Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Around The House And Gardens

It is so humid and hot outside.  Just working in the garden for a minutes leaves me dripping with sweat.  Then any dust, mud or particles stick straight to my skin leaving me looking like some sort of prehistoric person lacking the means of personal hygiene doing the gathering part of hunting and gathering.....Regardless....the garden is beautiful and abundant.  The permaculture aspects of my garden are really becoming more and more evident as I learn more and more.

One important aspect of permaculture is to use nitrogen fixing plants and trees to enrich the soil with nitrogen.  Geoff Lawton refers to them as "legume" trees List of Leguminous Plants.  Ummm...I had never heard of such...so I began to research.  Then I realized that I have several nitrogen fixing trees already in my garden and this is one of them.  It's a very beautiful plant and if it dies down from a freeze it returns from the roots.  I've heard of it growing well as far north as Georgia.
Cassia bicapsularis pronounced KASSee-uh bye-kap-soo-LAIR-iss  From what I have read, Leguminous Plants produce pods that contain it's seeds. 
My "Pride of Barbados" plant also makes pods containing it's seeds.  It's in the "pea" family so it too is a nitrogen fixer.  Also the "trash tree" as some people call it, Mimosa is also a nitrogen fixer.  Mimosa has earned it's name as a plant that rushes in when the soil is empty an begins to grow.  It really deserves the name of "healer" since it protects the soil from being swept away, drops it's flowers and leaves to nourish the soil with organic material, and it's roots grab nitrogen from the air and fixes it in the soil making it available to other plants.  I have so much to learn.
My newest pear trees are drooping with fruit even though over half of the fruit was removed to keep it from taxing the small branches.
The side garden is doing well.  I have more work to do such as putting down more mulch.  I think it has all of the trees it can support.  Some lower growing plants need to be planted once the majority of the grass and weeds are suppressed using mulch.  Maybe sweet potatoes, squash, melons, and herbs.  There are banana, pomegranate, 3 types of fig, loquat, and bay trees in this small garden along with many perennials such as crinum, Louisiana phlox, amaryllis, cannas, angel trumpet tree, pineapple sage, four o'clocks, agapanthus, iris, Mexican sage, guara, and crybaby tree.  I may have even missed some!
Here is the view looking back at the house in the front garden.  Everything is so large and beautiful.  My swamp sunflowers (name I gave it!) that volunteered a few years ago reliably comes back larger and more beautiful each year.  I really need to identify it exactly!  Any ideas?  The boxes in the front have been collected to use as mulch.  Pine straw will be placed on top to hide them.  This works really well for me.
The windmill palm in the front garden is far surpassing the other three that are planted around the yard without the benefit of companion planting and mulching.
Here is a view of the front garden looking toward the raised bed garden.  The Aztec grass really pops in front of the weedy look of the guara.  Guara is prettiest in the morning when it's blossoms have freshly bloomed.  By mid afternoon the flowers have wilted and all the busy bees have finished harvesting it's nectar and are busy elsewhere.  In the morning guara vibrates and hums with industrious bees mining it's gold.  The guara in this part of the garden volunteered from some guara that I planted near the door.
The veggie garden is a bit overgrown and weedy.  That's not unusual for this time of year.  The heat and humidity causes every seed that  can to germinate.  A blessing and a curse.  Even in it's current stressed state it's still quite abundant!
The chickens have been getting most of their nutrition from foraging lately.  They clean up dropped fruit (that's what this chicken was doing under the pear tree), eat insects, scratch the soil, and fertilize with their droppings as well as giving eggs and meat.  According to all permaculture authorities, the perfect permaculture animal.
My persimmon tree has two persimmons on it.  The very first for my tree!
I love my little sitting area under the pergola.  I've lit the tiki torches and spent many evenings enjoying the purple martins and bats that dart around catching insects.  Sometimes the mosquitoes drive us in.  Maybe I could rig up some netting?  It's the perfect place to drink a glass of iced tea while taking a break from planting or pulling.
Muscadines!  The vines are slowly covering the trellis in their second year.  Next year I expect them the completely cover it and need to be trimmed severely!
Around six or seven brown turkey figs ripen each day.  They are so huge that this is just right for my family.  There will be so many to share once the tree grows larger.
Fiery Zinnia
Delicate Zinnia
This banana tree was obtained at half price at a local nursery because of it's shabby appearance due to a hail storm.  It's sprouting new leaves and doing just fine.  It is called Musa "ice cream" it is supposed to grow up to 15 feet and have delicious edible fruit.  We'll see!
Some of the satsumas are already showing a little bit or orange!
The navels are getting plump!
And ....Oh yes, I've harvested quite a few perfectly ripe watermelons!  Success at last!  Yummm!


Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

I love that sitting area! maybe one of those mosquito zappers would do the trick of keeping them away. I've planted three fig trees in three years and they all died the next year..I wish i had success with them.That Persimmon looks big already...mine won't be ready til fall and I only see two :o( two years straight we had 18.

Eron said...

What a fabulous yard! So inspiring. I also wanted to say that your zinnia photo is beautiful -- I love that deep red and it is so lovely at the top of your page. PS -- ripe persimmons are our chickens' favorite treat :)

narf7 said...

I think that swamp sunflower is a Jerusalem artichoke, an edible tuber that can be eaten like potatoes and that tastes like nutty potatoes as well. I just discovered your blog whilst looking for leguminous foundation trees. Cheers for the info, hope I helped :)