Lazy Gardener in June

  • Posted on: 30 June 2017
  • By: Cathy McGuire

I'm half ashamed to show this photo, but it does illustrate the dilemma of being stuck between two worlds. I am aware that most gardens are straight lines with bare dirt between the coddled and sprayed plants. I am also teaching myself some permaculture ideas, including the fact that bare dirt is not good, and that weeds can sometimes help rather than hurt.

I am also halfway into my project of harvesting my grass yard after letting it grow about thigh-high, so that I can use it for grass hay or straw for my animals. I am beginning to think it's nuts to spend several hours weekly mowing, composting the scraps, and then buying $11/bale hay! And it does seem to be working - the rabbits love the grass and clover, and now that sun is more constant, I'm able to dry sections of the sickled grass before I put it in the shed. Still not good at bundling it...

After a wet, cold, hot, sunny May (yes, global weirding is in full swing), it looks like we're getting a more more constant sun in Oregon's Willamette Valley. I have most of my seeds or plants in the ground, but various urgent tasks are delaying the last bits. I have to believe that if someone were serious about taking a garden the full cycle (planting from seed all the way to preserving food and saving seed) that it would take up all their time, leaving nothing for the modern world. Or maybe I'm slow... I notice that a lot of the plant starts at the stores are "standard" brands (haven't been able to get to a farmer's market yet) with no guarantee they will be good for this climate. Given the increasing extremes of temperature variation, I am going to focus much more on this, and will be recording how each plant manages, with little "coddling" because that is not something I can guarantee. (A friend takes the opposite tack: she wants the warm weather plants to thrive and has built an amazing "tomato house" over about 3 rows of plants - I must get a photo). I have a feeling we will each have to balance the need for results (ie: food) with how much effort we can manage and how much ecology we have learned.

Another "project" is trying to identify and watch the many weeds in my yard - looking for herbs in disguise, and also for plants that attract beneficial insects (I know several of my neighbors are really annoyed with my decision to allow a weedy yard - they keep trying to spray and mow and eliminate weeds AND insects... fools). I have several grains (blown here on the wind?) like wheat, barley and oats; I have sheep sorrel, cat's ear and of course the ubiquitous dandelion. I believe I have feverfew and fleabane, wood sorrel, mullien, thistle and mallow... they are really lovely, if you're not obsessive about lawn, and the bugs they attract are amazing!

This is some kind of moth - scarlet and charcoal gray - I couldn't photo the details, but they are beautiful. I have no idea what kind it is. I will leave you with it, and get back to gardening!