I love, more than anything else about gardening, watching the garden grow. Even before the uncertainty of putting small seeds into earth, and waiting, there is the dreaming, where long straight rows of vigorous vegetables grow in the fertile imagination.
I’ve tried different gardening methods over my seasons of gardening in the past 10 years, and I honestly can’t say I have founded my own fool-proof method yet, because it’s always changing, I feel sometimes ambitious, sometimes craving simplicity at the start of the season. I’m always trying new things with often surprising successful or failing results.
Lately I’ve been using a blend of permaculture beds and tillage, which makes it not really either. However, this agreement of opposite philosophies has been working well for me. I’ve found that permanent permaculture beds built up pests, but mechanical tillage burns up the fragile, already pathetic soil. Having the pigs weed and till, and then building big beds from the cows’ and goats’ hay leavings, in various stages of composing, and planting into that seems to be working well. It adds some flexibility to the permaculture fertility building, and it’s nice to have a blank slate of weeded, gently tilled garden to build from. Teasel is there at all stages, helping out in cat fashion – by napping luxuriously everywhere I’m trying to work.
Next the garden starts go in, tiny little things, all hopeful and ready for more room. It’s like sending your small child of to kindergarten, the first day they are planted through the mulch and watered in. So much has gone into them, the soil, the seeds, the time spent watering and protecting them while they curl their first little leaves towards the sunshine.
Things don’t always work out – like a few days ago when the chickens discovered they could jump up on my starts table and gorge themselves on lettuce and arugula seedlings. I just think of soup, when I see them scratching innocently around the yard now.
This is a very comfortable time in the garden, when everything has reached an established and harvestable stage, and the dreaming has been manifested by time, sweat, and hard work. Now the rows of beautiful greens flourish, even if they aren’t planted in quite the same places, or in as great of quantity, as the magnificent garden of the imagination.