I was so excited to get to visit St. Mary's College of California for a gardening workshop this weekend. My girlfriend kept making me jealous with all the wonderful things she was learning in her Permaculture Class, A Curious Gladness. Her teacher, Genine Lentine is a published author and organic gardening superstar and poet, so I knew I was in capable hands, but it exceeded my expectations...
I love gardening, there is something magical about planting a seed and watching it grow into food or a beautiful flower. It really lightens my spirit and makes me feel more grounded to have my feet in the earth...but I also have a bad habit of killing plants, which is really easy to do in Texas, so any tips are always welcome. I love the concept of using found items from your yard to feed the garden, and working with, rather than against nature to create a thoughtful ecosystem. Lord knows, we all have unwanted branches, decomposing leaves and plenty of things that could be composted rather than thrown away in our yards. And if you don't, your friends do!
I find many similarities to gardening and skincare. Water and nutrients are extremely important to your skins overall health, but sometimes the problem runs deeper and it takes more time and careful observation to come up with a solution that works. I am excited to share this simple approach to building a garden using a Hügelkultur bed (my interpretation is a hole filled with wood and other things that compost into a happy environment for your plants)
Step 1...Dig a hole and fill it with wood, then add more wood
The wood acts as a sponge, which helps with water retention and feeds the soil as it decomposes as it would in the forest.
Step 2...Find more things to throw in the hole
Worm Composting is a great way to make a beautiful, nutrient rich soil out of unwanted leftover food, paper and leaves
Add broken down leaves, weeds, grass compost, worm castings, soil, mulch and plants...pretty much in that order.
Did you know fava beans were nitrogen fixers?
I loved the teacher's idea to throw away old love letters or papers that mean something to you.
Plant ground cover...These seeds will get the soil going and can be turned into the soil later if they are not needed in the garden. I learned that certain plants, like fava beans, are nitrogen fixers. I can't wait to see if they grow in Texas!
Next weekend, I'll see if I can recreate this beautiful bed for myself. Thank you for a wonderful and educational experience St Mary's! Wish me luck!