Appropriately after dancing around the May Pole and celebrating Spring we’re starting to plant. We’re actually not far behind the rest of the valley since the weather has been frightful, with heavy rain falling far later than usual and even hail yesterday. We’ve been able to plant in the new “synergic beds” we built in the last few weeks in the Northern field, and we’ve also filled 2 of our 4 terraces in the Southern orchard field.
Monika, our intern from Hungary who is an agriculture student, helped us plan beds for spacing and potentially compatible species combinations. We planted many of our own starts and a few we bought in various combinations to support symbiotic relationships within beds. In Hungary, Monika mentioned that many beneficial plant combinations in the garden reflect ingredients that are often cooked together, for example garlic, tomato and basil. We’ve been studying all kinds of combinations and planting accordingly. Our synergic raised beds were designed to maximize the surface area for planting, with all the roots (ideally) meeting underground to support pest resistance, nitrogen fixing and disease prevention. We also planted herbs and flowers at the ends of beds, like calendula and lavender, to attract desirable insects and hopefully protect from less desirable ones like ants. We covered new seeds and unplanted areas around the starts with dry straw to create a kind of skin which will hopefully keep moisture from evaporating off the bed and prevent weed growth. (Unlike in the Northwest, the greater risk here is dry beds from wind and exposure vs. wet beds with slugs and mold . ) We’ve also been considering copper wires in plant stalks to help support disease resistance, new spiral beds to make a sunflower labyrinth and more traditional row crops with an eye for crop rotation.