Back to the Monday morning mad rush of school run and a very necessary few hours in the office, but the garden is calling us. The season has smiled, finally, after several grim, damp days, with the joyful medley of flowers, lushness and sun.
We were out on the land most of the weekend, tending plants and hives, and trying to rig up a watering system for the potatoes, sown on to a strip in the olive grove behind the farmhouse that we left fallow for two years and then enriched with seasoned pony muck last autumn. There are pipes going in all directions and I’ve rolled out a redundant and pleasing to the eye wine barrel as a back-up water deposit, but the system isn’t working – yet.
You can never have enough compost, so we have made another bin out of old pallets from the dump. It’s market day tomorrow and Maggie has been negotiating for us to collect green waste when the stall holders pack up, which we will mix with grass cuttings from friends with a ride-on mower.
We have a brush cutter for the tractor, but there is no way to keep the greenery for compost save raking which, though tempting, would crease us. Besides, there are too many others tasks. So we have spoken to our neighbour and are supplying some natural honey comb to combat his hay fever in sensible exchange for several sacks of grass clippings. Ah, the age-old bounty of barter.
I have a couple of significant questions for you on the crunchy topic of real food.
Here at Mother’s Garden, as some of you might have twigged, we have never put any chemicals on the land in the nine years we have been ploughing our furrow here in the Priorat mountains, and are reasonably confident that it was untainted for at least a decade before that.
The challenge is to keep the soil happy and healthy, and our compost and pony poo wheel-barrowing works up to a point. Now we are looking deeply into a further source of goodness, natural minerals and nutrients.
Who has heard of, or indeed applies, rock dust to their garden? Have you read We Want Real Food, by Graham Harvey? This year we aim to use ground rock on part of vegetable patch, but the challenge is to find some.
Now we have discovered that the top farm terraces, populated by almond trees, are fundamentally ground granite. And from there comes our spring water, spouting into a water reservoir which has a two-inch squidge of silt on the bottom. This could well be a hey presto moment. What do you think? We will keep you posted, because we are on a mission. This is important. For all man’s meddling and the dire consequences, the answer might just be under our feet.