Month: March 2017
My husband likes to take the piss with friends back in Scotland by casually referencing our mild California winters. If you’ve ever been to Scotland, where I swear it rains sideways, you’ll know that a creeping damp cold plagues a good portion of the year. His favorite dig when he skypes home from California is that the morning was so cold he had to put socks on. So we can hardly complain about the weather. (more…)
If you told me when I was 20 that checking the rising temperature of a pile of leaves would be the highlight of my day, I would probably have said “shoot me now.” But it has happened and I don’t regret it. Geeking out on the insanely intricate and intelligent processes of plant biology brings me serious joy. Depression and anxiety fighting type joy. This crazy world temporarily seems to make sense kind of joy.
Leaf composting is just such a process. When trees drop their leaves, they decompose and the nutrients they contain are returned to the soil. The soil in turn is made both nutrient rich for the tree to feed on but also for a host of micro-organisms that live in the soil and magically do all kinds of good things for it. Think worms and vermicomposting times a million. Mother Nature ain’t no dummy.
I’ve been gardening for about 5 or 6 years. I started with zero gardening knowledge or experience, just a desire to have a bountiful supply of organic produce to cook with. There’ve been endless mishaps and many baby steps to figure out what produces the heartiest plants and the tastiest vegetables. From containers to raised beds to enriching the existing soil. From organic fertilizers to compost tea to leaf mold. From a few containers to a full on front and backyard urban garden. I was verklempt when I harvested 200lbs of tomatoes in one season and was decimated when squirrels nabbed every ripe nectarine on my tree overnight. (Little fuckers!) I squeezed in time when I could between raising two small kids and working. And to my great delight, it has become simpler and more effortless along the way. In Southern California we are blessed with year round potential but I have learned to reign in my enthusiasm to let soil rest, plant cover crops and rotate crops so that I am not pushing the soil beyond it’s limits. I learned to respect the soil and properly feed it’s complex web micro-organisms. What I don’t know could still fill volumes but I’ve learned a ton from master gardeners all over the internet. And so it continues. I’m slowly moving closer and closer to bio-dynamic farming which in the end is infinitely easier and cheaper and expanding the scale of what I grow. Wish me luck.