Something is brewing in the garden…
In a good way, I hasten to add. Let me explain. After my lumberjacking activities earlier this week, the Dowager was left with a substantial pile of banana tree debris. Bit by bit, she hauled the huge leaves into a corner, where she tried to ignore them. But the sections of trunk were too big to pretend they were invisible, and too heavy for her to move alone. Besides, she’s a lady of advanced years and shouldn’t be hauling heavy stuff around if someone else (me) can do it for her. So I hitched up the trailer and drove over there, and loaded the lot up, fully intending to do as she asked and take it all to the dump.
Somewhere on the way there, a light went on in the gloomy, echoing spaces of my skull. Hang on, came the thought, you spent days and weeks and many dollars and much hard yakka improving the soil upon which this banana monster lived, grew and had its being. Now you’re just going to chuck all that lavish greenery away? That banana trash is full of all the nutrition you dug in. All that’s needed to unlock it all again is patience and chicken poo. (Yes, you did read that right…) So I didn’t go to the dump. I brought it all home.
The thick sections of trunk are still full of water and will slowly disintegrate and break down, but are very fibrous. I’ve tossed them into the chook pen to give a home to insects which in turn will provide protein to the chooks when they arrive. I stripped the green of the massive leaves from the central spine, and piled the leaf debris up under the palms in the centre of the back yard, where the bird feeder is. The soil there is baked hard, covered in crusher dust and contains no sign of organic life. I need to invite the worms back.
Bear with me, there’s method in my madness. Onto the heap I piled fronds I’d cut from the golden palms at the side of the house. These form a sort of stiff mesh which will prevent matting of the vegetation and enable aerobic composting. Then I sprinkled a tasty cocktail of pelletised chicken manure, blood & bone and several shovels full of active compost for starter microbes. Over everything went a lavish layer of lucerne hay and the whole lot was well watered. Birds visiting the feeder will poo over this pile, drop seed, poke around in it for insects. I will poke holes in it to bury vegetable peelings and scraps. I will sprinkle it with weeds, prunings, grass clippings and occasionally, a bit of urine (or perhaps the Husband will oblige there, being better equipped by nature for these things). It will be alive, and active, and one day, it will be soil. And at that point, I will plant something which will be happy there, and move on to create soil again somewhere else.
The way I see it, I’m helping the Earth recreate herself, little bit by little bit, with the materials at hand.
Elsewhere in the Gardens of Chiconia….