Here I was this week clearing away the last of the corn stalks and thinking it didn't seem so long ago I was planting them. Now I'm sowing black oats, then it will be potatoes and then another summer crop and on it goes. Life is cyclic and so is nature.
Still reading Monty (Monty and Sarah Don, Fork to Fork) and absorbing the ideal of a self-sustaining or 'non-input' garden. This is where you establish an environment that largely provides for itself, supplying its own compost and nutrients. It is probably easier to do on a larger scale and I would think that having livestock would help, even if it is as small as worms. Strangely enough the penny dropped this week; I am gardening on a larger scale. I was reading an advertisement for forcing pots where they recommended two rhubarb plants, not one, if you were going to force it. I'd say I have 3 dozen and that is barely enough. This is a big garden.
Well sustainable gardening requires that nothing is wasted and that everything is returned to the soil. Ta da! That black in the wheelbarrow is leaf mould from the leaves that Mama raked here 2 years ago. Yip,it takes that long for them to break down. In the sack is sawdust, untreated, from the workshop. In the bucket dried blood, and bone meal. Without asking too many questions, dead animals get sent off to the works and come back in bags...seperated. This is a gift from a farmer down South. We don't work on this scale.
So equal quantities of sawdust and leaf mould, and a good handful of blood and bone (with a partiality to bone meal here) and the result is a strawberry soil mix to dig in and use as a mulch. Finished them off with a pine needle mulch because these are planted 2ft apart and are just new runners. Look in the box and you'll see the nice root formation.
The seasons may run a circular route but jobs in the garden are a chain of processes. One job leads to another to another to another to finally the end task that you had in mind from the start. So to throw over the peas as a cover crop first required saving the seed back in February, podding them, preparing the soil (fetching the cow manure and building it into the dig) and then slowly rehydrating it with the soak hose over a few weeks here and there. Sowing seeds: 5 mins. Preparation: always and ongoing. When I come in the door and say, 'I've had a great time in the garden; I sowed some peas' it doesn't really communicate all that. Blank stares all round.
The frosts are taking them out but they have shoots coming away at the base to nurture over winter with straw. In Spring I'll plant them out and begin the year again...