I've worked on a lot of projects since my last blog entry- several batches of compost have been chipped and turned, countless cartloads of weeds have been pulled, many beds have been prepped and planted, bees inspected, goats put to work, mulch has been spread everywhere it seems, and the garden seems to have been brought to a reasonable degree of order.
I've struggled with finding something to write about that defined a week's worth of work here- but after nearly six work weeks, the days start to blend together.
The seed is about as small as a round sprinkle you might find on a birthday cake- yet the brassicas we find in the garden can be taller than the gardeners, and have trunks that make them look like miniature palm trees. The other funny thing is that the seeds of the brassicas all look the same - hence the abundance of signage surrounding our new starts.
One of my interests in this internship was to learn more about permaculture- a food production design philosophy that relies heavily on observation. With six weeks of hands on experience in the garden, and plenty of reading and studying on the side, I feel like I'm starting to look at systems differently- focusing on more in depth observations.
Now a trip into the garden isn't just about going and harvesting a basket of something, or weeding here or there- it's about doing what needs to be done. Sometimes there is a very clear goal in mind, other times it's about just making an area better- whatever that may entail.
Outside of working in the garden itself, there is plenty to do to get plants in the ground. I had the chance to work with Helen on planting seeds and making little starter pots. We also did some direct seeding of beets. With the abundance of garden centers, one might think that plants come pre-potted, or that natural soil contains those little white pellets. It was a side of gardening that I hadn't experienced- and it is truly impressive how such a small seed can make such a huge plant. We started some brassicas- the family that includes kales, broccolis, and plenty of other greens.
For example, the defining thing about this week has been the heat - not too hot by less temperate standards, but enough to make this Seattleite start cooking. I feel more in tune with the pattern of sun and shade throughout the garden and find myself thinking more and more about how the plants are feeling- not in any metaphysical way, but in terms of their tolerance for exposure in the heat and cold. There is a truly drastic difference between full shade and full sun- especially during the summer months when we don't receive much precipitation. Placing your hand among the wet leaves of a well shaded plant is quite striking when compared to the dusty dry base of something growing in full sun.
I look forward to learning more in the garden and the community as the summer progresses! I also hope that we all don't get to sunburnt in the coming months!
Garden bloggers are community members, volunteers and interns at Songaia.