There are days when I forget I have a garden – the maintenance is easy and I can leave for a few days and not worry about it. Lately it has been hot with no rainfall so I’ve been going out to water it now and then. Sometimes I go out just to take a look, munching on sugar snap peas while I explore what’s growing. I enjoy that part very much. Just a few days ago I was delighted to discover these little babies:
They are Sun Gold tomatoes, a variety that is positively thriving in my garden right now and will produce golden cherry tomatoes when ripe.
But some days I go out there just intending to “munch and peek” and end up getting my hands dirty. Last week I took out all the lettuce plants as they had bolted and our last salad was definitely on the bitter side of fresh. I also removed the gai lan, which I’d not pruned and had therefore missed harvesting. The flowers were pretty but as they turned to little seed pods I realized it was just a giant plant taking up space and crowding out other things.
Today was another such day. My compost bin was finally filled to the top after the last visit from the lawnmowing guys (hired by our landlord), who started putting the clippings in my bin at my request. I decided that, ready or not, it was time to start harvesting my compost. So I opened up the lid, stuck in a trowel, and pulled out some Black Gold.
I actually wasn’t sure what to expect, or how to know it was ready. But I figured after almost 8 months of adding things to this bin I had to have *something*. I had sort of imagined it would look like potting soil – rich, dark, crumbly. It wasn’t quite like that. It was dark…it was also lumpy and I could see egg shells throughout. It didn’t smell like garbage, which I thought was a good sign. And it was clearly different from the grass clippings added more recently so I dug out some more and hoped for the best.
I closed the door, mixed up the compost, and gained a fair bit of room at the top again. Then I grabbed my bucket and spade and went to the garden.
I recalled Mel saying in the Square Foot Gardening book that one should add a scoop of compost after harvesting a plot to replenish the soil. I began doing this and slowly gained confidence in my compost as I dumped shovelfuls onto the dry soil of the garden. Using my hand rake I blended it until it resembled “normal soil”, but with a darker hue (in fact, it looked alot like what I started with back in February). As I worked the earth I imagined all that had gone into the compost: organic local eggshells, tons of veggie and fruit bits, tea bags and coffee grinds, grass clippings and dry leaves…all these things going back into my garden just seemed so…right. Like a circle had been closed.
I ended up putting a little bit of compost in every empty plot and even put a bit around my chard and pole beans. I know I’m going to have to sit down very soon and decide what crops to plant for the next season. At least the soil is ready!