt?) I gathered these seeds and placed them in a brown paper lunch bag for further contemplation. After some consideration, I have decided to use my old garden plot from the last few years, as an experiment site. It has been dumped with all the good things for soil, such as mushroom compost, grass clippings, kitchen goodies, and paper. I plan to lightly till this concoction together, and sprinkle it with my bag of seeds . The fun will be to see how well it does, and what "fruits" will become of so little labor. Pictures will follow soon!

Again, I promise to blog more often, and with more details and links to walk you through the wonders and disappointments of Gertie's Tasteful Gardens!

Nameste! Teresa!