Sometimes the path of least resistance wins. I have been fretting over buying compost ever since I realized that the compost we produced over the winter was completely insufficient. How much did I need? Where should I buy it? What kind should I buy? How would I get it? How can I do it was cheaply as possible? I was fretting out loud to my husband after my plant-buying spree on Saturday and as usual, he cut through all of my fretting and said “Delivery means more time for planting. Just do it!”. So I called the only compost company open on Saturdays and had them deliver 4 cubic yards of compost that very afternoon.
The next step was deciding finally where the beds were going to go in the food forest. The original plan on paper was a series of raised oval beds around each fruit tree, but that never felt right when I was walking around. So the next morning I raided a neighbor’s pile of sticks set out for the trash and just started laying out paths and beds with hefty sticks as borders. Then I raked the mulch out of the centers of the new beds and piled it up against the edges to hold in the compost. I ran out of sticks after laying out one long bed against the front curving edge and adding a new border to the oval bed around the persimmon tree, and decided that was sufficient work for one day.
Then the boys and some of their friends got to digging. They filled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow with compost and dumped it into the new beds while I raked it into place. I can’t believe how fast this part went! In less than an hour we filled all of the new beds in the food forest, plus one raised bed in the back. Then since rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week, I started planting immediately:
Seeds: cosmos, dahlias, she gan/blackberry lily, ashwagandha
Starts: half of the eggplants and tomatillos. I’ve never grown these before, so not sure what the optimal planting-out size is. If these survive, I’ll plant out the rest. If they croak, I can let the reserved starts get bigger and try again.
Still to plant: jolokia peppers, madder, han lien cao, dang shen, she chuang zi, jiao gu lan, jie geng, thai roselles, and butter beans and milkweed in all the corners.
Despite my fears of running out of compost halfway, at least half of that giant pile of compost is left… plenty to finish a bed running the length of the food forest area. Hopefully we can get some more of the bed done this coming weekend!