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Garden journal entry


May 05, 2018. In creating the new garden border described in an earlier post this year, I followed the method I've adopted for many years, and adapted to Houston gardening in the past two years: I strip the sod off the area of the new border and set it aside; then I dig the soil out to a depth of about a shovel-and-a-half – deep enough that I can bury the sod without fear of the grass living on; after laying the sod back in the excavated area, I backfill with the soil that I dug up, amended with an organic material, such as compost or bagged topsoil mixes. This results in a somewhat raised bed, with a deep layer of soil that's broken up well enough to no longer resemble the barren native clay. In larger projects, such as the recent expansion, I also throw in other organic materials at the bottom of the trench: prunings and other garden debris that will slowly decompose to feed the soil. Often, these extra fillers include whatever happens to be brewing in our compost bin: our garden and kitchen doesn't generate enough compostable material (and not in that perfect ratio) to ever yield a crumbly "black gold" compost ("black stringy mess" is a better description), so I usually find ways to bury the material where its nutrients and organic matter can improve the soil, but where its appearance and fragrance won't distract from garden enjoyment. These big projects are just the ticket, and so it was earlier this year: everything in the compost bin went straight into the hole. Gone forever! Or so I thought. Imagine my surprise when, many weeks later, a potato plant pops up in the corner of the border where I dumped the compost. That baby grew upwards quite a bit to find light! Once it did, it wasted no time sending out exuberant foliage, somewhat infringing on the space of neighboring Salvia uliginosa and Lemon strawflower. I admire its can-do attitude, and wonder about its ability to provide for our family, so I'm planning to leave this sturdy solanum in place. Potato gardening in Texas, a new venture!

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Last modified: September 09, 2009
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