Anecdote: 'My neighbor' has a great garden so we got to talking about how he built up his soil -- as one does here where I live 'cause it's sand all the way down. "Seaweed", he says -- and he named a beach north of town where it always collects and washes up. "Ah, right," says I, who is also a seaweed collector. But then he says the gov environment guys visited him at home to inform him that collecting seaweed is a no-no. At hom they came a knocking! How absurd is that when the local council has to grade the beaches here to remove the rotting stench of the red seaweed that washes up this time of year. It's slippery and slimy and cakes the sand up to the high tide line. Within its putrid depths lurk the dreaded sand flies... I fill a bag of what may come my way when I'm out and about and he says that he does the midnight run. I'm sure the right to washed up seaweed must be listed in some international freedom charter some where. It's like fire wood or mushrooms.To go with my nanna I built the first of the trellises I had in mind. (See: Summer Heat, Bean Trellises and Palm Fronds.)
Afterward:The alternative is to use a Permaculture approach and grow climbing plants over other plants. Been there. Done that. My complication is that I have to concentrate my soil making and formatting my gardening into management level plots requires a certain schematic rigidity to layout -- neither feral nor free form planting. My primary interest is shade and to get enough shade from 'other plants' so that I can control how much sunshine and how much shade on a day to day basis isn't possible with tandem planting. Similarly the plants I'd need to grow for climbing upon aren't the ones I want to necessarily eat. I don't grow corn but I grow sunflowers. I love growing sunflowers but because I like to bunch them up there's not much room for other stuff.
Catch up Report: After another session harvesting bamboo I extended my trellising to another few beds and gave myself over to the dynamic logic of the enterprise. While I'll need more bamboo harvesting time -- and spending time in a bamboo grove is very Zen, hacking away, I assure you -- the impact on my patch has been extraordinary. The environment has changed drastically just with the poles and cross pieces and a few fronds. I planted chockoes in each bed and got myself some climbing bean seeds. I'll experiment with zuchini and cucumbers as climber candidates. I have also tracked down an Italian climber vine that is used in soups and pasta dishes: Tenerumi -- a Sicilian Squash. I may also plant one grape vine as that, while perennial, is deciduous.
Water upkeep: I've also been laying down more newspaper on my garden 'paths' which serve as sponge/vertical mulch troughs.(See: Growing a meal on sandy soils ). Mulching beds like this -- thick newspaper or cardboard layers covered with grass clippings -- along the paths between my garden beds really hold the water in a way the beds do not. While these new layerings haven't broken down yet, I suspect I've become paper obsessed and am burying papers and cardboards in cooee of anything that grows. I dug a deep trough near the banana I planted. And the 'ditches' I had dug for my pawpaw circle beds three months ago (and filled with newspapers and brush cuttings)are now musty and full of compost matter enough for me to plant sweet potato in them today. While the standard approach in gardening is to fret over your garden beds I've gone lateral and am now caught up in making the best use of my pathways as passive irrigation ditches. Water stays put longer in these paper sponges and I'm beginning to wonder if I should be watering these troughs rather than the beds themselves. How much paper can I lay down without leeching too much Nitrogen from the beds nearby -- as its break down has an input quotient?
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