Friday, December 18, 2009

What a Difference a Few Years and Some Organic Matter Makes

I bought this house and started this garden 13 years ago. The native soil is clay. Well it might have been better before the years of cotton farming. However, after that, all that was left of the soil was clay. Over the years I have amended this soil with tons of compost. I used to dig it into each plot a couple of times a year. I don't do that anymore. I just mulch with finished compost, shredded leaves, coffee grinds or the neighbors grass clippings. The soil is now beautiful, friable, drains well and smells good. It is a pleasure to work in it. Weeds pull out easily and flowers, herbs and vegetable thrive.

Today I went and volunteered to work at the local middle school. The campus is less than I mile from our home. There is a very dedicated teacher who is leading the Environmental Club. She and the club put in a flower bed in front of the school last spring. They amended the soil with compost and used mulch. Today we were planting tulip bulbs in that flower bed. Under that heavy layer of mulch was wet, sticky, heavy clay. I think it could have been used as modeling clay. It stuck to everything and had no humus at all. After a few years of mulching, they will have the same crumbly, sweet soil I have in my garden.

I hope those children don't get discouraged by that soil and give up gardening.