"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Thursday, June 23, 2011

South Chilco Peak and Stinging Nettles

Each year, sometime in June, we make our annual pilgrimage to the top of South Chilco Peak. It's always interesting to see how much snow is still up in them thar hills...there was a lot this year. Most of the trail was still under 5-6' of snow which was kind of nice as we were able to make our own route without too much bushwhacking as the dense vegetation and fallen trees were still buried under a dirty white. The little compass in my head was functioning properly so we managed to make it to the top without incident and it was simply a matter of following our own tracks on the way down.

The shaded side of the top was under a good 40' of snow but on the south facing side wildflowers were starting to poke through, some even blooming. The view is spectacular.

At the base of the mountain, off the beaten path, and up a small tributary I found a clearing a few years back that is full of stinging nettles, we returned the next day to fill our bags and the nettles are now drying in the greenhouse. My wife uses them in her tea concoctions. Nettles are a pretty amazing plant.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 13th Garden Pictures

Things are looking up in our gardens. Salad bowls are overflowing with green goodness, seeding and re-seeding has taken place, all of the core crops are growing fairly well, and the weeding has been keeping us very busy this past week. All the rain has washed away my wit so pictures will have to replace so many words in this post.

Dave's Spotted Trout Lettuce is growing splendidly, a nice addition to our salad selection.

Red Oak leaf and Black Seeded Simpson I believe.

RedBor kale and more lettuce lines the walkway to our greenhouse. I thought the Redbor would be more frilly leafed?

An intent little brown face in the oregano patch.:) He is thinking "Is that cat supposed to be in our garden?"

I like this mint, I planted it a decade ago and while it doesn't spread very fast it manages to come back every year. The name slips me but my wife suggests perhaps it was "Orange Mint"...doesn't taste very orangy though.

The kale in the foreground of this picture is a bit of an experiment as the seed was a cross between Gigante kohlrabi, White Russian kale, and Blue Curled kale. Time will tell how well this new creation suits our garden and palate, so far so good though as the plants are vigorous and the leaves impart a nice flavor to our salads. I'm hoping most don't bulb up like kohlrabi as it is the greens I am after. Anyway, more about this in another post.

The spinach is liking our extremely rainy spring.

Tomatoes not so much, but they are hanging in there and if it ever warms up for good they should take...might be another "ripen the green tomatoes on the porch" year again.

One of the few plants that thrives directly under our fir trees, once established, is rhubarb. Its impressive tap root allows it to delve deep for water. Notice that black cherry tree to the left, now almost 20' tall and grown from a seed maybe 6 or 7 years ago, it looks to be fruiting for the first time this year and will be the first of my many direct seeded fruit trees to produce.

Potato plants are starting to leaf out...we planted lots and lots of potatoes this year.

Carrots, beets, parsnips, and other direct seeded root veggies will soon need to be thinned.

Hesperis brightens up the garden with its pretty flowers and edible leaves...and I'll leave it at that as I'm at my wits end.:)

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