Back to the blog...when I'd rather be in a warm, sunny garden

The flowers & foliage collected raindrops all day yesterday...

Orange of the citrus variety...with a lime accent

& sunlight has touched the green on & beyond the balcony only a times this morning...

Now it's overcast and my feet are cold. In socks! In late May! So no better time to come indoors and complete this post. I started writing it yesterday but have been working with the topic for the past month.


Before the seeds, the greens, the flowers, even before the new gardening books I love, I'm going to feature, appreciate and celebrate soil. Because, as Jeff Nield reminds us, "soil [is] the real black gold":

Farmers realize that the real goal is to grow and strengthen their soil. Along the way, they grow food for themselves and for the rest of us eaters. The by-products of their labour (manure and composted plant material) create a robust and resilient section of earth.

While doing research for my organic agriculture project, I stumbled across this article which evoked in me several "Aha" moments and a stronger commitment to and appreciation of this Good Earth. Please, if you have 5 minutes, go read Jeff Nield's essay now. Even if it means you won't have time to come back here. I think it's required reading for anyone who gardens. Well, anyone who eats. If you do read it, I think you'll understand why I'm putting even more effort into what goes into my pots before the seeds or transplants.

Everytime we eat, we owe a nod of gratitude to the soil for supplying us with nutrients that keep us alive...if we don't learn to protect what lies beneath our feet, all our talk about local food will be moot as we munch on dirt cookies.
~Jeff Nield, Soil: The Real Black Gold


The soil & amendment (vermicompost) in my balcony garden:



This organic soil mixture has been nourishing the young plants that soon will nourish me:

137/365: Mesclun, Asian Baby Leaf

Baby Mesclun Salad, Paris Market Mix

French Chervil



My system for retaining organic matter:


Usually I just collect garden trimmings in this pail & then transfer partly decomposed material to my Mom's compost bin. This season, though, I've been adding fresh material to the pail daily, turning its contents regularly, and placing it in warm sunshine so it "cooks". And I think I may soon have some finished compost. Hurrah. I'm as pleased and proud of this as I am of any thriving plant in my garden.

While I've been writing this last paragraph during the noon hour, I've been aware of something bright to my left side. Yes, sunshine. I wonder how long it will last? Hopefully long enough to warm the soil. I'm off now to inoculate and sow some bean seeds.