Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day #2 of Main St. Garden Project: August 29th

Now that we cleared most of the items and weeds yesterday, we are going to focus on demolishing the back structure, old raised bed and front triangular roof on the door. We'd also like to get all the brick and stones up, in order to recycle them into our new design. Much of the wood from the structure we will also recycle into our garden. We are really trying to use as much of the left building materials as possible in order to save money and the environment.

At the bottom of this picture you can see the large square stones that will be perfect for an entry pathway.

Upon arriving, we called grandma and grandpa to take the kids for a walk on the beach in order for us to do the work. In all honesty, it is hard to balance the kids, work, gardening, etc. and some days I have to surrender to the madness of parenthood. Some days, I just want to cry like I'm one of the babies. And although this project feels overwhelming at times now, I know that it is one day going to be a peaceful, creative place for myself and my family to relax, explore, play and grow together. As you can see in the far right corner, we have alot of wood to recycle and work with!

Many bricks stacked for boarders, pathways, sitting areas and stepping stones within the beds. This saves us SO much money!! We feel so lucky.

In the process of taking this structure down on the back left and the wood raised bed in the back right. The bougainvillea was so over grown onto our side that almost the entire plant rested upon this mesh. It was entirely cut back by large clippers while wearing thick gloves. The are thorny and painful to tame and although they look colorful, they are not pleasant to work with. They are also not allowed any longer in the SM Community Gardens. Thanks to my new neighbor Byron, it will be entirely removed within 8 weeks. I'm thrilled. We also cut the wisteria on the back right off of our plot and emptied the old bed and pulled the plastic out.


Thanks to multiple helping hands, we are making this miraculous change and bringing life back into this abandoned garden.

I took out the brick diamond in the center. I used a pitch fork, but if you had a big pick or ax, you could knock them out faster. We piled them and realized we had a lot of brick to work with! This will definitely come in handy when building and designing. As you can see, behind me is the emptied corner, where the ferns and bougainvillea were. A huge difference, allowing us to utilize much more of the growing space.

It was tough at times. My lower back is bad and has worsened since having my 2 kids. But I love seeing the results so much. Very gratifying.

Mike unscrewing the roofs hinges.

And sawing the roof off with an electric hand saw.

Using a hand saw to finish the job.

Testing out the structure and strength of the new entrance.

Originally we thought the blackberry roots were on our plot, but after trimming them back we realized they are our neighbors. I decided I want to put some trellis up to block it from my kids and put the play area on the other side.

Jordan loved exploring after his walk on the beach. He is more fascinated by dirt than the actual act of gardening at this age. I am going to design a kid zone in for toys and digging, as well as a bed for them to garden. Lets see what they can grow!!

A Japanese Beetle that had somehow ended up on his back. We also had two hummingbirds hovering over as we gardened. They welcomed us into the neighborhood and said "hi".

Day #1 of Main St. Garden Project: August 28th

We spent about two hours in the garden today. We mainly removed all the objects in the garden and began to cut plants back or remove them.

Some areas hadn't been overturned, tended to or touched in I would bet almost a year. Many little insects and creatures were buried all over. We met ants, spiders, pincher bugs and many other friends, winged and non. Unfortunately, I didn't find many worms. As we begin to bring our compost black soil from home, worms will join the dirt and help to aerate it.

I began taking plants out and some sunken brick.

The New Space at Main St.: August 18th


This is the front fence and gate that was designed and built by a carpenter. He used old window frames and wood. The door had a triangular roof that created a small, hobbit like entrance. You had to bend down quite far (even for my 5'2 frame) in order to get inside. We've decided to keep the fence, but cut the triangular roof off, in order to make the space more inviting to our friends, family and community.

Overgrown Blackberries bushes took up much of this front right (North East) corner bed. A plank of wood hid much of the earth there. A table, saw horses, large trellis, many pots (metal, terracotta, plastic), old insect spray, some old manure, statues, tomato cages dominated most of the overgrown grassy and weed filled area. Their was also a large potted ficus tree along the side fence line buried.

Looking across to the back left (South West) bed. They had built a structure out of wood beams and green netting that shaded the large ferns growing . It had rusted metal/glass wind chimes that were unfortunately falling apart. On the left of the structure are large Red/Orange Calla lilies. In the center, is a brick diamond framed bed that you walk into as you enter with a fairy statue and bird bath. Inside was an over grown herb garden of Oregano and Thyme.

In the distance is the back right (North West) corner. It had a very old raised wood bed that had decomposed over time. It was lined with clear plastic that had torn apart. Their were chairs, buried statues, tomato cages and lots of empty plastic pots engulfed by massive weeds.

This is the front left (South East) bed. It had geraniums, herbs, lots of rocks, brick and weeds entwined within tomato cages.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Recent Update and pictures of our Summer fruit!!!

I am pleased to announce that I was offered a Santa Monica Community Garden plot quadruple the size of my current plot. I will be moving locations to the Main Street Gardens. I am absolutely thrilled! Although I will miss many gardening buddies at Park Dr. and this project is not going to be easy by any means, I feel blessed to have this great opportunity. We will be demolishing old structures, ripping out laid brick, raised beds, and many invasive plants, in order to beautify the environment and grow delicious produce. Stay tuned in to see the entire project documented from start to finish! Wish me luck....

P.S. I find this great change to be quite aligned with what I was writing about in my last post, "Coming to the end of a major transformation". How fitting.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Coming to the end of a major transformation

As some of you know, I am very fascinated by astrology and have been professionally involved with the subject for about a decade now. When starting this blog, last October 2009, I was about ready to embark on a Saturn transit that would shift my life drastically and permanently. Part of this blog has helped to document this astrological journey for me.

Starting November 2009, transiting Saturn in Libra would be at the same degree as my natal Venus, Mercury and Mars (0 degrees and 5 degrees) until October 2010. Through the coarse of this last year, Saturn retrograded causing me to have this transit occur 5 different times; 3 with Venus at 0 degrees and 2 with my Mars/Mercury conjunction at 5 degrees. Once in November with Venus, then January with Mars/Mercury, late March with Venus, late July with Venus and September with Mars/Mercury. During those months and weeks in particular, I had major shifts occur. Some predicted and planned and others spontaneous and out of the blue.

Having an astrology group meeting in my home on August 1 has helped me to reflect and analyze this transit on a deeper level.

In November 2009, I started this blog and moved locations (although it was only 3 minutes away). In January, I had shifts within my family dynamics and relationships. Within the first week of April, my daughter was born. Late July, I began drastically changing my diet and exercise routine, in order to lose 40 pounds. And come September, my 2.5 year old will start pre-school for the first time, giving me more time to work on creative endeavors.

A 6th house transit for me, my every day routines have been jolted several times over, into multiple new patterns. Now, it encompasses a 4 month old and a toddler to raise. The rise in responsibility that has come with this is very fitting when dealing with Saturn. Saturn tends to be the teacher. And although we need to learn lessons in order to grow and evolve as spiritual beings, it still brings challenge and strife that can feel restricting. What I've learned is to use it's limiting and narrowing perspective to focus on a few projects, but face them head on. Face my fears and move forward through them.

I did a lot of that when birthing my second child with no medical intervention. The physical pain and spiritual re-birth that comes along with natural child birth leaves you strengthened, yet humbled. A miraculous process that has touched my soul in deep ways. Bringing life into the world softens your lens and helps you to feel life's moments as you live it.

Documenting my Winter 2009 and Spring 2010 garden as it grew to its potential, at the same time my daughter grew inside me was beautiful. My sweet peas were very much inspired by her presence. And they ended up growing 12 ft. tall! Interesting. She is very tall herself. Starting out at 21 inches, she has now jumped to 25 inches and is in the 90th percentile.

I was truly able to look back at my growth and changes recently during the Cardinal Cross that occurred the first week of August 2010.

This is an extremely powerful transit because we have never seen this configuration in the sky before and with so many planets involved. A Cardinal Cross happens when there are planets in a square pattern, all in the same classification of cardinal (Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn). This important transit had some big planets apart of it. Jupiter, Uranus, Mars, Venus, Saturn, Pluto and the Moon. When planets are in a cross, they are square each other, as well as opposed to each other, and this creates enormous tension in order to create necessary change. All the planets were within five small degrees of each other, considered a very tight aspect, and that's enormously significant. On August 6 and 7 we had ten squares and seven oppositions, all at once! All the planets involved were in cardinal signs (Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn), known to be very energetic and to create a need for urgent action.

For me personally, I felt not only the end of one phase, but the beginning of another. I have birthed both my children and I am now ready to start finding a more balanced approach to my daily life; family, career, creative endeavors, social engagements, etc. It allowed me to take a magnifying glass to all the work I've done in the last decade (acting, dancing, astrology/tarot readings, teaching, gardening, parenting) and really contemplate how I can incorporate all of these skills into a rewarding career. It is an exciting time, where I have the energetic boost to step up to the next level with my passions.

In California, we saw great tension, yet enormous need for change around a powerful civil rights issue at hand, Gay Marriage (Proposition 8). Looking back at this month, some very significant dates for Prop. 8 were August 4, 12 and 16. All dates very close to this Cardinal Cross.

Change is constant and inevitable. Whether we fear it or embrace it, life continues to hand us different opportunities daily and some may be more challenging than others. In order to truly allow ourselves to grow into our greatest potential, I believe we must have a vision, but then let go, trust and take the great ride of life. It may not always be easy, but it will make us stronger, better people.

Reflecting On The Past 2 Seasons

Looking back at the start of my blog and reflecting on my original experiment, as well as the end results, I was floored by my produce at harvest time from my Winter 2009 and Spring 2010 Gardens. For pictures of the results, please go to posts from January-March 2010.

When planting my Winter Garden in October 2009, I was 4 months pregnant and desperate to find some clarity and balance through my garden, as I ventured into this next parental phase in my life. I had been told many times before that Biodynamic Gardening produced amazing results. Of course, their are layers of depth to the process of Biodynamic Gardening, in which I only touched upon a few. However, I still feel I came out at the end with beautiful, large, lush produce that we, as a family, ate for months. And, after growing some of these leafy greens, veggies and roots in the past and then planting them this year with the North American Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar 2009 by Maria Thun, I was really able to see a vast difference in the health and size of my final produce. Was it because of following this Calendar and parts of the Biodynamic approach or was it luck?

The best way to compare would be to NOT plant my Winter Garden 2010 and Spring Garden 2011 with the calendar and then compare the two Winter/Spring gardens final outcomes. I plan on planting my Winter Garden around the same time as last year, Mid-October. I will continue to update you as I prepare for this time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Updated Photos: August 14th


My Summer Garden Mid-August 2010.

Please keep in mind, these photos were taken with my cell phone. I wish the quality was better, but I was so struck by the garden today, I had to document a little of what is happening, no matter what. :-)


Chili Arbol

Lilac Peppers

Yellow Bell and Japanese Eggplant

Basil and Bolting Cilantro (Coriander Seeds to come!)

Looking out from the back corner.

This orange flower (anyone know the name?)seeded itself by wind in my garden from my neighbor Mark's garden. Radana, another fellow gardener gave me these Blue Bachelor Button starts that she grew from seed. They are so pretty! I worked hard today cleaning this area up. I ripped out and pruned part of the orange flower and then transplanted the second Bachelor Button on the left side of it. Now, they flank either side and look beautiful!

A bee getting pollen.

Lots of Cucumbers! Big and small!

Finally getting red! Boy, it took awhile! This weather has ruined the tomatoes this year.

My poor mildewed Black Cherry Tomato. This tomato is closest to the infestation of mildew on another garden plot next to mine. It's in the worst shaped because of that. Help! Advice?

Black Cherries


Beautiful pumpkins coming!!

The two other pumpkins! Right now we have 4 total!