Gaillardia pulchella Indian blanket flower left over from spring, although weedy in appearance, it just keeps on blooming.
The far back corner of the edible garden, (2) 4 x 8 framed beds, has been occupied with salvia coccinea, cuphea ignea cigar plant, pentas, sweet peppers, and zinnias all summer long.
It's been nice to see color here during these hottest months when not much else in the way of veggies are growing.
The prep work of the garden is as much fun as the actual gardening.
Moving dirt around and dreaming about all the new possibilities is simply invigorating.
Benefits** of adding organic matter:
• Improves tilth, condition, and structure of soil, providing better aeration and temperatures.
• Supports living soil-organisms.
• Improves ability of soil to hold water and nutrients.
• Helps dissolve mineral form of nutrients.
• Buffers soil from chemical imbalances.
• Maintains a steady supply of plant nutrients.
• May contribute some degree of biological control of certain soil pests.
• Helps recycle organic wastes, thus keeping them out of landfills and waterways.
• Cheap energy source, replacing manufactured nitrogen.
**Resource for benefits list is VegetableGardeningGuru.com .
In preparing the beds for fall plantings a healthy layer of compost was recently added which you can read about here. Just in case you missed it and won't be able to sleep tonight until you catch up with these exciting updates.
This week a nice layer of well-aged horse manure has been added on top of that to improve the soil even further. I'm telling you I could shovel and move dirt around all day.
It is a beautiful, earthy thing.
Last weekend my 'cowboy son' loaded me up again with the richness of those good organic amendments that will blend into the compost and breakdown into nutrients for plants. Just in time to get the seeds in the ground in a couple of weeks.
The veggie garden consists of 6 separate planting areas each approximately 8' x4' (one is larger) divided by walkways and perennial borders surround it. It is fenced off and on the north side of the house and runs east and west. Not the recommended location for edibles. But we work with what we have.
Other than empty beds waiting for veggie seeds lots of self-seeded porterweed have sprung up randomly. This is the NOT the native. This one truly acts like a weed.
But we let a few of them grow to maturity for obvious reasons. The rest we pull out and give away or ... just pull out and toss.
If you've not had the chance to grow cuban oregano may I recommend you give it a try! Not only is it pretty and completely no nonsense to grow (here ~ year round). It will add the most wonderful fragrance and taste to any dish you traditionally use italian oregano. Typically I use both varieties when cooking my homemade spaghetti sauce. It makes it out of this world good.
Other colorful spots in the edible garden.
The edible garden is the most consistently sunny location in all of Hoe and Shovel. I've had a difficult time resisting adding more seeds of zinnias and cosmos throughout. The few still left will have to be yanked soon to make room for planting seeds for fall veggies. Although they may perish on their own with their newly added dose of manure. They prefer lean, dry soil.
5 minutes of outdoor activity a day is all you need to improve your mood~~ and your self-esteem~~ according to a new study by researchers at the University of Essex, in England.
Resource: Real Simple magazine, August 2010