Friday, June 11, 2010

Raised Bed as a Garden to Take Back Our Genesis and Herbals

I learned to garden from my mother. She learned to garden from her father. He likely learned form his mother in Iowa. I learned a bit of gardening from my grandfather as well.

I was brought up as an organic gardener. As a kid we always had manure and compost and mulch. If I had my dithers I would say to hell with fixing old buildings and would forever garden. The house and the little plot of land that we have as our residence on the south shore of Long Island halfway to Montauk we bought twenty years ago mostly because of the rich diversity of plantings and vegetation in such a small area. It made us.

This raised garden plot next to the driveway I have cultivated for twenty years.

That is a bit of a long time to be screwing around with enriching the soil. When I started we had Japanese Beetles, now we have earthworms. A few years of Guinea Hens did wonders. My son, recently, dug into it and I felt really good when he said, "Hey, this is really good dirt." There are only so many things that we can truly pass on in life and as with all stalwart gardeners we know that the next property owner after us will not quite GET IT and dig it up for more lawn.

There were years in which I could not bring myself to do a damned thing about the garden. When one oak tree got cut down it took me years to get the gumption to roll the 10' long 2' thick logs out of the beds. The stump now makes a good seat, one that I have earned. Then there was the year I grew a Beefsteak tomato plant 15' tall and had to get a ladder to trim it. I was known for a brief stint by the kids in the neighborhood as the man with the green ass... at least that is what our 90+ year old neighbor down the street thought was what the kids had told him.

Then again for twelve years I commuted to Brooklyn in a vehicle alone by myself 5 hours a day and when I landed back home the first thing that I did, before even going in to see the family, kiss kiss, hug hug, was go see what had grown that day. Flowers blooming turn me on.

This garden has kept me alive, and nowadays with the economy as screwed up as it is this garden keeps me alive today. If I can hold on to figuring out how to get the friggen Salvadorian Cucumber to actually produce a pickle-candidate then I just might make another year in my life is how I say it. One cuke at a time. Size is not the problem here.

 Oh, I almost forgot. I want to point out that I mulch with masonry and contractor grade plastic garbage bags. We got some terra cotta, some white marble and some floor slate here along w/ a field of tree mulch from the local landfill recycle facility. These are mostly cherry tomatoes, closely spaced, yes, and a few yellow low-acid tomatoes.
This masonry mulch around delicate seeded sage is fragments of John Early exposed aggregate precast panels from the Edison Memorial Tower at Menlo Park, NJ, the exact specific location where the incandescent lightbulb was invented by Thomas Edison. Don't you just love the fact that there is a small quantity of such heritage fabric laying in an otherwise anonymous garden patch on Long Island? Who would have thunk it? In our case it was stuff on the plaza that we had to clean up before we left the site... tidiness is next to godliness, or whatever. I am not quite sure where the white marble came from. It could have been from a bathroom.
This masonry mulch around the tarragon (hopefully the wilting tarragon will pick up as I love to get that really strong Polish vodka and imbibe it with tarragon) is a combination of slate and mural tiles that were made by Augustine D'Andino in Puerto Rico... left over from a tile mural that we installed for him too many years ago on a public school in Brooklyn.

Augustin: we are sorry that this tile got broke. FYI we have a few that we have manged to not break. We continue to this day to use that incredible fabric bag that you gave us. If you read this please connect and say hello.
This was the 1st oak tree that we lost. It makes a good seat. I was really unhappy when we lost the Hemlock to woolly algid. I was unhappy when we lost the Catalpa, but as you will see later it showed up again. I love the Virginia Creeper. I hate the poison ivy (not in this picture because wherever it shows up I kill it... but not 
as my grandfather taught me by burning it... no, no, no) [does a period go here?].
This is the section of the raised be that is David's. There was some confusion over how it would be managed so I planted a variety of cooking (not hot) peppers. Some plants thrive in our garden, some don't. I love marigolds and companioin planting but we have a ghost that wilts them.
Notice the Catalpa in the background.
Long Island is not exactly known as the Okra Capital like Phelps, NY is know for sauerkraut, but hey, I like Texas hot pickled okra. Why not? Even if I got to buy it in a jar.
We have a problem growing squash so I figured might as well try growing them upside down.
The German Chamomile is doing pretty good.

The little herbal masonry zone just inside the entry gate. The chamomile, a bit of oregano, and cilantro.
Our front porch. 
After the last half-naked drunk guy walked in to make liberty of the latrine - not me - yes, laugh at that one, I did a bit of fueng shuaway (besides chasing him with an axe in my underwear) and put a slight zig in the zag. Used to be a straight line into the house. No telling who would show up. On the right we have the 'forever' geranium, then some upside down squash close to where I can remember to water it, the ears of the perennial amarylis (not nearly as nice as the one the VI has), the weird South American suprise cukes that act like they want to go back home, twin rosemary -- I like herbs if only all I get is to small them when crushed between the fingers, with their extra-special yellow ambient lighting, the impatiens that seem to really like us and the birds and gray and one black squirrel at the feeder... and the nefarious endangered marine moss. Don't forget the marine moss. Endangered.
I can't quite remember but I think this is going to be a Moon Flower. We often have good moon at our house.
Thjere was a time when I was really heavy into miniature roses. I keep thinking this one is a goner but it keeps on thriving.

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