She’s planted. I had to turn the whole thing by hand once more, to decompress any areas smushed by my walking around on it during tilling, then raked it all out. It’s so pretty! I’m very proud. I took the picture before mulching it, because I think it’s not as presentable after mulching. I really like the “earthy palette” of brown smoothed dirt with the tender green of seedlings. Mulch just makes the whole thing look like an unusually well groomed haystack.
Lettuce starts were totally psychological. “Oh look, its as though something’s already growing.” Tomato starts were necessary. Mine are too late and spindly to finish this summer and will end up in the greenhouse. Putting something in that’s already above ground makes it feel like a real garden.
It feels so late in the year, but when I got my potatoes in the ground the day before the market gardener on the next road who’s lived here for 40 years, well, I can’t be that far wrong.
Mulching. So satisfying in one way, tucking in the vulnerable dirt to conserve its moisture and making little nests around the tiny sunflower seedlings that will become wrist-sized stalks. On the other hand, it’s an awful lot of hay to move, and it’s not esthetically pleasing.
Popular wisdom says not to use only straw and never hay for mulching, because it’s full of seeds. Mogi says that if feed hay has gone to seed, then it has no nutritional value, so it’s always mowed and baled before it goes to seed. I’m looking at: buy straw, or use the giant, growing pile of dry, yellowing reject hay that Mucky has eaten what he wanted of and left to dry on the ground. It’s practically in unlimited supply, all this quality mulch. There are some seeds in it. I can see them. What I’m more worried about is introducing moulds or mildews, but there’s one way to find out. Time will tell.
In other news I had a rather dazzlingly productive day, from 6am to 7pm. I would’ve kept going- I’ve proved it only gets too dark to see in the garden at 10pm – but for the UFC fight. I was on way too much of a tear to bother with any before pictures, but I’m systematically working my way through the todo list in the order of how much they drive me crazy, rather than how important they are. Thus I’m transporting rubble, dismantling poorly designed fences and reframing gates that have bad feng shui before getting the squashes into their patch.
I just couldn’t do it any other way. Every glance at that absurd garden gate tilting over at a completely charmless 20 degree angle the way it’s probably stood for ten years fills me with a bilious, primal drive to change it, and tearing the whole thing down gives me an inner smile of peace that is far more satisfying than the squash plot. The pumpkins have to wait, that’s all there is to it.