Since my last post about my Vermont garden, I have cleared the garden and have been enjoying its bounty and the lessons learned from my weeds and neglect. As I had mentioned in the previous post, the most important lesson I learned was making an attitude adjustment. Rather than approaching the weeds with resistance, I made peace with them as I made room for better things.
The Weeds Were as Tall as the Sunflowers
Weeding the garden was a very meditative process. I took off my shoes and connected totally with the earth as I gradually cleared the area. For several days I went out early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it wasn’t too hot and enjoyed being present with my weeds. When there was only one small section left, I found that I didn’t want to finish it. It was like reading a great book that you can’t put it down, but not wanting to get to the end. So I left some weeds for the next day.
Some Diamonds (AKA Kale) in the Rough
I also learned that if we are open to accepting our weeds unconditionally, we might uncover some hidden purpose. Aside from the weeds providing shelter for insects, birds and a neighborhood cat, their shadows provided the necessary shade to allow my unattended Swiss chard to survive the dry summer heat. It was not until I removed the weeds surrounding the chard that I realized this. Within hours, the Swiss chard was totally wilted and so very sad looking. I immediately watered it hoping it would survive, but even the next day it still looked kind of droopy. Lesson learned – even the weeds in our life serve a purpose.
Saving the Swiss Chard
So I went off to the Co-op to get some boxes and apply what I learned about no-till gardening in a course I attended earlier this summer at the Omega Institute in NY. In this wonderful weekend course, called Grow Food Everywhere, instructors Deb Habib and Ricky Baruc of Seeds of Solidarity – http://www.seedsofsolidarity.org/index.html guided us through a process that involves covering an area with cardboard, adding several inches of compost, planting the plants, and ending with a layer of straw or hay mulch. The beauty of this method is that the cardboard, hay and compost will enrich the soil, and help break down the weeds and grass that were growing underneath.
Swiss Chard Before and After Mulching
So I carefully arranged cardboard around the wilted chard, hosed it down thoroughly, and then layered on some mulch that I had instead of the straw. I didn’t need to add the compost because I had done that last year and the soil in the garden was still quite rich.
My chard is happy now. My garden is happy now. And I am happy now with my garden of weedin’.
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw veganchef,educator and health coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly – Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.
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