Compost, Soil, Gardens

The delight of glorious soil. On Big Sur the soil is volcanic, the landscape looks like solid rock, but at Esalen the south-sloping fields right on the edge of the cliffs have a fine tilth which is almost impossibly fertile.

The ranch was acquired one hundred years ago, but for decades now has been a vegetable and flower garden providing three-quarters of the food for the community.

The compost heaps are amazing in themselves – long stacks under cardboard at the edges of the cliffs, sprouting opportunist potatoes. Everything is composted, and returned to the soil within twelve weeks.

Does it make a difference when a garden is loved? Here there are often flowers planted at the end of rows, or a left-over corner is exuberant with evening primrose or marigold.

Complementary planting is practiced, but the principle seems more quirky than that – a handsome plant I mistook for angelica was a four-foot high carrot gone to seed! An entire long row was a riot of sweet peas, planted to thank a benefactor.

Beds of dahlias bursting with health,

Himalayan poppies that escaped and tumbled down a cliff to the water, heavenly drifts of honeysuckle under bedroom windows.

Raised beds of scented-leaved geraniums, formal planting of succulents I have never seen before under the redwoods off the eating deck.
Long, dilapidated greenhouses full of seedlings.

Since I have been working each time I came, I haven’t yet volunteered to work in the gardens, but I know it would feed my soul. Next time?

About Tricia Rose

Not distracted by shiny objects.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Compost, Soil, Gardens

  1. fairmaiden says:


    Gardens are alot of work. I planted about 100 sunflower seeds this year and something ate every single sprout. We can not figure it out. Had to of been a critter, rather than snails or slugs. I would wake up to a row of sprouts and an hour later four would be gone. Strangest thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>