26 October 2008

Compost comme de l'art

This installation took me seven hours today. I'm thinking of selling it: I'm sure I put just as much thought and effort into it as many more conventional artists put into their work.

I recycled the posts and wire that the cucumbers had been grown on for two of the three sides, then filled the structure by clearing up the remains of the squashes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, corn and beans.

We needed to work on the drainage of the lower vegetable garden, after this July's tomato disaster, where the entire area became waterlogged. I realise that I've never really explained what is where in the garden/barnyard, so here is a not-to-scale diagram to record the current layout. There is a gentle slope from north to south.

Today, Mike dug a trench along the southern end of the upper vegetable garden and connected it by porous piping to the trench that he dug in the spring to the east of the lower vegetable garden. We're hoping this will divert some of the excess water away from the eight vegetable beds that are periodically drowned.

I also dug some sand into the tomato bed (the only one of the eight lower beds that's empty at the moment) to bulk it up a bit and improve the drainage. This was suggested by one of the solar panel guys (who happens to be an organic farmer), but I also took heart from reading Kate's article about using sand, even though the soil here is not clayey like hers (and the comment about sand plus limestone making concrete did give me pause, but what the hell). A big heap of fine sand was left over from the pipeline-laying that the solar panel work needed. It's been well watered by the dog, but I'm guessing that dog urine is probably good for the garden too. Sorry, was that too much information?


Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

hahaha, dog waterer. Sorry, that's just funny.

VP said...

Gosh you have been busy!

We've got clay soil and I'll be digging in sand to open it up this year. Clay + lime = concrete anyway, so anything that helps to open it up - organic matter, grit or sand is good in the longer term.