This past summer wasn't a big one for gardening. We had an unexpected amount of work to do at the theater, creating the pre-Broadway production of No Man's Land, with Ian McKellen and Parick Stewart. I may not have tended my vegetables, but I really can't complain.
Over the past two weekends, I cleared out all the plants that were past their prime, and started the daunting task of loosening up our rock-like soil in preparation for whatever winter crops I might plant.
While the soil tests we had done when we first moved in assure us that we have great mineral content, our dirt might as well be made of cement. It has terrible texture, no doubt because our neighborhood is built on an earthed-over stream-bed. My soil is pure silt.
The strange thing is that no matter how much organic material I dig in, the texture remains the same. Dense, and rock-hard. We compost like maniacs, I collect rabbit manure, I mulch everywhere. And as far as I can tell, this stuff just de-materializes.
Or maybe not. If I dig a foot down, there's a powdery layer of what I assume is some kind of fungus. Is that the remnants of the countless cubic yards of organic material that I've dug into my soil? I like to think it is.
In addition to digging past the point of exhaustion, Robb and I re-configured the garden fencing. Robb clever built the fence as a totally modular structure. I wanted to exclude the chickens from more of the crop-growing part of the garden. Our feathery dinosaurs have two favorite activities: eating every plant in sight, and digging massive holes. Neither of which are particularly helpful to our home vegetable garden.
We expanded the garden, back toward the World's Ugliest Fence. And shortened it on the side by the hen-house. We figure that the Saint Catherine's Lace probably doesn't need protection from chickens.
Non-Californians will be amazed by the size of our rosemary bush, which we bought three or four years ago in a four-inch pot. Those things get to be as large as automobiles, around here. Strangely, the chickens don't show any interest in eating rosemary, though they love to dig underneath the bush.
The girls are still molting. Isabella (white and grey) looks especially goofy, with just two long tail feathers poking out of her backside. Anne Elliott (seated) is the only hen who is laying any eggs. We got two eggs from our four hens last week.
Two eggs. Yeah, there's not much food being produced around here, these days.
If you're interested at seeing what other gardeners are doing, mosey on over to Daphne's blog, for her weekly round-up.