After a desultory Summer, the garden has re-invented itself as a garden of Triffids.
Plants that move! Clamber relentlessly. That twirl and twine and choke and crawl...That drag themselves tendril by tendril.
Plants that cannot be stopped!
Outback, taking over, are African Yams, Chokos, Russian Cucumbers and New Guinea Beans. In the mix are Snake Beans, Yam Beans, and Bolivian Cucumbers (Achocha) Sweet Potato, Butternut and Kobacha Pumpkins...
With so many climbers and creepers I had to install lifts. So as the garden grew up and crawled I started feeding it jute twine and began running feeder lines hither and yon like a aerial circus or a spider on acid.
Who would have thought that the air could be so occupied and verdant when the soil is so far away?
I wish I had a plan for this macrame but its all impulsive twisting and tie-ing as I try to keep ahead of the tendrils. Nonetheless, it's a novel garden now. I ran an old hose from the huge Silky Oak to an overhanging Dawson River Bottle Brush so that the future aerial activity has more freeway.
It's detente. I'm trying my hand at plant husbandry. A plant trainer.
Without my trusty roll of twine....they'd take over.
The irony is that despite employing such a simple tool, the climbing plants are thriving. They must like the exercise and the journeying, even though I set the route.And nothing has traction like twine. It's ladder for plants.
Unlike the Permies' penchant to 'design' a garden from the getgo, this one comes together on the fly.
For more discussion on this climbing adventure, check out this link for a comments thread about my experience using twine for climbing plants.
But I do have other plants growing closer to the ground, and, with the cooling of the weather, have been madly planting out and sowing seed. Seeds I had planted before that did not take over Summer, are now sprouting on my second try.
I've improved my sowing routine and embraced a different relationship with...weeds.
Over Summer the weeds got away from me. It was a great season for weeds and given that I was so often ill, the weeds freely grew without challenge. So where they grew I let them be...
Then I smothered them! And those I did not smother in their beds I harvested for mulch.
And a fine thing too. I kept laying down and moving about weed mat on the paths between the garden beds and any weediness underneath died. Why pull a weed when you can darken it to death? If I don't keep the mulch up I get weeds because my mulch is chockers with grass seeds (because it is cut grass).
But surprisingly on the beds I get few weeds...
Despite that I seldom weed...so long as the mulch keeps a'coming.
To then be able to turn weeds into much -- by throwing them atop cardboard, packaging and newsprint on the garden paths -- is a delightful irony.But it works just fine. And given that harnessing a creeper is a simple snip snip with a pair of scissors -- both jute twine and plant is keenly laid to rest on the very same paths. I recycle the dead.
So I smother the weeds with weed mat and then blanket them with paper and mulches.
I've ratcheted up my exotic penchant with my recent seedings. Among the more interesting plants I've sown are:
- Achocha (Bolivian Cucumber)
- Egyptian Spinach
- Okinawa Spinach (seedling)
- Betel Leaf (seedling)
- Aztec Spinach (Huauzontle)
- Yam Bean (Jicama)
- Brazil Spinach (cuttings)
- Mouse Melon
- Rakkyo Onion (seedling)
I guess my major oversight was to not plant out enough flowers...for blooming at the moment. I've rectified that with another sunflower indulgence and a keen insertion of some classic cottage garden standards like Hollyhocks, Lupines and such.
But vegetable or flower, I'm still learning how to handle each plant so that it grows to maturity. It's been a great Summer for peppers after the bad times of the past. But cucumbers -- the ready fruiting thereof -- still alludes me, so maybe I'll be cross pollinating with a feather next time around.
And talking of peppers...and many of my plants in fact: I've been trying to rectify their habit to hall over. My soil is so sandy and the much I use so friable, that plants struggle for anchorage , especially when they get larger or bear fruits. So I've run a 'hand rail' the length of each bed on which I can rest sticks and such to support the plants underneath. Even inserting stick does not suffice as they too fall over so the sticks often need to be supported. Thus my hand rail...chest high: bamboo canes running parallel to the soil.