The word agriculture stems from the Latin words for field cultivation. Of course, modern agriculture takes that to mean "create fields everywhere, ecosystems and natural succession be damned." Nate takes that to mean "ooh, this part of my yard is in a stage of succession that works for field cultivation, let's see what happens!"
My sitting spot in the bottom of the big corn patch
This week (or maybe this weekend? Nobody knows what day it is anymore thanks to the rona), some golden amaranth seeds arrived from @mountainjewel. They posted on their Instagram that they had seeds for sale for $3 so I jumped on it. All my Hopi red dye amaranth got eaten by birds that were attracted to the bright red sprouts. So while Melissa was out doing something, I grabbed the fork and rake and invaded her precious front lawn. I put five new rows right in front of the new corn patch, along the privets in the sunniest part of the front yard. This variety is called "golden," and it's a better grain producer than the red dye amaranth.
New amaranth patch
I was in the throes of a caffeine overdose at the time, and it was pretty hot out, so this was work. Nate broke rule number one, but that's okay. I made the rule, so I'm allowed to break it. Remember, garden rule number one: Nate doesn't work.
Kiddos helping plant corn
After trying some whiskey that's made from blue corn, I decided to plant out the last of the Hopi blue. I got the two younger kiddos to help out with the work. I poked the holes, Sophie put in 3-7 seeds per hole, and Sawyer covered them up. The only real place to plant was the community garden, so whatever comes up, the neighbors have dibs. If nobody has interest in native flour corn, it'll be made into whiskey to be aged a short time in oak barrels. A new project and a new way to enjoy my landscape! I'll keep a good bit of the alcohol for tinctures too, that'll be a really exciting thing to have medicine harvested here and soaked in alcohol also made here.
We planted about three ounces of seeds that we had left. By the math I've been using of one ear per seed, four ounces of corn per ear, that'll be around 75# of corn. I don't know if that's accurate though, given that I'm not growing industrial agricultural corn.
The other Hopi blue patch (over by the new amaranth patch) is really booming. The painted mountain has shot up and flowered the last couple weeks, and should be ready for harvest soon. I think May 12 was the official day, being an 85 day corn, but the early planting pushed back the growth a bit. All good, I'm not in a hurry. It can take as long as it needs.
Painted mountain corn with two ears on it!
The garden is booming of course. That's what forest gardens do. I need more space. In the little corn patch, I planted some more green beans and some watermelon to round out the three sisters. An exciting experiment. And I made two smaller "patch shaped" amaranth patches. Praying over the soil has become a regular practice for me. Regular prayer and meditation in the garden is tangibly beneficial. Meditative gardening I guess it could be called since the meditation has taken the form of just walking my regular route and checking on everything. With my rows being roughly on contour, there's no straight walking path, it's all winding and is a surprisingly long path for such a small area.
View of the garden this year
I don't have a clue how much grain a sunflower head yields, but I'm excited to find out. Our mammoth sunflowers are really living up to their name. A meter tall already on their trip to 2.6m! These make seed heads up to half a meter across, a favorite for birds and a viable food source for people. Another ancient native food crop.
Sometimes when I think there's not much coming from the garden, those walks really help. Patience is helpful. I may only be eating green beans from the garden right now, but in a month the place will be a huge food source.
My pine pollen tincture came up ready recently. I've been using it daily along with Lion's mane tincture and I feel like it's making a difference. Melissa has definitely noticed an annoying (to her) uptick in... romantic interest... but I personally notice more mental acuity and general motivation in my daily life. That's the kind of natural support I have really been looking for; just something to help me be a more effective person. I actually started that daily regimen last week on my first week back at work. With so many new things and changes to my work routine and job duties, the extra stamina and mental capacity helped me really surprise myself. It was probably the best week it could be.
Pine pollen tincture
Thursday I'm having a few friends over from my new group I met. We're headed to the woods for a wild medicine walk. There's things I want to check on down there, specifically the plantain patch and a few mimosa trees. A tincture of mimosa flowers and bark is a calming sedative that lifts the spirits, particularly good for anxiety, depression, and PTSD. There's three or four mimosa trees down there that I know of so far, and I learned they're an invasive species, so I'm not as worried about over harvesting. They do well here in our woods and are prolific. I have friends that could benefit from a mimosa tincture, so I'd like to make a big batch to have plenty to share. I'll start stocking up on vodka and everclear before these trees make their fluffy pink flowers that uplift the spirit both by seeing and by consuming them.
Hope everything's going your way wherever you are.
Love from Texas