Sunday, June 12, 2011

One day's salad, the next day's compost

A sign of summer and the end of spring: I pulled up the last of our lettuce and arugula (a spring crop), today, to make room for the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers we hope to have a bounty of come late summer.

We had definitely enjoyed some nice salads from these leafy greens, but they had -- as is their like as the weather warms -- begun to go to seed and become more tough and bitter. So, instead of putting these last of the greens on our dinner plates, I am allowing them to 'compost-in-place' to form a sort of mulch along with the sheets of wet newspaper you can see 'between-the-hills' in the pic above. The hills themselves have been newly planted with cucumber seeds (I am afraid our local groundhog may find the seedlings-to-come to be tasty, but I am hoping he/she will leave at least some of them for us!).

One (non-chemical!) defense against the likes of our furry groundhog friend and the beetles that have already ravaged some of our tomato plants is the upside-down planting method, which we tried out successfully last year. We're experimenting now with some irrigation methods for the upside downers (note the 'upside down' two-liter A&W bottle in the foreground below). This page, taught us how to do this, although, as is our wont, we refused to actually follow the instructions! :)

From Planting Day (6/12/11)

Gardening -- like bicycling -- is an important means of self care for me amid the challenges (and joys!) of being in ministry. Last summer, it was a great gift to me to be able to spend early mornings quietly tending to our little backyard garden before getting ready to head to my busy workday of teaching a chaplaincy summer program. This summer -- while I have the new joy of being able to spend time in New York City, the place of my birth -- I will less often be able to walk out to my garden first thing in the morning. I was glad to be able to be able to be in it for a few hours, today!

For a moving reflection on how your backyard might be a source of spiritual nourishment, see the words of our friend and teacher Natan Margalit on his Organic Torah blog.

Have a great week!

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