Here is a little photo log of our latest tepin garden.  Little by little, we are chipping away at our yard and converting it to chiltepin, food crops, and other herbaceous and flowering loveliness.  Removing Bermuda grass is labor intensive, and there is truly no other way to do it other than hand removal.  The rhizomes go deep, up to six or more inches, and if even the smallest piece of root is left behind, new grass will sprout.  Below is progress during the first pass of grass removal and some planting.  As you can see, the soil is quite sandy.

Below is our mini nursery of plants.  We overwintered all of these in our garage.  Chiltepin is a tough little bugger.  The temps went down to 18 degrees several times, and no clue what the temp was in our garage, but the plants stayed green.  The most difficult part was watering in the garage.  Even the lack of sun didn’t seem to affect them.  The larger plants will be put in the new garden.

Here below, the bed is a bit further along.  The “stepping stones” are from a neighbor down the road.  He had tried to use large concrete squares to make a parking spot in his backyard for his huge truck, but when he drove on it, the concrete cracked up.  He had it stacked by the road for weeks, expecting the trash guys to pick it up, but they refused.  Lucky Me!  The ultimate in recycling.

Already, the weeds were infiltrating our first efforts due to plenty of rain and exposed soil.  I didn’t have any mulch at the time, so I started using the clippings from my red tip photinias as a source of mulch.  Not too pretty, but I wanted to do what I could to suppress any more weeds

A month later, we have the results below.  I called my favorite local tree service and asked (nicely) if they needed to get rid of any shredded tree trimmings.  Tree service companies are usually happy to give away their tree trimmings, otherwise they have to pay a fee to dump it, a fee that they pass on to the homeowner.  Fresh native tree trimmings are truly the best mulch.  You get all parts of trees that were locally grown in your area – bark, branches, shredded green leaves and the live cambium cells which have tons of energy, so the green stuff and the brown stuff eventually all breaks down into lovely soil.  Some day I will show a photo of an area where my soil has been transformed from dry sandy ugliness into rich lush cakey amazing soil full of earthworms, mainly by using free mulch from the tree trimmmers.

It was 104 degrees today, and things look a little sad.  The closer plants were planted in the heat a couple of weeks ago and are still suffering, but the earlier plants have established pretty well!  Happy times.  I have about five more feet to go to finish the entire pathway.  Hopefully it will be finished in a few weeks. Yay!!!  Ps – should I have used a plumb-line to make things perfectly straight? Naaaaah…..what’s the fun in that!!!    :)

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