Monday, July 13, 2015

Cultivating a Better World

I enjoy raising my own fruits and veggies almost as much as I love making art; and when I can combine both activities the experience is truly sublime.  

a diagram makes it easier to inventory the plot's current layout and to 
visualize changes and/or additions

Shortly after we moved to Benbrook, TX, in June my kids and I decided to do a little exploring of our neighborhood. (Actually, we needed a break from the tedious chore of opening boxes.) We already knew our new house was just a short walk from Timber Creek Park but had no idea that the city had built a community garden in the park just last fall.

our plot and those of our neighbors (the fence is primarily to keep the deer out)

Well, a couple of quick emails and we were the proud resident-gardeners of our own plot. And, as luck would have it, we even "inherited" a thriving veggie patch (The previous tenants had to make a work-related move earlier in the summer.) with several healthy tomato plants, dwarf kale, 3 variety of sweet peppers, chives, a pea patch -- and a splash of color provided by marigolds around the raised border.

If I'd had a culpa tea before leaving home I might had got the 
measurements right too (3" & 1")

We put in a simple (but very effective) seep irrigation system, tied up a tomato plant that thought it was ground cover, pulled out some cucumber & squash vines that had succumbed to squash bugs, put in an egg plant and some strawberries (for my daughter), planted a couple rows of "Mammoth" sunflowers (for a painting or two this autumn and bird food this winter.) We've added Blue Daze to the border for my wife, a pair of bright red Pentas to attract the bees and butterflies, and two dozen marigold seedlings to fill out the cinder block "pots."

thanks to one of our resident master gardeners I've now learned 
just how easy it is to grow marigolds from seed

So, now I'm up at the garden every morning -- watering, removing the bad bugs (no chemicals means more work; but it also means a better knowledge of our garden... and organic veggies for the table.) and doing my best to attract the pollinators and other good bugs.

the Pentas have proven very attractive to pollinators 
(which then visit my tomatoes, peppers and peas) 

When the "work" is done -- I sit back, listen to the song birds, watch the carpenter bees, butterflies, cicada wasps, and hummingbirds make their rounds... and sketch. And, before heading home, I get to harvest whatever's ripe for dinner. (Ah, life is good!)

these "straw" mushrooms pop up in clusters 
and are gone within 24 hrs.


Next week I'll post an update my plans for the autumn residency in Zion National Park. And in upcoming weeks I'll be posting more news (and journal pages) from the gardens.


1 comment:

  1. What a great idea, using the cinder blocks as pots. That's such a cool layout.