Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2017 - 65
singing in the garden
I borrowed a book from the library about composting
and read about how to layer the green and brown stuff,
sprinkling either a high protein dog chow or a little fertilizer on each layer before adding the next. When it was
four feet tall, I was supposed to tamp the middle into a
slight depression and then wet the pile until it was damp.
Then I was supposed to cover it and water it when it was
dry. Notice that I've written those last two sentences in
what I call the "coulda, shoulda, woulda" verb tense.
Even though I bought a soil thermometer so I could gloat
when the inner temperatures rose to the bacteria killing
levels, the pile never even ran a fever.
If you are an astute reader, you've already guessed
why. I couldn't find something to cover the pile with, I
forgot to check to see if it was damp after the first week,
the hose wouldn't reach the pile for watering: those are
my excuses. The truth is, I'm a lazy gardener, and my
compost pile was a sad testament to that fact.
But, nature is kind. The pile didn't get hot, but by the
next spring, it had created dirt. Glorious, rich, crumbly,
looks-like-chocolate cake dirt. Last May, when I created
my first ever raised bed, I dug in two wheelbarrow loads
of the stuff. That bed flourished and my cucumbers,
planted in late May, bore until the middle of July. The
turnips grew through the winter, the peppers fell over under the weight of their fruit, and the lettuce fairly glowed
After another winter, my second pile of compost is
ready to be worked into the garden. Raised bed number
two is under construction and I will devote it to flowers.
By August I hope to have flowers as glorious as the ones
hanging in various frames around my house. The
ones my mother painted. I'm looking forward
to a day when she will arrive with brush
in hand and memorialize the flowers
in my garden: beautiful because
they were fed a steady diet of
what most people would have
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CELESTIAL PHENOMENON in
Cherokee County, NC
Celebrating 225 Years
AUGUST 21, 2017
Come to Madison for the
hiking, history, artisans,
scenery, the Taste of the
Mountains, Music and
Apple Harvest Festivals,
the brewery, wineries, or
your destination wedding!
Stay in a B&B, cabin,
camper, RV, lodge,
vacation rental house,
tent or even a yurt!
We have it all
away from it all!
May/June 2017 65