Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Herbs, Rocks, & Scorpions, Oh My!

Ryan and I have decided that we do not have enough projects (sense the sarcasm?), so we are going to turn the old baby goat pasture (directly behind the solarium) into a new formal herb garden. This herb garden will have four raised beds marking the Four Corners, and a center lavender/heirloom rose bed with statue. We have been hauling river rocks up from the ravine on the far side of the property to make the raised beds, and have been filling the beds with our very own compost mix (which we - big surprise - have in large supply!). It's been backbreaking work, but Ryan and I have been immensely enjoying ourselves. It's a bit like playing "Fort" for grown-ups! Although, no one else we know seems to think this...All of our friends have become mysteriously "unavailable" since we have begun this project...? Anywho, Ryan has estimated that between the two of us we have hauled about 2 tons of rock thus far. We have three of the raised beds finished (1 culinary and 2 medicinal). The third bed will be for raising herbs used in natural dyes. We will hand-tear-out all of the grass and weeds, and lay gravel down on the walk ways in between the raised beds. We are going to dismantle the old baby goat shelter, and rebuild it in another pasture for the angoras to use. Then, we will landscape the area that the shelter used to be into a beautiful walkway to the site of our future trout pond. I have been training my multitude of grapes and climbing roses to take over the ugly old wooden fence that lines the baby pasture, so that instead of the fence all you will see is green and pink! Everything is going to look truly gorgeous when we are finished!

Speaking of rocks, we have discovered where the local scorpion population on our property is located! I always thought that scorpions in southern Oregon was a bit of a myth, but apparently not! Pretty much every single rock we turned over as we hauled them out of the ravine housed at least one (more often two or three) little dark brown scorpions. I am happy to say that I was already wearing very thick leather gloves!!

Now that three of my raised beds are complete, I have begun to plant in them! For those who don't know much about me: I am at my absolute happiest when I am covered in dirt, playing in my garden and talking to my plants. I have transplanted my five
valerian plants, and 4 of my 5 comfrey roots, into one of the medicinal beds. I am currently in the process of transplanting my newest batch of sprouts: chives, lemon mint, lavender, red bergamot, elecampane, white horehound, black mustard, epazote, stevia, toothache plant, marsh mallow, black cumin, coriander, arnica, mexican tarragon, and dotted mint. I am still waiting for my chaste tree and cramp bark seeds to germinate. I have had excellent luck with my madder seeds, which will be going into my dye garden as soon as it's completed in the next few months. I am also waiting for my angelica, meadowsweet, and gravel root seeds to germinate. As I have mentioned many times previously, Ryan and I are trying to be as self sufficient as possible, and one of the ways that we try to accomplish that is by growing 99% of all of the herbs and produce we need. That is yet another reason that people will enjoy staying at our bed and breakfast: practically everything we serve comes out of our garden or fresh off of the farm! We have dairy goats and chickens, as well as a large orchard and garden, and an enormous selection of culinary and medicinal herbs! We produce our own line of all-natural home grown & processed botanicals (soaps, lotions, teas, tinctures, etc.), which we stock our guest bathrooms with. Speaking of the garden, it's really going to be phenomenal this year! Ryan and I worked incredibly hard to put in the largest garden yet this year. We have just finished harvesting our kohlrabi, arugula, spinach, heirloom lettuce, peas, and fava beans. There won't be any new crops until fall. Now we are waiting on our bean crop (we put in SIX large beds with Dragons Tongue, Black Turtle, Kentucky Wonder, Liana, Painted Lady, & Lima Beans), squash, 25 cucumber plants (representing three different varieties), 5 cantaloupe plants, 8 Moon & Stars watermelon plants, as well as beets, turnips, quinoa, and corn. I just planted our first batch of Red Garnet amaranth about two weeks ago, and it's finally germinating. In another week or two I will plant the second batch of amaranth (Hopi Red Dye). The plums, apples, and pears are ripening on the trees, and we are at the tail end of our strawberry harvest, and just beginning our blueberry & summer raspberry harvest. In another month the blackberries will probably be ripe too! I love summer! Ryan is thinking about possibly setting up a small produce stand on the property to help us stay on top of the harvest season. I agree with him that we will most likely have more fruits and vegetables than we will know what to do with! Nothing wrong with that! ;)

No comments: