|Â October 2009 ||www.bountea.comÂ Â |
|Â Dear Reader,|
The first Colorado snow this year was on the last day of summer.Â Then back into the high 70’s for a couple of weekends and now we are again deep into winter with 6″ of snow and freezing temperatures.Â Taking my own advice, I planted dozens of varieties of seeds in the greenhouse.Â The wildly fluctuating temperatures killed most of the seedlings.Â I replanted, but the next crop was nibbled by rodents.Â The latest round are doing well in seed trays inside but they look too tender to transplant.Â Still, I just put in a big bed of garlic.Â I know that those will do well.
As part of our commitment to helping the earth, I have initiated a project to bring our compost tea system to small farmers in developing countries.Â It will be called Feed the Soil to Feed the Earth; we are sending the project proposal to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.Â Buckminster Fuller was a great thinker, designer and spirit.Â His Challenge brings together a wide range of projects that have one thing in common: to bring positive change to the people of the world.Â I will keep you updated.
I believe October is a great time to take stock of your garden, to wander round and decide what you need to do. This months article is a little different; rather than suggesting what to do, it asks you to bring a simpler more contemplative attitude to what you experience in the garden.Â Let your garden speak to you of what it wants.Â Â Relax and enjoy.
October Garden Tasks
(October 15th — November 15th)
Mulch and more mulch: that is the theme for the month.Â Take a tip from the falling leaves and smother everything with as much organic mulch as you can gather.
Plant hardy cover crop of annual rye, white clover and/or alfalfa in the veggie bed to prevent erosion and add nitrogen for spring.
Fill a 15″ pot with soil and plant sugar snap peas with winter lettuce, arugula and cress.Â Put itÂ in a sunny place indoors or in a green house and harvest fresh salads in November.
|Take Stock of Your Garden|
Fall slows me down, makes me think about what I want to happen in the garden next year.Â Yes, there are necessary activities to complete, but these have to be balanced with a more contemplative attitude.Â Rather than the frantic activity of spring and summer, fall asks that we let time slow and expand.Sensing the Whole
At the fringe of winter we step back a little from major gardening projects, take stock of the year and ease into shortening days and quiet evenings.Â Wander around your garden and greenhouses every few days with no agenda.Â Even if you have a very small plot or growing
situation, it is good to take a tour and let impressions sink in deeply.Â Look at the plants as they get ready to seed or hibernate.Â Remember what grew where and how.Â The trick is to observe those things that tend to slip out of awareness because we have seen them so many times.Â Only when we really notice are we open to new insights.On some of your wanderings, carry a notebook and pencil to record your impressions.Â Avoid immediately creating a to-do list. That tends to act as a spur to action and get you immersed in the next project.Â The first intention is to sense the whole of your growing environment and allow new insights and ideas to arise spontaneously.Â It is also an opportunity to examine your normal practice and preconceptions.With a quiet and open mind, let the garden inform you of what it needs.Â Knowing your ecosystem from the inside out adds a new dimension to your skills.Â Plants communicate their wants and needs in the way they grow, in how they look.Â Their voices are not loud so we have to be quiet inside to hear what they say.Learning from Success and Failure
Gardening is full of surprises: this year my carrots failed to germinate but the cabbages were enormous.Â I have yet to work out what factors were involved.Â As you visit the various parts of the garden, make a note of what grows or grew there and how well it did.My memory needs quite a bit of prompting, so I often have to be in a particular place for images and information to come to mind.Â Standing near a bed, I remember the look and feel of the soil in early spring, the way plants germinated and seedlings sprouted.Â I recall the vagaries of weather and moisture and how the plants responded.Â Putting it all together, I make my intentions for the next season, a promise to be more skillful in my caring and cultivation.The To-Do List
Once you have filled your notebook with random jottings, you are ready to create your garden to-do list.Â After contemplating the whole, now focus on the parts.Â Personally, I strive for a balance of efficiency and ease.Â I get satisfaction from accomplishing what needs to be done, but an endless list is overwhelming.Â A garden should be a place of pleasure and beauty, not stress and exhaustion.
Organize your notes to highlight essential tasks but make sure these are interspersed with some that are pure enjoyment.Â I find that if I mix up my gardening activities, I actually have more energy for the heavier jobs.Â Clearing spent plants and putting them through the shredder is hard work, so I do it in stages and may plant a few seeds in the cleared bed at the same time.Â That way, I experience less burden and more satisfaction throughout the day.
My list acts as a container for loose thoughts and intentions.Â Having a written record seems to keep unfinished tasks from rattling around in my brain.Â Â I consult it now and then to be reminded but try to resist having it dictate what I should do.Â I believe every task has a right time and space.Â When I find where it fits best, it flows easily.Â Forcing a task makes it harder and more tiring.
With the days shortening, it is not the time to rush around.Â Fall is for contemplating.
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Care for your Plants — Care for your Soil — Care for our Earth
the Bountea way.
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