All along one of our fences, I decided to just stick some white beans in the soil to see what would happen. I know the soil isn’t very fertile at all, yet I planted them anyway out of pure curiosity. I think I planted them about a month ago, covered them up with some dirty straw we got from a goat farm and left them for dead. I didn’t expect anything but weeds to grow in our soil since it is mostly sand and clay. I didn’t water them, tend to them or check up on them, so I was pleasantly surprised to see them not only make it in the soil, but also survive the really cold and windy weather we had over the last three or four days.
I am not sure whether they will continue to grow or if they will just be stunted and shrivel away, but I guess I want to experience fertility vs. futility first hand. Am I a glutton for punishment? Planting things this way goes against everything that I have learned about how to grow food, but where does one start with natural farming? I have seen some amazing videos of deserts being greened just by broadcasting seedballs onto barren earth…so why am I then surprised that beans are growing up before my very eyes? I have my doubts about continued growth, and all may end up being futile in the end, but its worth it to observe first hand what will happen with this soil. I don’t want to just assume nothing will grow here. I may be completely wrong about that. I do know that keeping a layer of mulch or straw on the ground keeps the soil moist, even if I never water it.

I also planted sunflowers in another section of the yard and they seem to being doing OK too…for now. Here are my sunflowers:

The mammoth Russian sunflowers seem to be growing OK so far. They also made it through some frost and very windy cold nights.

I also planted some teddybear sunflowers which are coming up also.

I had started about forty German pink tomatoes a while back, and in my desire to see what futility will bring me, I planted about four of them out in the yard. We were going do a little cold frame for them, but then decided to see what these little guys will do. Will they make it? I have my doubts about that, but its only four little tomato plants and I have a lot more that are growing in my kitchen. But my curiosity is peeked to see if they will make it. They don’t even have their true leaves yet. I nestled them in some straw after planting them yesterday.

All together so far we’ve planted:

  • White Navy Beans
  • German pink tomatoes
  • Mammoth Russian sunflowers
  • Teddybear sunflowers
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Roma Tomatoes (survived the frost but look terrible! They have four tomatoes)
  • Cilantro (also survived the frost)
  • Our first seedball batch includes: Calendula, white clover, Butterfly Milk Weed and Globe Amaranth

Today I’ll be mixing up a batch of white clover and “Love Lies Bleeding” Amaranth to broadcast along the back wall of our yard. After that batch, I’ll be mixing up another that will include, arugula, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, mint, rosemary, and mint. That will be broad cast in the small plot right behind our first potato patch.

On Saturday I went to a farm and feed store in Albuquerque to pick up some bales of straw, and as I got out of my truck, I could hear the melodious peeping of new chicks inside. My heart melted as the sound got louder upon my approaching the door to the store. I followed the sound to the sweetest little chicks and ducklings ever. Oh my god, they were so beautiful. I wanted to take a bunch of them home with me at that moment, and to make matters worse, the store clerk stood there trying to convince me to take those little babies home with me! I almost walked out of the store with them. I’ve never taken care of chickens or ducks before, and without any knowledge first about the best way to care for them, and also not having a garden that can handle their presence, I felt it would be better to wait at least a few weeks or even a month before we make that kind of commitment. Yesterday we discussed where we would put the new chicks and ducklings, what kind of shelter to build them, and where to put our new little pond. I’m pretty excited about building our little pond, but more excited about us getting some little animals. For me its like planning for the birth of a new child…wanting everything to be perfect and awaiting our new arrivals.