I got to the garden today. The sun and a blast of warmer air wasn’t the main motivating force oddly enough. I talked to two of my teachers yesterday about some upcoming events we’re planning for spring, a course with Gregoire Lamoureux of the Kootenay Permaculture Institute and a learning party with Dan Gibbs, now of Victoria, and got inspired.
Dan was describing the garden we started last November as part of a learning party. He said the mulch is nearly broken down and rich soil is waiting for the spring plant. I look out on my pile of leaves and well, they look like a pile of leaves. “The best fertilizer is the gardener’s footsteps.” In other words, be there.
I’ve been ignoring it. My greens haven’t really recovered after the last snowfall (though I think I’ll have some again by next week). There’s no food in my food garden so what’s the point? Well, it turns out the point is just to be there, to walk through it, to stop, look around, snip off some rosemary and chew it, trim a raspberry cane. It’s not so much work that’s required, or even possible right now, just presence and attention. There’s no magic garden without the gardener- and that’s fine for the wild but this place is about supporting me and my family and sharing the bounty. We’ve need regular bonding time and I need magic on my side. It is certainly not going to be my finely honed gardening skills that will feed us.
I took Dan’s suggestion and sprinkled some of the weed tea that’s been brewing in buckets all winter over the leaves. It was stinky so that’s good. If this is another kind of fermentation process than what I’m doing is mixing in a little microbial culture action to get things going. My weeds are my most bountiful and useful crop!
Dan’s going to sail from behind the tweed curtain and grace us in the big smoke with his presence on Saturday, March 9th. We’re going to practice dividing perennials, talk about using edibles in landscaping in the midst of other useful plants and share up the bounty of a perennial garden. Everyone will leave with a new plant or two.
Gregoire is going to come in April for a 2 day Intro to Permaculture/Urban Design course. It is looking hopeful that we’ll be able to have it out at the UBC farm and I hope we’ll have lots of Faculty of Land and Food Systems folks out for it. Gregoire has been doing this stuff for 20 plus years. For us this is a chance to start a conversation about permaculture in the curriculum. We’d like to see far more back and forth between the permaculturists on the ground designing, living in and supporting themselves using permaculture principals and the university.