I don’t know how much I will be able to do in the garden today. The spirit is willing but the flesh is attracting mosquitoes. Lots of them. Vicious little black asian tiger mosquitoes. After I got up twice last night to find the hydrocortisone for my bites, I finally put it next to the bed. I am trying this Off botanical lotion that has eucalyptus as the main ingredient, but I think I sweat it off pretty quickly.

The temperature is supposed to go up to 88 today. This may mean that we’ll have to consider turning on the A.C. Since I made the decision to get serious about living simply last summer, we have been trying to do without air conditioning. However, it is medically necessary for me to get a full night’s sleep, and sometimes that means that the air conditioning is medically necessary. It has taken years to get my husband, who would live totally without A.C., to understand this.

One of my weekly tasks is to put down the cardboard and newspapers I have gathered during the week and cover them with straw. These will be my garden beds and paths for next year. I use the cardboard and newspapers to kill the grass and weeds and to attract earthworms. The earthworms till the soil to a depth of about 12 inches. Now, I could just leave it at that and plant through the newspaper when the time comes. That would be the permaculture way. But I like to cover this layer with humus or topsoil when it’s time to plant. It seems to give me a little extra time before I have to deal with the weeds and grass again.

I used to hurt my back almost every year near the beginning of the season. This method seems like a lot of work at first, but building up the beds instead of digging down has been much easier physically because it is much less maintenance later. And you can see by the photos I’ve posted that I am getting a nice little return out of a very small, organic space.

I pulled up most of the pea vines and spinach and arugula that have gone to seed. The rest of my little pepper seedlings will go where the peas were, and green beans are already sprouting where the carrots and arugula were. I have to figure out what to do with my gourd seedlings and the ground cherry seedlings. Gourds, like squash, have been problematic for me. It’s a shame, because I love the idea of making gourd vessels. The ground cherries – I just don’t know. They are listed as weeds and wild food in some books. They should be able to survive anywhere. Last year I grew them in pots, but they needed lots of water. Even missing one day threw them into a sulk.