Saturday, March 18, 2006

I guess I planted.

Another beautiful day today: highs in the mid-60s and clear. PP and I made a trip to our local nursery in search of a plant that can live on fluorescent light alone (for his office) and more things for our garden.

On Friday I had finished up with clearing the raised bed, and planting the Red Drumhead cabbage and red kale, and adding some worm squirt I had purchased from the organic farming students: that all went pretty quickly as I listened to Part II of the Friday Random Infinity.

Today we picked up some lettuce (buttercrunch and romaine), broccoli, and herbs (lemon verbena, sage, oregano, and thyme), and I got those all in. We moved some beautiful sweet compost from the pile into the raised bed and also around the herbs in their bed. The PP raked leaves out of the bed where the herbs live (a larger flower and shrub bed), and together we intervened in the death match between the English Ivy and mint. (I mentioned that last year I did not take the greatest of care of the garden. But I did notice this death match in action. The action got less exciting when winter came and the mint died back anyway. Ultimately we sided with the mint, which is now starting to poke its fragrant little heads out, and ripped out quite a lot of ivy.

Most of my gardening happens in the raised bed, a lasagna garden measuring 4 feet by 8 feet. My father, the PP and I built it a few years ago. If you’re not familiar with the lasagna principle, essentially you are building a compost bin into which you will plant your garden, after it stews for a few months. You start with newspaper at the bottom and layer leaves, grass clippings, manure, compost and other good organic material. Cover with dark plastic to attract heat and let sit for several months. When you uncover it, presto! The little worms had done their work, and instead of layers of stuff you have dark, sweet, rich soil.

If you do not live in the upstate of SC, or in some other similar region, then you don’t know how amazing it is to encounter such a thing. The indigenous dirt is less dirt and more material for throwing very red pots. During droughts, the ground pretty much feels like pottery, too: rough on the little plants trying so hard to force their roots down for some moisture.

So my lasagna bed is a joy. I hardly need to dig in it: I can just move the soil around with my hands, releasing little bursts of organic sweetness as I work. The faded strings from 2 years ago still mostly are nailed to the bed’s frame, marking off the 1-foot-by-1-foot squares I use for Mel Bartholomew (and his beard)'s ass-kicking Square Foot Gardening approach to getting a lot of produce out of not much space but also with not much work. Apparently the broccoli matures in 75 days!

1 comment:

Brumaire said...

Very cool. I'll have to try that -- if I can find enough sun in our yard. The raised gardens look wonderful. Hope you post more pictures as everything grows!