Including my scintillating commentary on such things as why this is a good year to establish sunflowers and a possible slug deterrent.
We started planting in 2020. We spent all of 2019 observing the yard without touching a thing. Here’s some commentary on 2020:
If you grow a yard like this, I think you will fall in love. Spending hours and hours watching the land, interacting with it, and seeing what happens as a result connects you very closely with it. You may never want to leave it, and you might find yourself thinking about it all the time. (See full post below for progress photos)
Just a few photos. This squash is our favorite thing in the yard right now. We think it's a Trompetta di Albenga but we're not entirely sure because we don't keep great records of where we put things.
I’m not super pleased with the front yard; I tried to plant an annual flower/herb meadow as a temporary thing before installing perennials. Some things have come up and I’m delighted by them, but I was hoping for more. It’s probably mostly due to inadequate watering; I was out there twice a day but seeds really need a lot of love and maybe they needed a third watering. Also, we realized that there was something wrong with the compost we ordered from Grillo. Even weeds won’t grow in it, so getting desirable plants to grow requires a lot of coddling. Online reviews that other people left confirmed that this year’s batch of compost from Grillo was a dud. The pH is balanced, but it’s somehow devoid of nutrients. We will plant cover crops in it to try and revive it.
I think we also have too many stray wood chips still on the soil, and tree roots in front are intense. Those combined with the poor compost likely made it hard for anything to grow.
Here’s the moral of this story and the most important lesson I’ve taken away from this: your existing soil is fine. Things are growing happily where we planted them in our natural soil and struggling in places where we attempted to amend it. So, yes, there’s a history of pesticide use and mild lead and arsenic in the soil, but it is perfectly capable of growing things without any amendments at all.
Have confidence in your soil.