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.
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One Response to Compost, Soil, Gardens

  1. fairmaiden says:

    Breathtaking.

    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.

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