Pea vines climbing compost crib

Pea vines climbing compost crib

It’s a constant distraction,

my little back yard garden; but a very necessary one. By this I mean it’s the distractions that are necessary, not the garden. But, hold on! I can’t let this thought get away and out of proportion. Growing some veggies in the small space allowed by any narrow city lot is, for me, hugely important, fun, rewarding, exasperating and necessary. But the distraction part, for me, also is necessary. 

You see, my garden time consists of very short visits. When I’m doing something in the house like painting, or any other tedious chore, “the garden” becomes my break time excuse. With a short attention span like mine, you can see why this becomes necessary. Call it ADD if you like. It is what it is, and the garden supplies me with an excellent management tool for coping with my attention span situation. 

Having said all that, there is infinitely more to be appreciated about urban gardening. Keeping soil in the healthiest condition means that we don’t use pesticides or any form of chemical fertilizers. Most important to healthy soil is the living things in it, i.e. worms and various other creatures that do all the work for us that we do not have to do. They turn and aerate the soil and fight off invasive harmful visitors better than we can. And when kitchen scraps are recycled into the soil via the compost bin the soil is enriched by these living creatures that consume the scraps and leave their castings for the benefit of the soil – totally without charge to us beneficiaries. I can’t help but feel kinship to the soil when I notice things like the shell of a mango pit while replanting carrots. That mango’s pit did service last winter creating edible fruit which we enjoyed, and now has re-invented itself as an important ingredient of our soil structure. 

Then I planted snap peas along the four sides of my compost cradle, a wooden structure measuring two feet wide, two feet long and three feet tall, which houses a circular chicken wire bin to hold finished compost. This gives me four two-foot sides to plant the peas which will trellis up along the sides of the bin. On each side there is room for only six plants because I stay clear of the corners which are reserved for pole beans. Some of these pea plants, seeded in late May, have climbed to over three feet by now. One has died, and another, looking very healthy, has only grown about ten inches. It just sits there and looks healthy. Do I know what to do? I just watch every day to see what it will do next. The others grow, begin to blossom, and this little guy just sits there looking perfectly happy to be who it is and enjoy its place in the cosmos. It’s a mystery. 

And, now some of the pole bean plants located at the four corners of this same compost cradle are beginning to climb. I have fastened a twelve-foot pole to each corner of the bin with duct tape. But, one of the bean plants located between the pole and one of the more aggressive pea plants seems to have a mind of its own and has decided it would rather climb up the pea vine than the bean pole. So, I said, "Sorry about that, Bubba”, and unwound the beans’ up-reach from the pea vine and rewound it around the bean pole.  We’ll see what happens next. 

So, Compost Pile, is an ongoing journal about things reinventing themselves; Local history, Architecture, Art, Cuisine, anything/everything.

Tell “the Pile” what you think - throw it on! With permission we’ll publish it!

Talk soon………..JR

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