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Monday, April 2, 2012

A Dry Oasis...For the Moment

The garden grows nicely, but who is there to appreciate it? It was strange having such a beautiful garden sitting desolate. No sounds of laughter from running children, no classes, no watchful teachers. Just thirsty plants, beneficial bugs and the elements.

I was also thirsty. The thirst gave me a level of empathy for the plants. I could feel them soaking up the cool, refreshing water. That is, after I MacGuyvered the hose on. The key was locked behind another lock whose key had apparently disappeared with the school folk. I'm glad I'd recently started traveling with a ratchet set. My conscience wouldn't have let me leave the plants so dry. Hank planted pineapples and pulled up sedge. That cursed sedge : )

The Sanderlin beds were built through the process of hugelkultur. Pits were dug, and filled with woody bits from logs to sticks to mulch. They were fertilized with fish scraps, and covered with topsoil/compost. Eventually, once they are well soaked and the wood inside begins to slowly decompose, watering will be unnecessary. Like the forest they were designed to emulate, they will be a rich, moist, humousy cake of mycelium, microorganisms and organic matter. The roots of established plants will have a vast oasis of water and nutrients available to them at all times.

Now however is a different matter. The wood is far from broken down, the soil sandy and our Florida spring dry! So now we water, a lot. It's an investment of time and water that will pay massive dividends in the future.

Still, things grow. I'm amazed to see how big the squashes are, and how happy the herbs are. It looks like even the banana tree is now doing well! I guess we volunteers are doing well. Now, we're looking forward to the refreshed teachers and students coming back to revitalize the area.

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