I’ve largely neglected my rock garden since constructing it over what was a dump a long long time ago. Weeds have been growing up between the rocks, and sumac has grown all around. I have decided to take a little break from shed construction and play around with a tractor implement known as a back blade. It’s basically a straight chunk of iron attached to the three point hitch which allows the driver to level dirt, and move around heavy rocks. Since teaching myself how to use this device, I’ve taken a renewed interest in my rock garden.
The herbs I’ve planted and largely ignored are doing very good. They are all planted under the gentle cover of a apple tree, and the soil carried an amazing dark color thanks to the remnants of large quantities of wood which have been burnt or rotted away here. I have have been a poor garden tender, but the only hint of my absence is the extra plants which sprung up while I was away.
The parsley seems to be the one exception to this garden. Although it’s growing fairly well, it seems to be growing slowly. I may need to stop by this area with some plant food, and soak the soil with a few gallons of water.
The basil is growing happily, with one of the night lights I placed here nearby. These are solar powered lights that are often found near walkways. I’ve placed two of them here to give the garden a bit of character at night. I can see the lights glowing from my porch after dark.
Now that I’ve gotten used to leveling and cleaning the ground with the tractor, I’m hoping to Terra-form this whole area of about an acre. I would like to end the dominance of weedy ground and unruly chunks of iron, and bring in a new age of green mowed grass, and gentle slopes. I’ve already made quite a big dent of sorts
On Tuesday I started planting Tomatoes, so by Thursday I decided it was time to switch gears to direct seeded plants. I started with some Lettuce, then Purple Kohlrabi, two flavors of Mesclun then I finished up with some Green Beans. I’ve been trying to pace myself so that I’m not too warn out for working the next day, and I now have 9 whole days to finish the rest of the planting before going back to work. You heard it right, this IT guy is going into full farming mode for over a week !
Here are the seed packets for the items I’ve planted as seeds.
When I was planning what to plant the other day I couldn’t find the Kohlrabi seeds I ordered, so I went to Home Depot to find some. Their seed selection was still pretty healthy, but there was only purple Kohlrabi available, so I bought three packets. When I finished planting that day, I found the original white kohlrabi seeds.
The table under the seed packets is a side project I’ve been constructing from locally grown/harvested rough cut lumber. You may notice the pattern at the bottom that was left by the sawmill when the giant blade cut this tree into slices. I decided to leave these lines slightly visible to give the piece some additional character. When it came time for staining it, I used a combination of Oak and Birch stains, which have turned out beautifully. I’d really love to be a full time farmer / furniture builder some day.
I’ve finally gotten my Goji berry plants, but I must admit I’m kinda upset with them. These tiny plants cost me $12 plus shipping and handling. I’ve always been one to hold my tongue and not complain, but that is quickly changing. I’m realizing that when things are unfair, light must be cast upon the shadows. I’m planning on calling the company in question and asking if my generously filled out order forms do not merit 5 living plants.
On a more positive note, my Rock Garden is starting to come together nicely. Most of the larger stones were in place when I started this project, and I’ve fitted the smaller rocks around them to build a set of steps. I’ve worked this area as an artist would swirl paint on a canvas, letting the end result be more of a product of the initial state, rather then my own will. I guess it would be simpler to say I’m building around what I’ve been given, and not forcing the project to a particular design.
After constructing the steps, I moved many of the larger stones in the foreground to build a planting area for my herbs. I have Basil, Parsley, Sage and Chives planted here. Behind the apple tree trunk shown, I hope to construct another planting area. Here I would like to place some of the wild Spearmint plants that grow all around the farm.
I’ve made planting my herbs on time this year a priority, and I’ve very happy with their progress thus far. I’m working on a rock garden, where I hope to plant some of these along with some wild spearmint. The garden will consist of a set of steps constructed out of old barn stones, with an area devoted to the herbs. I’ve started building the steps under a wild apple tree in a nook of the farm near a stream. Having the stream nearby will make watering easy, and since this area is out of the way, the herbs will be able to grow back year after year.
As I was walking up my steps into my backdoor, I glanced down at my now two year old sage plant, and wondered what I could use it for. The plant is just starting it’s second winter, and the leaves are beginning to discolor. I did a search, and found that sage can be used for many things, once it’s dried out. I snipped off some of the larger branches of the plant that were invading my walking space, and placed them in the kitchen to dry. There’s no magic to this process other then to stir the leaves from time to time.
When the leaves are dry enough, they begin to break apart when stirred. At this point, I still wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I searched again, and found that Sage Tea was a common use. The process is simple, heat some water to a boil. ( I used a cup of water in the microwave for a minute or so…), Then add sage leaves and allow them to soak for five minutes.
I placed two spoons full of the dried leaves in a bowl, and poured the water on top, then stirred the leaves every minute or so. The source I read online mentioned that sage had medicinal uses, and the average person should not drink more then two cups per day. I’d suggest you do some searching and determine if the tea will agree with you before tasting it.
When all was complete, I had a small cup of tea, with tiny bits of leaves included. After letting the tea sit for a few minutes, the remaining bits settled to the bottom, and I tried the tea. I have made this tea three times so far, and have yet to draw a conclusion about the taste. I don’t find it gross, but it’s not pleasant either. In fact the best thing I can say about it’s taste is that it’s different, and I’ve made it more then once….