Beltane Thoughts and Goals

What’s holding me back from target shooting, hunting and learning how to fish? My garden. No kidding. I work around 50 hours per week. Almost every daylight hour I am not at work, I am in the garden. My son climbed up on the roof Sunday and I passed him up the camera so he could take some shots of the garden. I wanted a bird’s eye view, a different perspective.

raised beds

Ashwaganda on the left, weeds and the ravages of the armadillos in the center, and dying borage on the right. The right and center beds were full of cantaloupe seedlings, but squirrels ate every single seedling. I’ll try tomatoes and more borage here next.

There have been a bunch of failure this Spring. February and March, when I should have been starting seeds and planting, were so busy with work & travel that almost nothing was started or planted. Many January starts died in the greenhouse while I was traveling, including every single one of my experimental coptis, skullcaps, and bupleurum. I bought starts that aren’t thriving and I’m worried that everything left to plant is being planted out far too late. Beltaine is the beginning of the hot season, the bug season.
herb garden

The culinary herb garden is mostly healthy and thriving.

Most of the green in the forest garden especially is betony, which rocketed through my gorgeous loamy soil over the winter and is now as thick as grass in all of my forest garden beds. Lesson learned- Deep mulch only works in places with extended freezes. Weeds still grow through the winter. I will plant cover crops from now on. At least the betony feeds the bees.
forest garden

A slightly fuzzy picture of the forest garden. The larger trees are peach, plum, and persimmon. There are smaller peach and pomegranate trees in there, some medicinal herbs, and some big brussels sprouts that never spiked. One pineapple guava is on the lower right, and the other guavas are just outside of the frame. Most of that green groundcover is florida betony.

Planning successful polycultures is not easy but I am learning through experimentation and observation. If you define success as “Everything is thriving, beautiful, and there’s a minimum of weed invasion” then the olive tree beds are succeeding.
olive beds

The dense beach sunflowers have crowded out most of the weeds, the olive and pomegranates are thriving, and the goji berries actually survived and came back. I’ve just planted some jicama in the back to grow up the fence, along with luffas and birdhouse gourds.

The rest of the summer will be maintenance- plant out what’s in the greenhouse and then just keep everything alive. Keep refining what’s already here. Finish more compost. Add more rain barrels. Keep observing and recording. I’ve added something like 100 new species of plants in the past two years. Now everything just needs to settle in and grow. Fall is a new season, and I will be ready.

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