Giving it a try ...
here are some pics of our small garden:
Some is raised beds, and some is potted flowers and veggies.
The blue flowers with the bumble bee on it are borage flowers, the
yellow flowers are Repunzel salad tomatoes, the pink flowers are
verbena. We do have some Eggplant that have some pretty bluish/purple
flowers, but I didn't put up a photo of those.
One of our 8'x4' raised beds fell apart because of it's age, so we
rebuilt it, and that's the part on the back side that has the black
shade cloth over it. Since we built the beds, after the first year of
fighting weeds knee high, I couldn't keep up with them in the summer
heat. So, I laid down outdoor carpet between the beds and don't have to
pull weeds much at all. Just some that spring up at the edges of the
beds or a few in the beds themselves. I can sit on a stool and it's
easier on my back and knees, too! We put up the shade triangles because
the heat here is so intense in the summer, and figured it would give the
tomatoes some relief and possibly set fruit further on into the summer.
Raised beds are the way to go if you want more control a smaller garden.
That's just half of the garden pictured. There's a little more to the
left of the photo that has the windmill in the back to the left.
I just picked my first of two yellow cherries and about fifteen goji's.
I shared them with my wife. Both our eyes rolled in our heads.
I thought about raised beds, but with my wife's allergies, I
would have to use stone planters and I have not got the money
for that. Not to mention the price of the dirt.
Plus, Songbird told me a log time ago that raised beds are a
problem is that they limit you as to the space you have to
grow things. And I have noticed his words come true as I
convert more and more of my back yard over to my garden.
On the other hand, I love your garden. Is is both
garden and park!
There is actually some evidence that nature does make
us feel better:
Why Does Nature Make You Feel Better?
Do you have any trouble with Mason bees letting you know that you
are an intruder?
notice the key phrase she used: small gardens... when you
have a larger area and full sunshine use it as much as you
can. in an arid environment with limited resources water is
your primary limiting factor as the water you get is what can
grow all your needed organic matter. whatever you can do to
add shade in some places, wind breaks and collect that rain
when it does fall and soak it in if you can't keep it in a
cistern for later use. the ground is as good a place as any
to store it otherwise.
from what i can see you are making progress there. you
have things growing and they can provide shade/ground
cover. i would not remove any plant that grows if i were
not using that space for a garden. bare soil in an arid
environment is adding to the problem so let them be if
you can and harvest some of the top growth for mulches
and feeding the worms.
in our environment any space left bare will be taken
over pretty quickly by weeds and then eventually trees.
so there isn't any shortage of things to feed to the
worms here. i just picked a bucket full the other day
and because i got most of them before they reached seed
forming stage they can go into the worm buckets and
so eventually all those nutrients and trace minerals
will end up in some vegetable garden (next spring).
the other day i was pretty blah but a few hours out
in the gardens really did help.
they are mostly ground nesting bees here around
pieces of bark or flat rocks. i leave them alone
if they are not nesting in the house or garage.
with this past spring's project of sealing up the
walls of the garden shed they are no longer able
to nest in those walls. that wasn't fun a few years
ago when they did that. they can sting more than
i only knock down nests of hornets/wasps/bees that
are on the eves of the house or in other highly
travelled areas (near pathways). otherwise i leave
the bees/etc alone as they get raided by the raccoons,
but they also provide a valuable service in that they
go after a lot of the bugs on vegetables and also are
pollinators. and they also go after spiders.
This reminds me of the other day when a solicitor for pest control came
to the door. We have termite treatment and told him we did not need his
service. He said there are a lot of other pests like wasps and spiders.
I told him that we do have a lot of pests in the neighborhood and many
come to your door.
On the picture posting, this was last I posted here:
Don't recall having to sign up or anything. Just about got rid of that
pesky weed too with your help and others that identified it.
We don't have a very large back yard, plus only a third of our back yard
is set aside for a garden because the rest gets too much shade. The
raised beds are quite versatile and we companion plant some things, too.
If you like herbs, for example, we plant those in with the tomatoes.
The new part of our raised beds that we built is not full of dirt. The
4'x 4' squares in the middle are only half way full of dirt that we
moved there when we had to rebuild the back 8'x 4' bed. We planted
potatoes, squash, tomatoes and eggplant in those 4'x 4' squares. The
rest of the new portion that looks like a keyhole we filled about a
third full with garden waste, sticks, and old leaves from the winter.
Also, tossed in some night crawlers and some composting medium to get it
cooking. After that we still only had that space full up to our knees.
We wanted to still use it, so we planted beans, cucumbers, and a variety
of peppers in 3 gallon pots we had saved over the years and just set
those on top of the compost in that section.
On the very back of that new raised bed area we built a large trellis.
That's where the cukes and beans grow up together, all only planted in
pots. I added a drip irrigation system to the mix and the biggest part
of the garden gets watered automatically.
My take is, I've had gardens where they were just put straight into the
ground, and raised beds and container gardens, too.
I saw an episode of Homestead Rescue where this family was homesteading
in the desert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaiU8SA7HUM
This is just a short clip, and I can't find the part where the Raineys
built their desert garden, yet, either. But that desert garden might be
exactly what you need.
The Raineys moved this big Conex in order to re-arrange their assets
better for a desert homestead:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-OZnRB6a4c After they moved it, which
is the part of that show I can't find on the web, yet, they built this
desert garden on the East side of that Conex and it was like a reverse
raised bed. Instead of going UP, they dug about 8 inches into the
ground and created a number of circular spots where plants could grow.
They then added an automatic drip irrigation system to it and actually
were able to have a flourishing garden in the desert. I forget what the
gardening method is called, though. Digging deeper into the ground for a
desert garden works before the ground temps aren't nearly as hot, plus,
the water isn't evaporated as quickly. The plants also get some relief
from the western sun in the afternoon and a fighting chance to grow
versus being cooked from the heat. It actually turned out to be an
answer to their gardening prayers and produced plenty of veggie produce
for them. I'll keep looking for that full episode that shows the garden
Yes, we have some of those that like to bore into the soffets of our
house! We've tried various ideas to get them to leave the house alone,
but not all that successful - they keep coming back.
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