Friday, May 9, 2008

Herbs and Flowers

Hello there,

Not much that's new to report. We've just about finished deer-proofing 30+ acres of land (the whole property is 282 acres). It's an enormous amount of fencing, as well as many gates, and all that remains is to string top wire along several sections; but we are deer-proof enough that we can start planting vegetable and flower starts from the greenhouse.

Eden and I planted our first seeds out of doors, and our first flower/medicinal herb starts, at the end of April. Matt tilled up a quarter-acre for us at the beginning of the property, which is a bit of a walk from the main house. But the soil is great. So far the flowers we've planted: plains coreopsis, various poppies, bee phacelia, clarkia, safflower, sunchokes (which are in the sunflower family), hollyhock, cardoon, daisies. Medicinal herbs: echinacea, yarrow, lavender and California goldenrod (which can also be used as cut flowers), and lovage. We also planted some excess cabbage for the community, so that there'll be lots of sauerkraut goin' on. Mostly we'll sell cut flowers to a local CSA and possibly other venues, and begin to build up a cache of perennial medicinal herbs for the long-term.

Another cool thing we got going there at the herb/flower plot, yesterday, was a hand-dug flood irrigation system, just like people have been doing for thousands of years. It took a lot of work, but basically the paths between the garden beds also function as irrigation trenches. You just turn the water on, irrigate whatever trench you want, and the water soaks the adjacent beds. Capillary action brings the water upwards as well as down. We're still having to water the seeds we sowed out there, but the starts, which already have pretty well-established root systems, get watered from the bottom up, and eventually all the plants can be watered this way. It's still very much a work-in-progress, as, there are places where the water sits too long, and there's more digging to do. And there are many more beds to create, meaning also that there are many more trenches to dig.

OK, that's it for now. I've been postponing journaling here, thinking I didn't have much to say. But I'm back on track now. Have a great day.

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