Opening week in the gardens, April 1! The season used to start March 1, but with climate change the entire season has shifted from March - October to April to November in the past four years. I have the opportunity to focus on the gardens exclusively. I will work for myself now. I believe if I pour all my energy into marketing my business, I will make a living. I took inventory of the tools this week and I will look into tool mainenance. I have never had a tool maintenance schedule. I thing I have changed the blade on my Felco pruner once in twenty years.
I will take inventory of the hand tools next. I load up my truck, a Chevy Tahoe on opening day with three tool bags in front of the backseat and basic tools on a tarp in the back. When I do the toolbag inventory, I will list them here, but here's the tool inventory from this week:
Ax - Short 1
Broom - Corn 1
Cultivator - 2
Fork - Hay 1
Metal Pipe (for stake holes) - 3
Pick Axe - 2
Rake - Hard 5
Shovel - Leaf 1
Round Point - Small 1
Short - 2
Border Spade - 1
Interestingly enough baseball Opening Day was a couple of weeks ago which is why I'm using the phrase here. I find it fasicinating how the Establishment has shifted our focus at key points in our lives. In this case, baseball shifts the focus from "Opening Day" in our gardens. Oh, we gon git down and dirty here cause what has happened to us as a people in the midst of divide and conquer was down and dirty so in order to reach restitution we gon have to face some realness.
We have dreamed of gardens since closing day mid November, assessing what went right, what went wrong and what changes we want to maek in the new season. I switched out heavy plastic fence at Sargent-Downing, my community garden for deer netting after six years of any weight pulling down the plastic fence. I ruminated over chainling, metal, more permanent installations, but all would require concrete footing and the Hudson Valley is a watershed and I could not in good conscious place concrete in the underground streams. I engage Earth harmoniously as much and as often as possible. I our journey toward modernization we have turned our relationship with Earth in to a war to tame rher to our great frustration. The garden sits in a wind tunnel and I realize this season with parts of the fence down, I can weave the fence inside the posts so the pressue of the wind will push the fence against the post instead of away from it. The front fence is in tact.
The other thing I learned last season was to grow more Kale so that I get a pot of greens out of one harvest. I had a six foot bed over all these years and it would take two harvests to get enough Kale for a pot of greens so last year I grew half a bed (15') of Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica, Brassicaceae, Biennial) and then I put Mustard Mix (Pink Lettucy Mustard (Brassica rapa, Brassicacae, Annual, Ruby Streaks (Brassica juncea, Brassicaceae, Annual) Tatsoi (Brassica narinosa, Brassicaceae, Annual) in the other half (15') and voila! Brassica bed. Plants have a Common Name, a Botanical Name and a Family name. I will place those names in parentheses after each plant' common name as well as their lifespan. There is no end to the individual growth one experiences gardening. One must always be solution oriented. Not to mention we are outside in the fresh beautiful healthy air and sun.
I finally have the right growing conditions for Anise Hyssop (native cough medicine) (Agastache foeniculum, Labiatae, Perennial) and Skullcap (native painkiller) (Scutellaria lateriflora, Labiatae, Perennial). Hiddenbrooke is my second herb garden. I was displaced from my first herb garden in 2017 and my good friend Shannon was kind enough to offer me space. Hiddenbrooke is a teaching space as well. After not doing very well with Anise Hyssop and Skullcap for three seasons, I finally decided to look up their growing conditions and lo and behold, they are forest dwellers! I had them in full sun! The problem last season was them being over run with Stilt Grass (Microstegium vimineum, Graminae or Poaceae) that I hope to remedy by laying down brown paper. Skullcap will be tricky because she grows very delicately. Hiddenbrooke is my production site and I want to go to market in Autumn.
Flora Jones Garden is the first space I bartered for land. Flora Jones is an African-America Democrat activist in Beacon. She approached me to "do something" with her 50' x 70' lawn in her backyard. She was sick of having it mowed and recalled growing food in gardens in Alabama when she was a child. I originally grew the vegetables in the back of the garden because there was a wild herb (Vetch, Vicia sativa, Leguminosae, Perennial) growing in the front. Vetch has since been over run by Bindweed. The trees in the back of the garden are shading out the vegetable garden so I will be moving it to the front of the garden this season. Flora Jones Garden is my Wild Salad garden. I harvest for my self and my classes all season. Before agriculture we were all gatherer/hunters and we would roam the countryside. Agriculture allowed us to stay in one place. It also interestingly, enough, allowed us to feed our prisoners of war and thus begin the slave trade. Wild Salad takes us back to our wild foraging days and I harvest wild greens until I grow the Mustard Mix in the summertime. Variety is the spice of life after all!