Chowchilla Backyard Garden Project
In the heart of the Central Valley, with the Sierra Nevada's off in the distance and Fresno just to the south, the town of Chowchilla rests quietly in orchards and fields. The discerning eye can find poetry in the long rows of almond trees, the dirt alleyways, the slough, and for the rent signs in the shop windows along the main street. Like an old and dusty hardbound, there is a story here as rich as the soil. You have to look...hiding in the fog are Giant Sloths and Saber Tooth Cats. Cowboys and Indians. Dustbowl migrations. Schoolchildren held for ransom and high speed rail systems. They all have chapters here in a land that once supported large ecosystems of native species. Now its' mostly destroyed and caged by human design. It smells like cow.
Why Chowchilla? Because we have family here. Sisters, Grandmas, cousins, nieces, nephews in a tree that is too broad to mention. And yet another soul has joined us. A baby boy, a new brother and son, was born this week. A new chapter begins.
While here I took time to turn prepare a plot in the backyard for the family garden. Measured 23 feet by 11 feet, the space was overgrown with grasses, mallow and other greens that flourished with the recent rains. After knocking "the weeds" down I seeded the area with Rincon Vitova Habitat Seed Mix. Then I carted sand up from the slough bed for a snake-like pathway that winds it's way through the garden plot. To do that I used an old trash bin that some hooligans has pushed into the riverbed.
After the pathway was installed, I had a six-pack of purple kale left over from last winters gardening, and planted those along the walk. The nights leave light frost on the lawn in the morning, but I think the kale will fair well in the cold. I put cut grass around them as insulation.
This is the first effort in what I hope will be a yielding veggie garden for the family table. I will not be here day to day to work it, so the challenge will be to make it grow. Using permaculture principles will help. Ventura Coop is gardening in Chowchilla now. We'll keep you posted.