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Friday, July 14, 2017

Update on new BTE mixed beds

Mid summer in full blazing heat.
For us it means no rain, or  if we get something we are super happy about 1/4-1/2 inch.
For me water rights with some seniority is a good thing. Our irrigation comes from several private lakes. It does cost monthly but in high mountain desert water is a commodity. It always has being, for many many years by now,
Our community bought more water rights, for me it means I can expand my garden wind block and orchard. Also it means I constantly bring wood chips to conserve all the water we get during rain season and in winter if we get anything it all gets soaked and retained as much as possible.

Water here does mean a lot.
In this 90-100F heat and no clouds full sun it means I can plant a garden and have it establish. Even xeriscape plants (aside cactus :), but even those get night time dew) need water.
Transplanting in April-May is a key here. If one does it in June or July... you have to have mulch and water.
Because you have to cool the ground. Otherwise the plants get burned. Also for some plants when they are transplanted like that one needs row covers that do 70%-60% sun. We just have blazing hot sun, and because of the altitude we are talking 10% or less humidity and that is our normal.

Now what I did is June post May and almost July planting.
One new bet I'll be turning into BTE this weekend, got plants and that weedy area is long overdue... has to be done, below will see why...

3 neighboring properties were mowed, weeds not going to seed as much, It means I go do new bed now. One is not, but that's a different story, hoping my wood chips in my orchard will do the deed.

3 new beds near orchard now look like so

Mound (x-concrete) aka BTE over concrete. It turns out that is possible. The mound does hide several concrete plates inside, why I do not know by I have no means to move any of it... they are just way way large... almost wonder was that prev owners driveway at some point or what...


Here we have: sunchokes (Jerusalem artichoke), Chinese artichoke, several types of squash (which ones... will see what it will come out as... cause tags are blown away).
Agastache (sunset hyssop), 3 types of salvia (aka meadow sage), lemon balm, rudebeckia Goldstrum, borrage, echinacea (WY hybrid of purple cone flower), yarrow, and I'll add some more covers.
I did try to seed there wild flowers, but they did not come up... So I did that above.
Agastache came from my plants, I had 2, several more self-seeded, I let it grow for a year and transplanted
 Rudebeckia (black eye sysan) came from thsi mother plant

Artichokes are not irrigated they collect water down flow. Others have 1/2 commercial drip line and 1/ line with button regulated micro spray I can do more or less flow or 0 flow individually on each cluster.
And ladybugs this year are more compared to last year, and I do not see any leaf eating bugs on my apples I always welcome predators.
This is what it looked like in autumn, It was covered with wood chips in winter and I did BTE over it in spring.
and in summer it was solid annual weeds... aka big time ugliness.


Second mound also had some chunks of concrete and big fat bindweed I'm fighting (as usual, but I'm wining this one, at least I want to believe... it's a big improvement)

I turned it into keyhole garden with compost in the middle...
My fence decided to grow trees... no, not having poplar and what else in there in the middle... but I guess it means compost is working, right, and judging by the size of the squash it does...

 squash and cucs (Armenian... which is technically a melon)
 more squash or pumpkin.. because labels were blown with the big wind.. at least plants did not break.
 Baby silver maple came from wood chips, not going to grow there, but... It's not a bad early bee food, right, it will be re-planted in a different area and see how it goes... It lives, it deserves it's place on my acres, I'll be making it not irrigated
I have there scarlet bean and lupines for nitrogen fixer, and also 3 baby garaga bushes.  They will cover 15 feet each and will be plenty good.
Regular cucumber... 
I lost all in my garden to rolly-polly, so that is good, at least will have something.
Bees on cat mint in another BTE area where I have a small guild, will bring some of that later when I'll be able to propagate around the keyhole bed and they will feed from water overflow from the keyhole same way garagana does now



BTE orchard is doing not bad thsi year, no fruit because last snow for 2 days in late may after 20-th of May did kill the blooms, and cooling the soil was not enough... My orchard bloomed last in the area, late May snow did get all there was, but trees are good, no bugs.
Wild native grass is also good.
Spiral bed does not look like much. I bought small plantselect.org propagators plants 
 They are there, irrigated and keeping it up in this heat... I do not expect whole lot, but I was hoping that my liatris and crocosmia would do more... Not sure lack of water or other reasons...

My new project to turn into BTE bed is this. got logs placed, last several ones were just delivered, so I'll have a full enclosure on rock side
 That digging was hard...

 This is what I'm dealing with from prev pro landscapers when the weeds got in and grass did grow over the edge, in fact we did not even know we had an edge... turns out we do...
It is like a freak weed-grass mat over weed fabric with rock and landscape bark
Ugly and heavy. The must be relying on management landscaping company to ground kill all that regularly several times a season. When I went organic and did BTE granted all that killed perennial vegetation just took off big time

I've got more plants that behave differently and will spread under the trees creating nice BTE-permaculture under-story and good for the bees.
 
Also several are there from plantselect.org list


And here is one big old huge BTE sunflower...
 0 water on it, it's on one of my new cooking lasagna terraces. I put 1/2 irrigation pipe piece next to it's stem for comparison... I mean It's a size of a good bush and the trunk ... I mean like one of my 3y old trees has...
 Do sunflowers turn into bushes in desert... I've never seeing one before... they get decent size, but never like that monster...

BTE tomatoes start looking like something. These are about 1month and 1 week in the ground, now started blooming.
 Collecting roly-poly daily helps, I have a lot. I guess my ant hills are well fed back at the orchard... I hope they are eating some of these... rollies.

Dragonfly. That's good

New plantselect.org hopefully ground cover starter plant. Hops flower oregano.

Nettles... I know... I've got that one for $5, we are in desert, nettles do not happen here, and that one has no water, so that's actually very good...

This one is an interesting thing. Zone 5a. Peranial gladiolas. These do not happen in zone 5-a-b.
 And yet these did naturalize themselves and come back every year. No others do, just this color. I dug up couple bulbs, they are like a fist big ...

My new to be addition to one of my overpowered by weeds and cleaned up areas.
Rudebeckia. I do not think that was a correct label, I've never seen velluda or birta varaety, that ne looks more like morengo...

My trees backup for terraces is doing ok, I did expect it to do better...


 There will be a lot of work in heat and planting in evenings this weekend, hope it goes ok with my new BTE project.

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