Friday, March 14, 2014

Feed the Soil...

and the plant can take care of itself.   Not by luck but by design, I have lived here on this little third acre for over forty years and it has changed a lot over those four decades.  The house was a shack,
"worst house in the best neighborhood", 900 square feet, built right on the ground and without insulation anywhere.  Over the years the house has transformed, grew bigger and proud, standing on its firm foundation.  It is a nice place to live but the real change and the best place to be is my backyard.
    The soil was almost pure clay and I considered for awhile opening a clay factory for potters.  The almost blue clay was that pure and wouldn't grow anything.  My first experience in building was to create my greenhouse, a permanent 8' x 12' stone and glass structure that forty years later is still the best greenhouse I have ever seen.  I plotted out the area for the garden and surrounded it with an 18" concrete curb.  It looked like the foundation for a big house.  Over the years I have filled this area to overflowing with leaves and wood chips and glass clippings the City crews brought to me by the dump
truck load.  I layered this with sand and gypsum and more truck loads of manure.  I would guess that over 40 years this has totalled well over 100 cubic yards and it always disappears.  Eaten by worms and chewed up by the soil microbes which must think that I am the god that feeds them.
   Forty years later I am still feeding this soil.  All the leaves and grass clippings I can find and on alternate years I add about 3 yards of composted manure or in 50 pound sacks, kelp meal, cottonseed meal, bone meal, various rock dusts and gypsum to keep the Ph in balance.  My entire garden is one big raised bed filled with wonderful potting soil.  Now instead of thinking of opening a clay factory I should sell worms.  There are hundreds of  these night workers in every shovelful.
   I don't fertilize my plants during the growing season except sometimes when I think about it, a bit of compost tea to go with their daily meal found throughout the soil they grow in.
   I made a lucky find yesterday!  I seldom get a latte to go at a coffee drive through but yesterday I did and out of curiosity asked the barista what they did with the coffee grounds?  Behind the little shop were three large bins of this wonderful nitrogen rich product and she said I could have as much as I wanted!  I ended up with an entire truck load!  Now my garden is happy and very awake!
   It is still six weeks away from getting the main garden in and established but we are having nice weather and I have Spring Fever!   How is your garden growing?

1 comment:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I can't wait to see your spring garden pics Jerry!!