Sunday, July 27, 2008

In the Jack Johnson Garden with the Lizards

I spent three hours this morning playing farmer. I have very little flat land around my house, so a few weeks ago I reclaimed a strip next to the carport side of my house. I cleared it of most of the weeds/bushes, and poisoned the rest. Then I set up a small brick enclosure to beef up some of the very clay soil by composting it. I figured, one step at a time while I was waiting for some of the more tenacious weeds to die, so I could do the same to more of that area.

There were a few challenges in this endeavor. One, there is no hose hookup on that side of the house. The hose from the other side of the carport reaches across the carport, but, did I mention this? The area I'm talking about is..hmmm...about 10-12 feet down, so I have to go down a ladder to work on things there. Lucky I am getting so strong again these days, because not only is that no problem, I actually kind of like it. Anyways, I had the brick enclosure done, but needed some more nourishing material to add. So, I had some mulch on another side of the house that I shoveled into buckets, brought the buckets up the stairs, and then down the ladder to the new compost pile.

Luckily the groundskeeper at my favorite beach has been saving the grass clippings for me, so I had bags and bags of that already. I dumped one or two huge bags of that in with the mulch, and mixed it together well. My brother says the grass clippings are great for adding nitrogen, so I think this is a good thing. Since then I've been adding all my fruit and vegetable cuttings, peelings, seeds, etc. And watering it. How, you asked? By using my dish water. Something I was shown in Green, Green Oregon. As soon as I figured out any fish or meat products need to be discarded first it has gone just fine. No smell.

Oh! And I think I forgot to mention that I picked up a half dozen buckets WITH Handles! On the side of the road on my way back from the beach a few weeks back. Empty laundry soap and kitty litter buckets from Costco, all nicely stacked up, with all the lids included. I so love this stuff! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! It's one of the reasons I fell in love with my last boyfriend..he always thought up the coolest ways to reuse things or rejuvenate them...but I digress....

Lately we have begun to get the most amazing cantaloupes here. Now, for those of you have never lived in or visited Hawaii, let me tell you that while the papayas, bananas, and mangoes, etc. are as delicious as you might imagine, the mainland fruit lacks flavor. Bigtime. Anyway, someone is now growing cantaloupes on the Ewa plain, and they are so so sweet, just like real cantaloupes! Needless to say I've been devouring them, and throwing the seeds into the compost.

Wellllll....some of the cantaloupe seeds began sprouting. I was very very excited, thinking Oh Boy! I'm gonna have my very own cantaloupes pretty soon. Well! Let me tell you, it's not so easy. Lately every time I get some new vegetable plant going pretty good, a few inches or so, I go down to my garden and one day....Bam! The stalk is bitten off. I've been trying to figure out who is doing it...slugs? birds? lizards? geckos? Well, it wasn't more than a few days than all the little cantaloupe plants were disappearing. I mean, they weren't even getting a few inches high. I was pissed!

So.......yesterday when I went down to water, I noticed what I thought was a dead lizard floating in the water bucket. I know, gross. But, it's not as bad as you think. Because, as soon as I tried to flick it out, it jumped out on its own. The little sucker was just cruising, using the bucket as a swimming pool. You know how I know this? Because a bunch of his buddies were having a party in the cantaloupe field! Well field is a grander name than it deserves, but it's my garden, so I'll call it that, okay?

Well, that answered that question. Now, what to do about it? For some reason my property seems to have more than its share of lizards, geckos, chameleons, etc. I've lived in Hawaii for 30 years, so I know what I'm talking about. There’re hundreds of them! Some of them are very pretty, a bright green with red spots. But the Party Boys weren't pretty - they were brown anoles (I think). And, just in case you're wondering, lizards can be carnivores, like geckos; herbivores; or even omnivores. Whoever they are, they loooooove their fruits and veggies. Good for them healthwise, not so good for me garden-wise.

Now, what to do about it? I remembered some old screen windows I had in one of the closets in the carport. Perfect! I laid them over the enclosure, and voila! Lizard Proof! I was so excited
about it, and kind of liked showing those Party Boys who’s Boss of This Garden, especially since they’d been making me think I was a really lousy gardener for the past month or so.

And, since I wanted to expand the garden space down there, I got the bright idea yesterday to go visit my screen man. I went both before and after my strengthtraining class, and had to wait a while, but it was worth it. He gave me three big screen windows he’d just replaced. So, this morning I built another enclosure, this one out of bamboo on the long sides, and brick on the ends. Needed to beef up the soil there, too. Still had plenty of grass, Thank You Groundskeeper, Lady! I’m gonna have to bring her a cantaloupe or two. But, I was pretty much out of mulch, so luckily the greenwaste dump is just a few miles from my house. So, I lined up my new buckets in the back of my truck and went there for free mulch.

Three hours later, and no idea how many trips up and down the ladder, not to mention a little shoveling and watering, and 1032 calories burned, I now have two new garden enclosures, screened on top.

Let’s review the reused/recycled items used, not dumped in a landfill;
6 buckets
25 bricks or so
4 Window screens
Bamboo poles

And natural resources reclaimed for another go around;
6 buckets of mulch (not much, but I just wasn’t up for shoveling a truckful today)
Probably 50 pounds of grass clippings
Gallons and gallons of water
Cantaloupe seeds and other veggie/fruit debris

After all of that I treated myself to a fun Goldilocks hour at Kalama’s – waves 2-4 and coming up. Woo Hoo! Life is Grand!


Michelle said...

You are so friggin' productive these days! Your garden looks very fancy now with the screens. Let's see what can get growing now!

Michelle said...

OMG! How did I miss your new profile picture?! It's so cute!! I want to see a bigger version of it, it's so tiny. Who took it for you? It's so awesome! I'm jealous, I want a weight lifting picture.