I do love the Equinox and make a point of celebrating the completely natural events which mark our lives. I particularly like the fact that the solstices and equinoxes are on different dates every year. They are not bound by the Roman Calendar or any human made thing, they are when they are. I started with my usual ritual of watching the sunrise in the exact same spot I do every year and marvelling at how it is always on time at 05h50. Then nine Cape Parrots flew over, calling cheerfully.
Often I have friends for a meal to mark the occasion. However, although I invited a number of people, no one was able to join me. What this says about my friends, or lack of them, is topic for another post…
So, early this morning I sidled up to Mr Mofokeng in the farmyard and suggested he spend to day with me. I promised tea and toast and conversation. He fell for it.
I have been planning a new veggie bed for a while, thinking my garden is perhaps a little too focussed on biodiversity and not too much on food production. So with a lot of help from Mofokeng, we made an adjustment to this today. My food garden is situated between my kitchen door and garage above the path, bounded by railway sleepers and poles and more or less contained. Today it crept below the path too.
We demarcated a new bed using found sleepers. We dug out the kikuyu and other undesirable grasses, stuck forks into the earth and wiggled them about (but definately did NOT turn the soil over). After wetting it all with bathwater, I lay old copies of the Midlands’ favourite newsaper, Meander Chronicle, all over the remaining grass and earth and dampened that too.
Then came a layer of horse manure into which I put handfuls of vermicompost (full of red wriggler worms) from my worm bin in the hope that they would munch on the fresh manure and help turn it into good compost. Next a layer of dried autumn leaves and then lots of freshly pulled out weeds and spent veggies for a nice green layer. Sort of like building a compost heap, except only one layer of each element. I’m sure there are better ways of preparing new beds, I’m just describing mine. Mofokeng and I chatted all the way about how much work worms do for us for free and how lucky we are to have access to lots of manure, fresh greens and water. Dizzy milled about licking our ears whenever we bent down.
The whole bed was topped off with a bit of top soil rescued from a field which was recently levelled, and after a thorough watering, a nice thick mulch of old hay. Obviously, I can’t plant anything until all the layers turn into soil, but I thought I might just pop in a few bush beans in a couple of weeks time and see what happens – I’ve got some gorgeous yellow dwarf ones and red noodle and black hopi too. Even if they don’t flourish they’ll fix xome nitrogen for me.
We enjoyed a cup of tea and fennel biscuits while we admired our work. Very satisfying. Dizz assumed we had spent the whole morning creating a perfect place for him to snooze in the sun and settled down contentedly. I did a little more weeding as the moon is very low and planting is pointless, before harvesting a great pile of broad beans for supper. Then it started to drizzle. how lucky can I get?
Now that’s a celebration!