GAV news, second week June: Rebecca, our mentor, gone for two weeks. HELP!

Our master gardener (and property manager) Rebecca is in  California for a greatly needed two week vacation. However, I doubt she’s really getting away in her mind, given all the texts flying back and forth between her and us workers left behind. And this week, I’ll tell you, has been a tale of mistakes, setbacks, near-mistakes, and lots of laughing.

First of all, the long-promised tomato patch with 28 tomatoes is finally up and growing, after the work party  to dismantle all the invasives that had taken that area over even before I arrived on the scene 15 years ago.

Our wonderful nearly-a-month-long IU intern Grant, who was to stay on five days after Rebecca left, thought he knew which tomato plants she wanted planted in that new bed. (We still have tomato seedlings left over from sale and give-away, and, we realize now, they are of many different kinds.) Well, it turns out, he was wrong. Who knows what was planted! And Rebecca has very decided ideas about which types of tomatoes she wants in that new bed. So, guess what . . . all the work gone into that bed while she’s away is for naught!

Here are Dan, Nezhla (Rebecca’s daughter and dog sitter) and Grant, hard at work mulching with leaves and setting up cages around the (wrong) tomato plants.

Rebecca tells us she’ll see to the replanting when she gets back late June 22nd.. Meanwhile, we’re thinking about taking the plants that are in there now to Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard.

BTW: the project to set up a lattice fence around the pepper plants out front is still on hold, since I haven’t heard back from the Next Door person who told me she has plenty of big strong bamboo — what is her street address??? Meanwhile, we’ve almost forgotten about that project, given all the watering that has been necessary during the recent hot drought — until yesterday, when it finally rained.

I’ve been busy talking with folks who want to move here, both to the new DeKist house (where we would like to see a young family move in) and the two rooms, one available now, and the other in August, in the first DeKist house. All incredible candidates! Each of them just what we’re looking for. Will set a strong collective intention that all works out as planned, and meanwhile, not mention it here again until it does!

One of the people who might move here looked over to the gigantic elderberry bush in the front yard at the first DeKist house and exclaimed: “You should harvest the lower hanging flowers for tea!” Later she continued: “Just take the flowers that are still full of pollen, and dry them in wicker baskets inside out of the sun, where they get a breeze.  Well, what she said got in my craw, and so three days later, this morning, I finally looked it up on the internet, and then called Rebecca to make sure it’s okay. And yes, she liked the idea. So Nezhla and I set to work, emptying numerous baskets for the job.

Notice all the baskets! Had we gotten to it on the day it was pointed out that we should, many more flowers would not have already lost their pollen (all the darker ones).

We ended up with only two baskets, one full, one not.

Meanwhile, however, Nezhla noticed tent caterpillar webs on the bush, and said we needed to burn them, or they would take over the entire tree. “How do you know?” I asked. “Because that’s what happened to my mom when I was a kid.”

So I cut off the branches. And on the way to burning them, was interrupted by Shy (David), who is doing the improvements at the new DeKist house; he remarked, “Why not see if the chickens will eat the caterpillars?” So we tried.

“Here chick chick! ” he called out. But they didn’t take the bait. “Well, I guess then I’ll torch them,” he concluded.

Poor worms! “Torture,” as he pointed out. Reminded me of Vietnam.

Meanwhile, I was at the monthly permie guild meeting at the library last night downtown at the library. Rhonda Baird, permaculture teacher, designer and, recently, facilitator for this revived group and who now wants us to step up to the plate and co-facilitate, asked us to bring recipes. She did. She was the only one who did. But I took a picture of this one, which just happens to fit with today’s elderberry theme. Of course, as she pointed out, “the recipe is mostly lemons and sugar.” Oops. Can we make it with honey?

We did agree to hold two work party/potlucks for our next two monthly meetings at two urban farms nearby that meeting participants run. I think Rhonda can finally give up her facilitator job, for which she is grateful, and we, in turn, are ever grateful for her patience as the group finally jelled after, what has it been, five months?

Okay, back at our own urban farm, the Green Acres Village:

Early this afternoon I finally got around to doing another of the tasks Rebecca had assigned me, “putting up” food. To this end I picked lots of kale from one astonishingly productive hugelkultur bed (the trunk from a huge elm molders inside it) in the main garden and will freeze, after briefly steaming and cooling, then wrapping in wax paper either single servings or larger, before placing in plastic bags.

And Logan and Dan finally got around to one of their assigned tasks: planting beans, five kinds, Dan tells me: black, zuni gold, red swan, portal jade, and some kind of butter pea.

Some flowers currently gracing our beautiful land . . .

What are these? I’ll have to send a pic to Rebecca . . .

Here’s what’s loving one of our (original) Garden Towers: nasturtiums! So full, the tower is invisible.

I planted these next to the pond maybe five years ago, from a Green Acres Neighborhood plant swap. Didn’t know what I was doing at the time. But they did! And this is the year they really started to thrive.

Finally, I wondered about this plant, thinking maybe Rebecca would consider it a weed, because there’s sure plenty of it! I was all ready to step into my role as weed excavator. Took a pic and sent it to her, just to make sure.


NO! Those are goji berry plants!

Whew! Thank goodness I asked.

Here’s what the berries are supposed to look like.


6 comments on “GAV news, second week June: Rebecca, our mentor, gone for two weeks. HELP!”

  1. Pingback: Green Acres Village, second week June: Rebecca on vacation. HELP! - ExopermacultureExopermaculture

  2. Jean

    You certainly are flourishing there and it sounds like you have potential buyers ready to move in soon. I’ll certainly try to stop by when I’m in Bloomington in the next 3 or 4 weeks.

  3. Briana

    Looks like a dang jungle!
    Poor tomato plants…
    but look at those greens! And those nasturtiums!
    Everything is looking good — hope I get to see the Green Acres Jungle soon.

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