Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Grow yer own dang biomass inadvertently

June 7, 2006

Kitchen garden, May 2006

Way back in January, and then again in March, and again in April and May, I had big plans for my kitchen garden. Big and neat. Knowing that I would have to return from Occitania to the Polar Circle for gainful employment, I alphabetized my seed beds and planted sticks for beans and gourds to climb up and a rack for what I hoped would be groves of tomato plants, dripping with 4 sorts of fat tomatoes. I made a shockingly Dutch-looking irrigation system, so that when it came time to water, my neighbour Sidi ElGouche, could throw open the sluices and let er rip. And Sidi ElGouche being the sweetheart that he is, was not shy about making sure that in my absence, my kitchen garden got a goodly amount of water.

When I returned to my garden on the 14th, I encountered a solid plot of homegrown biomass.

My kitchen garden after two months of neglect (July 2006).
In some places it is impossible to walk, the weeds are so thick. My garden neighbours welcomed me back with a pat on the back and sarky, Bon Courage! and I’ve set to work pulling weeds. Shocking and amazing, underneath all the tangle I am finding all of my plants. It turns out that the weed layer has kept the baby plants in suspended animation after they got to be about 20 cm high.

This is all very far from being a disaster (I keep asserting to myself), and although it looks dramatic, I keep telling myself that I wanted to increase the organic material in my soil and experiment with no-till agriculture anyway. Although I’m sure the practioners of no-till agriculture, a form of farming popularised by soil scientist Masanobu Fukuoka in which seeds are cast into undergrowth and the soil is disturbed as little as possible, would be quite critical of my take on his gardening method, in the long run it will probably take me a week to give ‘my weeds’ the home-court advantage. If I had been here the entire time I would have been fussing endlessly, so maybe this method is even more efficient in the long run. I do hope in the lower garden to find a squash plant or two.

Lower kitchen garden in May 2006

Lower kitchen garden, July 2006

Check it (ripped and edited from the Wikipedia article on Fukuoka):

Masanobu Fukuoka on the cover of a German-edition book, from Wikipedia, used entirely without permission

debra at 15:06 | | post to

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

culiblog is a registered trademark of Debra Solomon since 1995. Bla bla bla, sue yer ass. The content in this weblog is the intellectual property of the author and is licensed under a Creative Commons Deed (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5).