09 November, 2015

Winter garden (prologue)

I picked the garden spot because it was the only place in the back yard that made sense. With a neighbor and his pickup truck, a few cubic yards of composted horse manure were procured, and with the help and viking metal proffered by a visiting midwesterner learned in the arts of soil, the horseshit was given a proper burial. Then came leaves from the neighbors' pistachio tree and leaflets from my mesquite, roots left behind after leafy early summer harvest; micturated beer mingled in the soil with three months of laundry water and above-average September rain.

When i pulled back the basil, three feet tall and mostly lying on the ground, what i found was astonishing. Little trace of the leaf mulch remained: the top three inches of soil were filled with filamentous fungal hyphae. As i forked and raked the soil, i found shriveled fruiting bodies. My desert garden grew mushrooms! Thanks to all that leaf mulch (and urine, putting leaf decomposition on speed), in just under eleven months the soil's organic matter content has increased considerably.

We'll see how things do with a Nov. 7 planting date. What went in the ground: Danvers 126 carrot, Cylindra beet, Romanesco cauliflower, Tokyo Bekana, Tatsoi, and mesclun mix, along with hardy mustard and "dancing kale" gene pools from Restoring Our Seed all those years ago.