The last time I wrote about our progress in the garden we had not made much progress. We had an idea, we built the compost pile, and we had about 40% of the seeds germinating.
Well the seeds are doing well, some are sprouting and the quinoa is about an inch high already. The compost is slowly filling up and we are continuing to follow our usual regimine of eliminating as much waste as possible and redirecting as much of it to the pile as possible. It is not that difficult for us to change our ways now that we have a compost pile, because beforehand we still had a compost bucket but we usually just threw the waste in the woods. We just could not throw it in the trash, but now that we have a bonafide compost heap we can truly create some beautiful soil.
Speaking of soil, Tom and I were outside the other day just piddling around in the back yard in preparation to begin the project and we noticed that our soil is some of the most beautiful soil. You would think it would be red clay, Georgia is famous for red clay, or just of really poor quality since we are two miles from downtown and this is such an urban setting. Looking back I laugh at Tom and I standing back there discussing our amazing soil like we had just struck gold, but under our circumstances I feel that our soil in the back yard is like gold for us.
It will help us with our mission and we, in return, will help it by not putting chemical fertilizers on it and letting nature put the nutrients it needs back in the soil.
So where are we?
Yesterday, February 19th, my mom came down early in the morning and we got to work almost immediately.
Originally I wanted to do the entire project with no machinery, but soon I realized it was paramount that we got a tiller. The soil in the back yard is amazing but we have a lot of bamboo that has spread and the grass is so thick in some areas it would take ten to twenty minutes just to dig up one lump. Perhaps we were lazy or sensible, who knows.
So I went to the store and got a truck, a tiller, and a weed wacker. Our weed wacker is electric and although I prefer electric for environmental reasons ours just is not powerful enough to get through some of the stuff that sat in neglect for over a year.
When we got back to the house we went to work on tilling the garden and creating our space. I thought it would be extremely easy with the tiller but three hours of tilling later I realized just how difficult it would have been without the tiller.
The space we have for the garden is about 30 feet by 15 feet. So we decided to do an internal path so we would have better access to the plants, plus it looks amazing.
While I tilled my mom would go behind me and rake the turned up grass and weeds on to the path we were building. So the path is raised about three inches above the beds and then we covered it with pine mulch.
My neighbor was talking with us and informed us that cyprus mulch, which I bought for the front of the house, was actually not environmentally friendly at all. Why? Well apparently cyprus mulch is derived from hundred year old cyprus trees and only used for mulch wheras pine mulch is actually more sustainable.
Pine trees are harvested and used for lumber or paper. The trees are replanted and grow extremely fast and the mulch is derived from the bark.
So my mom and I decided not to return the cyprus mulch, we only had three bags, and used it around our new fire pit.
The back yard had some hidden jewels. Under all the leaves and growth we found a stone path that ended in a round stone floor. It was not even at all because of years of rain and erosion. So we dug up some of the rocks and made a fire pit. Surrounding the pit is a thin line of cyprus mulch.
So we built the garden, cleared the back yard of leaves, and built the fire pit. We decided to rake the leaves to the end of the yard and kind of make a flower bed out of them instead of buring them or putting them in bags. We did this because we want them to decompose and go back in to OUR soil. To make them look appealing we will be putting wild flowers in them once the soil is about sixty degrees.
We also recreated the front of the house. We have a thin strip of land between our driveway and the fence which we left kind of weedy. We plan on adding more morning glories (there are some already there) and some wild flowers on that side. Then in the front we weeded the front flower bed and put some annuals and some daffodils in. We rakes the leaves and grass clippings aside and creating another "wild" bed which we will fill with wildflowers.
Against the porch we are also putting sunflowers (lots of them) and more morning glories as well as tons of moon flowers. Doug (my partner) loves sunflowers and Kat (roommate and bestfriend) loves moon flowers.
We are all so excited about our gardening efforts, not just because of the beauty we will create but for me I am realizing how spiritual this is. We are creating something beautiful and beneficial for our home. The soil will not be harmed since we are eliminating harmful pesticides and fertilizers and I am learning so much about the land.
When my mom and I were building the garden yesterday I made a comment about how amazing it was that while building the garden we were moving all of the weeds and grass out of the way and slowly a beautiful path was forming. "Just like life" my mom replied.
So you see gardening can be quite spiritual