Before – just a patch of grass. We garden using polyculture and permaculture techniques. We chose this section of the house/yard because collects rainwater from the roof, is shaded from the western sun, and a bit protected from the SW winds.

We grew in a mix of planters, wicking bed planters, and in-ground sunken beds. The sunken beds were partly irrigated by laundry water and rainfall concentrated by the roof, but it did require daily watering in the heat of summer. We used green manures (free ones – the wild brassicas and tumbleweed that sprouted heavily that year) which we put in the base of most of the beds as in-ground compost. Other than that, we didn’t use any other amendments to the soil.

And it became our little green jungle haven in the height of summer. I never imagined plants would grow this lushly in the extreme desert heat we experienced!

The Mexican sunflower attracted many varieties of butterflies.

The IBC tote wicking beds worked really well for loading with many kinds of herbs. The one on the left had lemongrass, galangal root, ginger, parsley, lemon verbena. The one on the right had pineapple sage, Italian basil, Thai basil, and Roman chamomile. I put beans over one hoop and passionflower over the other to make additional shade. Being raised off the ground, they were very convenient to harvest herbs from.

Some of our ornamentals garden around the house.

Hunting hornworms with the black light- they really illuminate!

And this little guy is just to make you smile. He was like a little Buddha. There was a big mama horned toad hanging out in the plants for a couple days, and then we found this guy a few weeks later. So precious!