Posts Tagged ‘food growing /plants’

Growing Corn

Here among the tomatoes and epazote in the vegetable patch is one of the corns Charlotte brought back from the Sunrise Celebration 2012, given to me as seeds by fellow social reporter in transition, Ann Owen.

The festival was at summer solstice six weeks ago and I planted the seeds a week or so later. They were all different colours and so with luck and some decent sunshine ?!? we’ll have some beautiful cobs.

See also Charlotte’s post from today: Mudville – Tin Village at the Sunrise Festival.


Good Chias or Mark and the Giant Sagestalk

In the last few days it seems to have become darker much more quickly. I’ve been occupied at the computer writing transition blogposts and sending emails. It took a reminder from Emily that back in September I’d promised her some marigolds if they were still blooming in November, to get me up and out to have a look around.

Giant Chia

On the way out this morning I looked up at the enormous Chia (Salvia hispanica) in the conservatory, straining against the roof. Charlotte bought me the seeds for my birthday in May, for eating rather than planting because they’re delicious and full of nutrients (a resilience food in the native Americas). But I planted a hundred or so anyway to see what would happen with this annual Mexican sage. And they ALL germinated. And grew. And grew. Way beyond the two to three feet that the literature tells you they grow.

Handsome plants with big heart-shaped aromatic leaves, happy inside and out, amongst the sunflowers here and in with the anise hyssops and buddleia in the community garden at Bungay Library. But no blooms. I’d been looking forward to seeing the blue flowers, but had finally come to terms with the fact that this light and heatloving, oil-producing tough old Mexican was not on home ground!

Blue Chias in November

But wait! What was that shimmer of blue at the top of the plant on those buds? I climbed onto a stool. And there they were. On the 7th November. A head of sky-blue sage flowers with a dash of white. I nearly fell off the stool with excitement (other plantlovers will understand this reaction if not everyone). Went to get the camera. And decided that I’d plant the seeds three months earlier next year, at the beginning of February.

Preparing the Plant Medicine bed for 2012

At this point cautionary but kind voice in head kicks in: “I thought you weren’t going to do seeds next year. The plants take up so much time, and you know how you fuss. And you’ve got the Plant Medicine Bed at Bungay Library to see to.”

Me in physical reality: “Oh yes, but I’ll only do a few, you know some sunflowers and cosmos and marigolds and morning glories and tithonias and a few mints and other sages, oh and I’ve got that geranium, a few daturas and… it’ll be fine!”

Outside, that other Mexican plant was still blooming – the cempoalxochitl (Nahuatl for ‘twenty flowers‘) or Flor de Muerto (Spanish for Flower of the Dead) marigold, a little bedraggled from the recent wind and rain and the flowers no longer in such abundance. But there are probably seven or eight you could take for the event on the 10th, Emily (see photo below). And I’d love to show you the good chia…

Cempoalxochitl – ‘flower of the dead’ – descended from wild Oaxaca seeds. 7th November 2011

White Deadnettle, Bumblebees and Making Plant Support Sticks

We have several stands of White Deadnettle (Lamium album) in the garden, and the bumblebees just can’t get enough of them. I’m paying attention to these common wildflowers these days as I become more bee-aware, and they really are handsome.

In the weeks up until Bungay Community Bees’ Bee Day in July, when I’ll be leading a couple of groups on a bee and flower walk as part of the Plants for Bees project, I’ll be posting (probably sporadically) here on the flowers and bees I come across, as well as other subjects…

Such as whittling my own plant support sticks down from the vast number of branches which came from pruning our Buddleia last month. I’m trying to reduce the pile you see here in the picture – but talk about task of Sisyphus. I seem to spend hours on it and the pile still looks the same size. I’ve got quite a few good sticks though…