In my dreams I am a masterfully organized and disciplined human.
In reality I come nowhere near to my ideals.
In the garden at Wishetwurra Farm, Organization and Disintegration are in constant interplay. When the first part of the garden was started, about forty years ago, it was a 30′ x 40′ rectangle. Its recent expansion to three times that size began about fifteen years ago, when a friend gave me a present. A dump truck load full of manure. That load, spread out, didn’t exactly end up with regular dimensions. The garden is now a trapezoid, extending a hundred feet, more or less, on the two long, east and west sides, but tapering from ninety feet wide at the north end to forty feet wide at the south.
This “new” section has beds that build in parallel from each long side. Which leaves a triangular patch in the middle. Organizational attempts in this place are mysteriously lost. So I call it the Bermuda Triangle. One result of the odd shape is that efforts at improving soil fertility here have been scattershot and slipshod. Last year’s attempt used horse manure mixed with wood chips, which in the long run isn’t bad, but which in the short term doesn’t do much, as the wood chips, in order to decompose, take up the nitrogen in the manure. That leaves little readily-available food for whatever you try to plant.
The triangle contained the worst dirt in the garden, and called out for a fertility project.
There’s a recipe I’ve been using for garden bed rehab. Which is: dig out dirt, apply eight inches of manure, add a couple of inches of dirt, then another layer of manure, then another layer of dirt, then another layer of manure. On top of last layer of manure, plant oats, peas, beans, and buckwheat, and sprinkle a thin layer of seaweed or hay on top. The cover crop grows until winter kills it. By next spring, the two foot thick cake you’ve made has settled down to half its original height. Rake off the wispy dead cover, and you are ready to grow something nice.
It’s a labor-intensive job, but work and hauling are keys to a good garden.
Once the inner triangle was completed, the paths started to whine. “Feed us, feed us!”, they cried. Unable to resist, I started hauling. As of this post, the triangle has consumed eight or nine loads of manure, and is begging for two or three more.
Here is the triangle this morning.
The dirt is already improved to the point where the “broccoli diver” has returned.
So what’s this “gore” stuff?
Those of you who sew know what a gore is.
So do you surveyors.
The State of New Hampshire has some famous Gores.
None of this post has anything to to with Al Gore, even though today’s topic could be said to be about earth in the balance…
Since I’m feeling mean today, you’ll have to go look the word up yourself.