Thursday, August 21, 2008

Elegant Dirt Piles and Other Garden Notes

I dug out our peas a couple weeks ago, turned in a bunch of compost and replaced them with a new, beautiful mounded bed. I sifted out the top layer to make an even seed bed and planted peas, spinach, and collards for a fall harvest.

I have decided that I love mounded beds. I love the action of raking them into shape; into the precise, organic shape that my hand, eye, and aesthetic tell me is right for the spot. The shape is not confined to the geometry of wood, or cinder block. The mounded bed is so simple and yet perfectly suited to its task--a combination that I think of as "elegance." I couldn't walk away from this little mini-mesa of dirt without compulsively glancing back to admire it.

I do this sometimes when I finish a project. First I stare at it for a while. Then I wander around until I forget about it for a second, then glance back suddenly and think, "Oh! What's that? It's so nice!" I try to re-perceive it over and over, as if for the first time each time. Sometimes it gets in the way of actual work (one of many habits that do so).

On several successive trips back, I discovered something was digging in the bed. I suspected a cat at first--all that newly-turned soil must seem an alluring litter box--but when I didn't come upon any buried kitty treasures, I began to suspect birds. Robins or crows. I think they're rifling through the easy-to-dig-in dirt, looking for insects and worms. It might even be raccoons, looking for...well, probably just looking.

Miraculously, the little sprouted peas survived being exposed each time, and I just re-buried them. I finally threw a piece of burlap over the bed, which was just in time to protect it from those heavy rains yesterday.

The seeds are sprouting safely underneath it.

On other notes, I love how tomatoes ripen from the stem outward, making a gradation from red to green, in this case like a rainbow:

And cabbages are beautiful after rain. The water pools on the leaves without sticking to them. Roll the droplets off and the leaves aren't even wet. You could drink out of them, or serve salads in them. Hmm....

No comments: