When I was 10, a rainy day meant staying indoors with little to do. At 15, I was worried my hair would frizz and boys wouldn’t like me. Now, as an adult gardener, I just smile. I can hear my plants drinking it all in.
We have actually had a mini-drought here in the mid-Atlantic. There was no measurable rain for the first three weeks of April. That’s not good news for the water table, the farmers, the gardeners and anyone who likes to eat. No rain means no planting and no fresh veggies this summer.
Happily, we got about 2” in a 36 hour period from Sunday through Monday. Today, we got another .75 inches. I know this without listening to the weather because we have our own rain gauge. Naturally.
The picture above shows one of the terraced boxes we have in the back. Our slope is so steep, it is the only way I can garden in most of the yard. Back against the fence are what my husband calls my little cow pies. That’s where I make my compost.
The newest pile, the one we are currently adding fresh material to, is in the circular green thing. They don’t sell that anymore, but they should. Mine is about 25 years old. You just lift it off when you are ready to start a new pile. The sides have lots of air holes and you can toss the contents as you add grass, leaves and kitchen waste.
In the fall, I try to toss the piles that have been cooking during the summer. I spread out anything that is fully decomposed and consolidate as much as I can. Fall brings a big influx of dead leaves and I treat the piles like sour dough starter, adding partially decomposed layers to help the leaves start breaking down.
Each spring, I am usually able to top dress all over the garden and add good compost to anything I have in pots. I feel smart and virtuous! I can make earth. How cool is that?
Remember that gorgeous ornamental grass garden I showed in my last gardening post? Nature hasn’t been kind. Towering evergreen trees began blocking the light and sending roots over to steal the nutrients. The picture at the right shows you what it looks like now. I have moved several of the straggly old grasses to homes along the back fence and added a row of thick curved wall stones as a front edge.
They will allow me to raise the level of the soil by about 4” along the front 4-5’ of the slope. I have some small pieces of flagstone which I will use to mark the end of the lower section and the beginning of the upper section. I hope to put mostly perennials here, with taller ones in the back to help hide my neighbor’s storage sheds. At least they are white plastic and not rusty metal ones. I try to look on the bright side.
I’ve dug about half the space, removing old tree roots and rocks. The little rocks are filling the triangular spaces between the border stones. Looks kind of cool and should keep those spaces from filling with weeds.
I try to keep all the smaller rocks I find whenever I am working the soil. I throw them on a sloped area near the house that connects one part of the garden to another. It was a potential washout spot but the rocks keep that from happening. On trips to the ocean, I picked up shells and tossed them on top. I think of the whole pile as ground art.
Work will keep me busy tomorrow and then more rain is promised for the weekend. With luck, I might get out in the garden on Sunday, Monday for sure. I have to harness all this enthusiasm while I have it! I know it disappears as soon as the weather gets really hot.
Hope you are getting out in your garden.