Thursday, April 19, 2012

In My Defense

Using pond muck as a growing medium is not an original idea.  John Burroughs drained a swampy area near his cabin in the woods, Slabsides, to grow celery.  A personal visit to this historic site allowed me to see both the cabin and the celery patch.

Orange County, New York may still be the largest onion growing area in the country despite its nearness to New York City.  The basin of a shallow glacial lake filled with organic debris that became deep black soil.  A personal visit to this area provided me with a close look at this soil born of muck.

I have a woodland pond and it is filled with muck.  Moving some of this muck to the garden bed scheduled to grow this year's onions seemed like a good idea.

Once before I tried to add muck to the garden soil.  Wet muck baked to hard bricks as it dried in the sun.  Repeated cultivating with the stone fork only partially mixed soil and muck.  This year I thought a slurry of pond mud might mix with the soil.  The outcome is not clear but it looks like a big mess.  The onion plants are due here any day but now this area is not ready for planting.  I cannot imagine that the stone fork will improve the situation but it is ready for action tomorrow.

There is no defense for potting up this Easter Lily.  I found it growing in the bed that I was clearing for onions.  It was missed when the lilies were potted up last fall.  With four pots of Easter Lilies growing and flowering in the bedroom and four more pots in the sod house another plant is extreme excess.  Still the bulb was as large as a golf ball and I simply could not throw it away.  What to do with excess plants may well be our greatest problem with growing perennials.  I have no idea where I am going to plant out nine pots of Easter Lilies.  Perhaps they would like a shot at growing in my muck mess.

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