Gardening in the Sun is getting scary. Over the past couple of months I have had the feeling that the Sun is fiercer. Its not that the weather is hotter, as such, but the Sun's rays burn harsher, sunburn comes easier. I seem not to be the only one - numerous people are commenting on this. Are we really feeling the effects of the worst-ever Thinning of the Ozone Layer, or is this just some sort of auto-suggestion effect? The sceptic in me says, "Let's leave it at 'I don't know.'" though, honestly, I was feeling this before I started seeing news reports about how how bad the ozone layer is this year.
Three Strands of Thinking...
Fit the First: All this has got me thinking, and observing my veggie beds much more closely. I'm becoming much more concerned with mulching the surface of beds, particularly at this stage of the growing season, where plants are still tiny, and much of the surface lies open and exposed to the Sun, Wind and Rain. Expecting a dry, hot and burny Summer, I also need to implement soil-moisture conservation strategies - something I've simply been lazy about for too long, now.
Fit the Second: Then, too, as I have been clearing beds, resuscitating the Hex Project, the whole Hex scheme as really crystalised in my mind - outer beds feeding mulch and nutrients to the mid-ring and inner beds; inner beds providing seed, and so on. I promise a full write-up - to do so now will just be a distraction from my point for this post.
Fit the Third and Final: Lately I have been stacking crops in time a lot - seeding or transplanting directly into a standing crop that is still a few weeks from harvest. Having neglected garden-bed maintenance during the year in favour of various other stupidities, I am now paying the price in being very pushed for space for the Summer crops. And there's nothing like necessity to get the creative juices flowing! This sort of stacking was pioneered by Masunobu Fukuoka, and, though I have not read his books, I think I have a basic understanding of the principles - far too many ramifications and implications to go into here and now - very deep stuff! I would love to read of his work and hopefully will be able to afford some of his books soon.
A click brought on by tripping across "The Road Back To Nature". I feel that I am advancing to yet another stage in my gardening. Yet a deeper level of understanding of soil biota, the rhizosphere and how they interact. Yet a deeper connectedness with the Earth herself.
It shows up in funny ways, too. I find myself apologising to Earthworms I have accidentally disturbed; unwilling to kill obvious pests. Better to leave them as food for the predators that protect my garden.
The more I learn about growing things, the more I have come to believe that the only limit to the productive capacity of our gardens, is our own knowledge, empathy, respect and understanding