Another place, another garden
Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Photo of Chris in ground of Earthship

Written by Chris

June 1, 2014

Two weeks ago, I sat with my hands in the dirt separating old roots from the soil. The dirt was dry and brittle, denuded of life, save a few hardy weeds. Just before the last frost and it is time to get plants in the ground again. I started a blog series a few years ago called the garden project and since then, I find wherever I go, the need to put plants in the ground come spring time. Most of the time, these garden projects have proven to be a struggle in one form or another. But with little steps and constant effort, I always find the juice worth the squeeze.

Going to the compost, I shoveled out the bottom layer of broken down detritus, certain to be packed with nutrients. Two mice scurry away and although I feel bad to have clearly destroyed their winter home, I know they’re already busy making a new one in the most recent compost, still yet to decompose. It is interesting to note that this black gold often sells for top dollar and every individual has the capacity to make it. Sadly, food waste was the second-largest component of solid waste sent to landfills in 2010 in the US, accounting for 34 million tons, just under 14 percent of the total according to the EPA.

Using a wheelbarrow, I run the compost to the dirt pile and start mixing the two. The soil takes on a darker color and smells of rich earth. Off to the store to buy snap peas, beets, various squashes, and peppers. If all of this comes out of the ground, I would say it would be worth the overall investment of 7 dollars in seed. Opening the packs, I always marvel at the various sizes and shapes of seeds, each with a distinct strategy for growth. From big and fat pea seeds with a high-energy investment to tiny Frisbee shaped pepper seeds where the strategy is clearly placed into numbers.

Free food IMG_0029 IMG_0028The seeds go into the ground after some initial planning. Covering them lightly with soil and water, it becomes a waiting game. Within a few days the first spouts emerge, the squash spouts still housing the seed shells with which they use to burst free from the soil. Within a week I am thinning squash plants and giving them to my sister to plant in her yard. The snap peas in their quick nature, spin around looking for support and things to climb. Placing Bamboo sticks next to each sprout gives them the ladder they desire. These small plots did not take a lot of work to start and I find myself wondering why it is not the norm when we drive down the street to see gardens everywhere. The lesson does hold true that it was not a lot of work to realize this patch, but a consistent supply of small amounts of care and attention. So as the season gets going once again, I hope as you read this, it is making you think of your own garden and compost. If not, perhaps you’ll have some inspiration to go out and start one now, Something small, something for yourself, and an action for all. It is never too late to start, just takes a few steps at a time.

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