A few weeks ago (yes, it’s been a while since I posted), Ron rototilled the garden in preparation for spring planting. It’s often hard to find three days in the spring where there is no rain, so he managed to time it just right.
We were able to get some compost from our remaining purchased, dump-truck load of compost into the garden. I hadn’t harvested the compost from our own pile(s) yet. In the ideal world, all of this year’s compost would have been plopped in the garden before rototilling, but, as we all know, there ain’t no such thing as an ideal world.
I went out in the garden soon after Ron rototilled and was struck how good the soil looked. It was particularly interesting because Ron had come to the same conclusion independently.
The soil was consistently dark, rich, crumbly, ideal for planting. Sure, there were some (more) rocks to take out, but the soil looked so good.
Every spring we do the same drill–add compost, rototill, take out rocks–but this year’s rototilling seemed to indicate a qualitative leap forward on the soil front. In other years, the soil looked pretty good, but it was never this dark, rich, and crumbly.
What I realized is that our long-term investment in the garden has begun to pay off. We established the garden in 2011 and first planted that summer. In other words, this will be the 5th year of the garden. For five years now we’ve added compost, rototilled, taken out rocks (oh so many rocks…). This is the second year we’ve added chickens into the mix: two years of chicken rototilling, adding poopy straw to our compost and also directly to the garden, and, well, chicken poop going directly into the garden as they wander around munching, scratching, and taking dust baths.
Thus, the garden has gradually been enriched from these various activities and now the soil looks really, really good. I can’t wait to plant.