Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saturday Afternoon

I wasn’t surprised at all, when I woke up instinctively at 5:00am Saturday morning. I took Koly for his morning walk and then I popped a dvd into the player. Then I enjoyed a little nap – to compensate for the fact that I hadn’t slept in as I was hoping I would. I woke up feeling much better, but the weather hadn’t changed. It was quite yukky out – cloudy and damp and rainy and cold. I made my way downtown to read an email that Joanne sent me – telling me of her adventures in England with her mom (visiting many aunts and cousins). I told her about the lousy weather we’ve been having here for the last two days. I was really hoping to do some gardening.

It was about 3:00pm when the sun first started to show its face. Slowly the clouds were breaking up. I decided I would do a little gardening, after all…

I couldn’t stop laughing when I zoomed in and looked at the expression on my face, in this photo – ha! ha! I look wwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy too serious. LOL!

Whenever I do my gardening, I always try to focus on just one small job at a time. There is so much that needs to be done, all over the yard, so I simply pick away at one area before moving on to the next. Today, I simply wanted to separate and space out some tulip bulbs, split apart the root mass of a patch of violets and move a sage plant six inches closer to the other herbs.

I began by raking the area clean of leaves and small sticks, and then I turned over the soil just behind where the flowers were. My first attempt at shoveling failed. I thought I had hit a rock, but soon discovered a small concrete slab with an anchor bolt sticking out of it. I decided to put the soil back on top of the concrete and I added several other shovelfulls of dirt – from another area of the garden. My plan would continue - to plant violets in this area, but I wouldn’t be able to plant any bulbs as they need to be planted very deeply.

As you’ll notice in this picture, tulip bulbs are planted very deeply. I was very surprised. Look at the length of the tulip – from bulb to the underside of the leaves (the white area). It’s close to six and eight inches in length. I had to dig even deeper than that to get them out of the ground, with my fingertips – so I didn’t damage the long stem. I had a few casualties. I could be a bit more aggressive with the violets as they are a root plant and the root grows as one large mass. I used my shovel to divide the root mass into many smaller sections. Each root mass is now about two inches by one inch and close to three inches deep. I’ve learned over the years, that plants that grow root masses, like this, love it when they are split into smaller sections. Each small section will produce almost an equal amount of flowers as the whole mass would have, if left alone. That’s about a 700% increase in the amount of flowers I’ll be seeing in this area of my garden. Not bad for one hours work!!!!

So, this is my end result. The sage plant was moved easily, to be closer to the other herb plants. The chunks of violet root masses have been scattered throughout this entire area. You can’t really see them because I’ve covered them with a light dusting of soil. They will be visible again in about three or four days of sunshine. And – where the soil was deep enough – I’ve spread out the tulip bulbs. I’ve learned that when I plant or transplant bulbs, I like to keep them in groups of three or even four. I’ll plant one of the damaged bulbs (hoping it will repair), an older and larger healthy bulb and one or two sprout bulbs. It’s like grouping them into three generational families… LOL!

The first year of planting or transplanting usually results in about 70% fulfillment for the area. Many of the root masses are healing and growing deeper into the soil and much energy is needed. The second year is always more impressive. When I plan an area in a garden I try to plan for ten years in the future. I think about how the plants grow, how much space they’ll grow into and how I can create a self sustaining garden that will offer three different seasons of flowers to the world.

I wish this much thought went into the planning of our communities. Could you imagine if each household was able to be 15% self sufficient, by simple planting a small garden. Imagine further, that each household had members working in a community that was 20% self sufficient – providing much of it’s own power, food, clothing and building supplies. If the proper planning went into our society then many communities would be able to provide for close to 50% of their combined needs.

Self sufficiency doesn’t calculate well into the GNP (Gross National Product) that our governments seem to believe values our worth, but it does calculate into a new relationship that we can build with our Earth.


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