Monday, February 1, 2010

bittersweet garden notes...

I'm back from training but am very busy with school. I have a lot to blog about but it will come in spurts until I can get caught up

The top two photos are my "before" photos of my herb bed. Good thing herbs like poor soil. The one on the right is some of the yard debris I've added to amend the soil. If I don't get good herbs this year, perhaps I will next.

The good news is that I've been "given" two garden plots of my own. I'm way excited. It is too late in the gardening season to plant any summer crops, but I'm hoping to "green manure" one (plant a legume or clover to "feed" the soil for next year) and add compost to the other to prepare for winter crops (leafy greens: kale, collards, etc.)

I'm so excited! This is the most "gardening space" I've ever had!

The bittersweet part is that the lady that allowed me to mulch a portion of her tomato patch has asked me to remove the mulch.

This may be for several reasons: native South Africans are terrified of snakes and stinging insects, so they sweep to remove yard debris and yard debris is burned rather than returned to the soil (so it makes sense to me that the mulching practice would also be shunned in the garden); the gentleman "in charge" of the community garden has frequently asked, "When will you be removing the mulch?", which makes me think that the community thinks the mulching is a temporary thing; and lastly, she (the lady indulging my mulching passion) may not be happy with the result. Her tomatoes have a blight or a mineral deficiency and all the mulching in the world won't save her tomatoes.

I removed the mulch and it was doing what it was supposed to: the bottom layer was black and crumbly and smelled sweet; I found a tiny, tiny earthworm (the first I've seen in the garden), and the weeds were kept at bay. I hated removing the mulch and know the root system now will be exposed to the burning hot sun.

Oh well. Perhaps I can "model" mulching in my new plots.

I've asked the college yardmen to "save" the yard debris for me, which is in the photo on the bottom on top, and which is why I'm smiling in the photo below. Can anyone say, "Biomass?"

When I asked for this added chore, I was well rested and eager to work. Now, I'm overwhelmed and exhausted, and can't imagine every having energy to do anything ever again. But I know I'll acclimate and will be itching to haul mulch again soon.

Again, lots to say, but am closing for now,



  1. Your garden plot is beautious! It looks like just what you need and you will feel like it again. Time to regroup from your travels and we patiently await tales of all your travels! Love, D, S, & E
    Also, so many people ask me about you and I always send them to your blog...but many of them don't make it here. Amy Ritchie says hello and asks about you every week. Also, Joe sends his love.

  2. Oops! I actually haven't posted photos of my garden plots yet. Those above are of an "herb bed" I've adopted. I'm planting herbs and edible flowers there (nasturtiums/marigolds) for the hospitality program.

    Please send my love to everyone!