I’ve chosen to do something different this summer.
Re-do my “forest’s pathways” and improve the soil for Fall’s planting instead of concentrating on just on summer (tropical) vegetables. Yes, I’m doing it my way.
I’ve used corrugated cardboard – old wine cartons, appliance packaging, good thick brown cardboard from recycling dumpsters – cut them open, carpeted the paths, then wait for the afternoon rain (a common occurrence in Florida).
No red carpet… just plain return of tree material to soil.
A closer look at my handiwork …
Cardboard weed barrier
Covered with pine needles
They will look like natural forest paths in a couple of weeks and it hasn’t cost a cent! OK, they may need re-doing in a couple of years but it will give me time to re-plan and perhaps even re-design the pathways depending on the height of the in-ground trees and perennial edibles, as time passes.
Sunn Hemp blooms
Ever heard of this Hemp? It’s a beauty!
A native plant of India, grown for its fibre and as fodder, as early as 400BC and mentioned in early Sanskrit as “Sana”. It was brought to Europe in the 18th century by the East India Co. and henceforth spread globally ~ though still unknown to most gardeners.
It is fast growing and the flowers attract lots of bees. It also adds color to an otherwise “sun-baked” Florida garden. I grow it primarily to get rid of Nematodes in the soil (yeah, I get my 1st garden & then I find out Florida soil is chock-full of Nematodes, something I’ve never heard of … go figure!). Their roots actually make those darn nematodes infertile so no procreation.
Green Sunn Hemp Leaves
Then I find out it makes excellent green manure… so painfully I have to “chop & drop” those beautiful plants to feed the soil.
Some I let them grow as tall as they can get for seed harvest, some I grow next to the wall to act as sun-block, which is much needed especially in summer.
Flowering Sunn Hemp by the patio
I’ve put some right by our outdoor ‘picnic area’ on the east side and with the evening shade, sitting outdoors and looking at some nice tall greens with striking yellow blooms it helps to make my cold summer beer a lot more enjoyable.
One of the best write-ups that got me interested in Sunn Hemp is a research paper done by India’s Central Research Institute for Jute & Allied Fibres.
I have 3 Moringa Oleifera mini-trees growing around the house and the more I learn about them, the more I feel like sowing more seeds. If I can’t eat all of them, hey! I’ll share them with my soil microbes because they make good green manure too.
Moringa Oleifera mini-tree in the backyard
In Singapore, I used to eat some leaves in curries but the pods, called Drumsticks, are more commonly used. You kinda split the 2″ pieces of pod shells and finger-dig the gel and small “beans” within that’s laced with curry sauce… ooh… they’re good.
It was only 2 years ago when I watched a short video of a young man in Orlando, FL who converted his garden into a food-forest that reminded me of this plant and as I learned more about its nutrients, growth patterns, etc., that got me keen to have this plant as a food supplement ~ in my own backyard!
The Moringa leaves’ size and shape
I’ve cut some to put in salads, omelettes, curries… but I sometimes just chew a few to get that green chlorophyll taste which is quite nice.
Good green garden snack
I’m not a Nutritionist so if you need more information watch: