So there are a lot of flowers blooming here
(it’s mid-May, there are flowers blooming everywhere, right?)
but since we arrived here while it was dried out and overgrown,
it’s been very interesting to see what actually grows here,
and many of these things are blooming.
And the butterflies have taken notice.
As have the bees, but mostly the bees (& other insects)
have been ecstatic in the hillside of wild sea roses,
rolling themselves in the pollen like some Dionysian fresco.
Before we flipped out of transplanting time,
I finally got the 75 gladiola bulbs planted underneath a giant cork oak.
And more sunflowers transplanted everywhere.
Admittedly, I kinda went nuts with sunflower seeds this year,
planting a dozen of two large yellow varieties
and dozens of seeds from two different assortments
of multicolored, multi-sized blooms.
The flowerheads on the largest of the sunflowers look ready to burst open.
It has been a busy time in the garden.
Now that we’re out of transplanting time,
I’ve been doing a lot of weeding,
focusing on each crop on its specific days,
and realizing that most of the remaining broccoli and spinach,
and lots of the beets and onions,
and a few of the carrots are all ready to harvest.
So we’ve been eating them, in soup, as salad, on pasta,
and my new favorite: roasted beet chips:
(slice beets thin on a mandolin, lightly coat with oil,
then lay individually on parchment on a baking tray,
& bake in a medium oven for 15-25 minutes, til crisp)
The first planted tomatoes now have little fruits on them,
and so do the tangerine and lime trees.
The orange and blood orange are in full flower.
And the blue ballet winter squashes have dozens of unopened flower blossoms,
so by the next post there will be some of their golden flowers on display.
Most of the other squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatillos, and watermelon
have all been freed from their plastic-bottle-greenhouses,
and have grown taller and showing off new leaves.
And there’s an on-going experiment in a large planter on our porch,
where I’ve emptied out cups of soil and seeds that hadn’t sprouted in the cold frame,
and now has three bush beans, one tomato and one dill growing lush,
far larger and more vibrant than their sibling seedlings in the garden.
And since I had freed up so many small cups during transplanting time,
I was able to start the seeds for Horta Nova, the organic three sisters garden:
32 strawberry popcorn seeds (a dozen already sprouted!) and seven yellow popcorn seeds,
27 Hokkaido squash plants (an orange winter squash that grows well in Europe),
and the first 10 Feuerbohnen (a large red & cream striped bean from Austria).
I will soak Käferbohnen (literally “beetle bean” an even larger reddish bean from Austria)
for a Käferbohnen salad (these beans with sliced green onions & pumpkin seed oil)
that was my favorite dish from the pasta factory’s cafe when we lived in Villach.
While soaking, I’ll grab two dozen (or maybe three dozen) from the pot for potting up.
(Usually beans, corn & squash are all direct-sown in the garden,
but we have a problem with mice eating the larger, more succulent seeds,
so I’m giving all these seeds a fighting chance in cups on the porch
where our “guard” kitten can keep a good eye on them.
I also potted up a dozen organic chickpeas that I had sprouted.
Chickpeas have very feathery, fern-like foliage on their delicate vines,
so I thought to plant them down by the loofahs to grow on the old compost bin.
And since loofahs and chickpeas both grow in Egypt,
it seemed like they’s get along nicely as neighbors.
Otherwise, we’ve been working to improve our water system.
Mohamed cleaned and then moved the house’s 1000 liter water tank
downhill halfway to our house, and into the shade.
It was originally placed on the top of the hill for good water pressure,
but the full sun site encouraged algae growth in the tank, and we want to avoid
the daily cycle of water heating and cooling in a big plastic tank.
Also, we wanted the tank closer to our well,
as we’ll soon be pumping water uphill to fill the house tank,
and then pipe it back down to our house,
and it was becoming a lot of piping.
So the house water now stays cooler, and therefore cleaner,
and we started a compost pile for shrubbery in its old place,
as it is hilltop, in full sun, full year, and relatively frost-free,
so ideal for growing some tropical trees: maybe bananas or guavas.
And lastly, but certainly not least-ly,
we’ve had (& are having) some visitors.
Matt and Shinobu came to visit the moonfarm,
and see that “yes, it is real” and in bloom,
and although nowhere near complete,
a promising project that’s made lots of progress.
Their visit was very inspirational and encouraging.
And Shinobu shared incredible ideas for uses for the bamboo,
as it’s plentiful and easily gathered here, and good for almost everything.
(I only wish I could extend my residency to share some more of what we make.
Or perhaps Shinobu should come have a residency here at the moonfarm,
and help with the experimentation. We want to build a pergola and a treehouse.)
And Mohamed’s brother and fiancé were visiting this weekend,
to spend some time here, barbecuing and exploring the beaches,
and taste-testing my beet chips and pickled beet humus.
(Ahmed is the prime foodie in Mohamed’s family.)
I’ve also made a kohlrabi-apple salad with a buttermilk dressing,
heavily infused with minced cilantro and spinach from our garden.
(& special thanks to the Sebastians for giving us one of their purple kohlrabis,
as our purple kohlrabis are a few weeks behind theirs
and won’t be ready until my mom’s visit next month.