Today we got rid of a lot of sedges and trimmed back some herbs. It wasn’t very eventful but it had to be done. I saw an awesome snail feast happening on a small eggplant, and some people stopped to chat with us about the garden, including a nice professor from the Mars Rover building who loved the idea of edible plants being featured prominently on campus. We disposed of a lot of epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides) that had gone to seed. The seeds are toxic, but the leaves have many traditional uses by Mexican Indigenous people. It is added to beans to prevent and treat flatulence and can kill intestinal worms (hooray plant!). We cut back a lot of lemon balm (Melissa oficinalis). Lemon balm is not found in Arizona, but three of its relative Monardas (bee balms) are. Bee balms are used as antiseptics, and my Bible Kearney and Peebles say the Hopi used them for medicinal purposes. They make great companion plants and attract pollinators and predatory insects.
A story about our compost: ASU is huge on sustainability. Everything here is a pissing contest about who is more green, so we had a huge compost setup and the good maintenance guys were helping us move everything to this old lot on fraternity row. Well, the frat boys noticed work trucks driving in and out of the neighborhood, got scared of “the suspicious Mexicans” and called the school to complain. Composting at ASU was shut down, but now we have the master, Ken Singh to do it for us. Mr. Singh and his wife Lee are great and we get excellent compost, but we lost a valuable learning opportunity and made our own maintenance familia feel bad. : (