Will there be Amaranth this Year? (and other experiments…)

Last fall, I clipped a few stalks of Amaranth to tie together with fresh basil for pretty fall bouquets and left the rest to naturally dry out, scatter their seed – hoping they go forth and prosper –

Picture of Burgundy and Golden Giant Amaranth

This past week, I cut down the stalks, and finely raked the bed, wondering if the experiment of ‘self-seeding’ will, in fact, work….

AmaranthBed2015

Amaranth is a drought-hardy, sun and heat loving plant.  Absolutely tasty in pancakes, waffles and blintz recipes, it is fine textured and, to my taste buds, slightly sweet.

It does require moisture to begin with, but last year, I merely scattered the seed, watered in, and tried to water every 3rd day until the seedlings appeared – some weeding & thinning only – watered it twice all summer.  So little work for such a pretty landscape – 🙂

The Amaranth bed has been  one of many of my ‘let’s be lazy and see what happens’ experiments –

Picture of jerusalem artichokes

I also left all my Jerusalem Artichokes in the ground – just to see what will happen – there are some suspicious holes – Oakley, the wonder dog, looks somewhat abashed when my stern gaze moves from the holes to her  – maybe she hasn’t been eating as much of her food because she’s been living off artichokes this winter…

Since I still haven’t figured out what exactly to do to make the south perimeter rammed earth tire wall prettier, (since my initial idea of stuccoing it won’t allow for me to plant in the top), I’ve decided to plant my squash in the tires, so trailing vines cover them for the season, and maybe put some bamboo tripods in, so Scarlett runner beans can reach for the sky  –

I briefly considered doing 3 Sister plantings in each tire, but nixed that plan as even if it did work having the corn spaced so, I would have to get on a step ladder to harvest it, seeing as how the wall itself is already 4 foot above ground level.

So, 2 sisters it will be – or perhaps a few tires with sugar baby melons or sugar pumpkins with peas – I’ve dutifully kept and carried with me, every move since the divorce, the bag full of worn out pantyhose saved from the days when I labored in hell, aka, office attire –

I started saving them for ‘gentle cradles’ to support melons when I first learned of the vertical gardening method.  Whether they will be needed for trailing down instead of up, I know not, but  maybe this year, I’ll finally find out!

Ahh, Yes – Hope does Spring Eternal for the wanna-be-gardening soul – 🙂 –  Armed with a new list of dreams/hopes and plans – I shall march into the coming year with a light heart and smiling countenance – willing to do/dare/learn the hard way  – I love experimenting each season – especially with a nonchalant, hands-off approach –

I love to watch how well Mother Nature does with as little interference from me as possible –

Except for bindweed and pig weed – I interfere heavily and often for those two foes… 🙂

pig weed

ID 10 TS

I would like to give you pictures of the landscaping projects that are in process – – or have been accomplished….

Or show you how high the Jerusalem Artichokes and Sunflowers are, or how beautiful the fantabulously drought-tolerant Golden and Burgundy Amaranths are –

Alas – despite my best intentions, I had little website work in June and now, 3 sites to get up and out for approval by end of next week – –

An existing customer called a few days ago and asked for some documentation for their funding resource – seems what I previously provided was impressive in it’s low cost, but they’d like to have another meeting and have new pages that are clearly marked as to which phase we are doing when – –

They are dragging their feet – says I – They’ve had this information since April – – You continue to pay out of pocket each month, as they ask for more stats, watermarked estimates, etc…..

This is why any business I launch is paid for by me – – -too much time/trouble convincing investors and the time spent jumping through their hoops could be put to good use actually BUILDING something –

Alas, I always gravitate towards business ideas that rely on my own brain, skill, know-how and existing tool set – – Not everyone is so lucky – there are those grand ideas that need funding for buildings, equipment, R&D, prototypes, etc….

Now that you know the history, my customer advised, part way through the conversation, as I added the required text to each phase estimate and cut/pasted the documents into one long historical document, for their printing convenience, he said,

“Well, you just have to deal with ID 10 TS’s”

And, swear to gawd! I did not get it until I wrote it down – – Sheesh!  I need a vacation – – –

🙂

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I realized I had once more slipped into Dereliction of Duty status here at WordPress when Sue left a comment to check and make sure she wasn’t missing my new posts in her email inbox and to make sure I hadn’t died – – Thank You, Sue!   You make me feel so loved and cared for!

(Want to see amazing art and gardens?  Check out Sue’s slice of cyberspace!)

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And so, dear friends, neighbors and family here at WordPress – I’m once again working my tail off – trying to keep ahead of the curve ball and failing to take pictures of anything as I race from one project to another – –

But I’m doing my meditation and heat lamp treatments religiously – –

I’m only working a max of 14 hour at a time and making sure to get a good night’s sleep – –

And I’m slowly, but surely, implementing lessons learned from the past…

Except for how durn long it takes me to get caught up when I don’t log in and read every day!

🙂

Hope this finds you well and I’ll catch up with your world here soon – feel free to leave a comment, begging me not to leave 23 likes and 8 comments on your blog all at one time, at the end of July, when I can luxuriate in reading all day long once more …..

You ask and I swear, I’ll space them out to one a day – – 🙂

Garden Plans – Stardate 052714

Yesterday while pulling out nearly a years worth of hardy grass new growth and dead strands, it occurred to me I really ought to keep a diary of my projects as I strive to transform my 3 lot, 100 year old home place into my own Garden of Eden.

I rarely think to snap pics until I’m all done – “My, ain’t that pretty?  Let’s take a snapshot!”

So here are some snaps – some have before and after –  some, I didn’t think about the camera until too late –

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Remember the southside of the house when this project first commenced?  The nice rolling ditch to funnel water right back to the foundation?

Southside - Ditch to be dug for blocks
Southside – Ditch to be dug for blocks

Here with a nice sanded slope I had been advised to put in place, by no less than 5 local ‘experts’, only to discover this traps wet in the stucco, which necessarily breathes from the bottom air holes?

Growing Green Things
Growing Green Things

Then the hours of digging down, sloping and installation of a secondary raised bed?

Ready to build kitchen herb garden
Behind the scenes – 2 layers of block protecting steep sloped, plastic covered, pebble graveled run-off away from foundation

Well, here’s the south side nearly finished – tire perimeter in place and two of the perennials from last year made it – beds need their mineral/rock dust amendments and then will be planted with summer vegetables.   The back portion of bed already planted with mammoth sunflowers to shade the wall – sunflower seed fits my budget better this year than the lattice work I had hoped to install between the upright poles – ah well, there’s always next year!

Fronts of the beds planted yesterday with marigold and nasturtium seeds – hopefully, my marigolds aggressively self-seed!

SouthSide2_3rds
2/3rds Done! Middle beds and walkways left to do

Me and the boy cleaned out a mess of leaves, tumbleweeds, hardy grass and dead leavings to clean out the west side of the yard fence – the below featured tree has quite a few buds on it, so not ready to give up on it just quite yet – this area will be prepared for an amaranth and cabbage bed – if the amaranth gets as tall as it says it will, should provide some nice shading late in the day.  In the background, you can see Oakley, the wonder dog, lying carefully in between the rows of Jerusalem artichokes – alas, she has stunted the growth of 2 of them, but more are poking their heads out and we have 6 that are 4″+ high already!

Future Home of Amaranth - Burgundy and Golden Giant
Future Home of Amaranth – Burgundy and Golden Giant

The east side is coming along nicely – Here’s a pic from my front door during last years heavy rainstorm – and the tires I originally thought to use for the eastern perimeter.

August 3rd - Rain, Rain and some more Rain
August 3rd – Rain, Rain and some more Rain

Next, a picture of the east side in progress –  beds next to the house that capture roof run-off and the establishment of what is sidewalk/what will be lawn area.

Transplanted to these beds last fall, the new irises, white and purple,  have put on a lovely show and will be inter-planted with lovage and purple volcano sage.   All but one of the roses transplanted from my mom’s garden last year failed to make it – one has 2 green leaves down near the base, so left it in to see what happens –

The front walk-way blocks were planted with perennial chives and annual cumin – I may regret planting chives so close to where I’m going to attempt having a pretty, run in your bare feet lawn space – time will tell.  The side of the lawn planted with a low growing, drought tolerant seed mix last fall (right) received no supplemental water from September through now – which means I have to reseed and try again this year to get well established before testing it’s drought tolerant capabilities.

Walkway to be lined by chives and cumin - lawn re-seeding awaiting me getting the micro-irrigation back out of the shed
Walkway to be lined by chives and cumin – lawn re-seeding awaiting me getting the micro-irrigation back out of the shed

The hurriedly built and transplanted strawberry beds are showing the seedlings of 7 different kinds of lettuce and the spinach is nearly 3 inches tall.   I inter-planted some salsify in one bed between the strawberries (lettuce at the outer edges) and also planted perennial Welsh onions in the second bed in between the strawberry plants – both the salsify and the Welsh onions are new to me, so will keep you posted on how that whole experiment turns out.

Right under the pine tree, with good morning sun - so much for having to rake pine needles here - !
Strawberries and Salsify in middle, Mesculan mix around one outer edge, spinach planted on the other outer edge.
Tried the low-cost black edging from Lowes - easy to do, will let you know how long it lasts
Strawberries and Welsh onions planted in middle – green leaf and flame red lettuces planted at edges.

Interested  in any of the plants?  Here’s the links to the seeds I purchased:

Amaranth, Golden Giant

Amaranth, Burgundy Grain Organic

Welsh Onion, Bunching Scallions

Salisfy

Mammoth Sunflower

French Sparky Marigold

Dwarf Nasturtium

Lovage

I suppose the area for amaranth is not going to prep itself, so I’ll sign off – Happy Gardening!