|very excited that there will be tomatoes in august this year -- because we ate our first ones in july! here are some pics of the first fruits and flowers in the garden from a quick visit july 23-25. we can thank Jaclyn Pryor for the sexy photos. she has been a farm apprentice all summer at 'the next barn over' in hadley, massachusetts http://www.nextbarnover.com/ and enlisted her to document the goings on in the annual garden during her visit to Denniston Hill.
this year's garden plan encourages us to keep perennials that come up in the garden regardless of whether we planted them or they are "invasive" species. during this visit i came up with some ideas about pruning/harvesting/weeding that would take advantage of what the soil will give while encouraging our annual crops to thrive. dandelions and clover are good examples -- we keep and harvest the dandelion for the green, bitter, savory leaves that can be sauteed, their roots go deep and bring up minerals and nutrients to plants with shallower roots, and their flowers attract bees and butterfies. I pull them out of the ground if they are encroaching on a crop we value more, like tomatoes or lettuces. red and yellow clover provide flowers and either before planting in the spring or at the end of the season, because they are nitrogen rich, we can slash them and till them into the soil to replenish it. Clover is also a good groundcover and keeps back other less desirable plants like grass.
purslane, is much like dandelion ...
butterfly weed, like clover.
returning about a month since my last visit when i put in the tomatoes and started some weeding, it was exciting to observe the changes. at first the garden seemed chaotic and overgrown ... but instead of pulling out everything that wasn't an annual, i took my time to figure out which plants really took up too much room and offered very little -- and which plants could be beneficial.
i decided on a protocol...
grasses out especially near annuals
there are 2-3 plants that are everywhere and grow prolifically and offer little and choke out everything else -- one is an imposter mugwort, another a poetic tiny pink flowering plant with hollow stalks that send out shoots and vines across the topsoil GET RID OF IT.
dandelion, purslane, clover, burdock, mugwort, chamomile, butterfly weed :: these stay unless they are bullying other planned crops. harvest them to keep them under control but also for medicinal and culinary purposes.
if we dont' know what it is and it flowers -- keep it a bit to see what it does -- if it's not too intrusive, keep it and pick the flowers or trim it back if it gets too big.
following these protocols there should be ample room in the garden for everything planned and every surprise.
i'm mostly excited about the medicinals that sprung up this year in great quantities: chamomile, mugwort, burdock, mint + thyme.
this post brought to you by