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Showing posts from August, 2010

To Till or Not to Till. That is the Question.

As summer ends, Fink Farm is covered in a mulch-like layer of used bunny straw, coffee grounds and heat-melted plants.  As we discuss fall plantings, a question looms unspoken: Do we dig holes for individual seedlings that we sprout outside the garden first or do we rip out the by-gone plants, prime the rototiller and grind, chop, rotate and mix it all into the soil.

Once upon a time, my philosophy would have been: if you have earth-moving equipment, use it.

But reading Amy Stewart's book, The Earth Moved; On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms, makes me unsure. For example, Stewart writes:

"Add up the number of earthworms and other soil-dwelling creatures like mites, springtails, ants, and spiders, and there may well be more living things in one of my four-by-four vegetable beds than there are humans in all of rural Humboldt County where I live.  Include the nematodes, and the population of one of those vegetable beds starts to rival that of the state of California . . …

Scattering Our Favorite Soil Amendment

Lately, we've returned to collecting and gathering our favorite soil amendment: used coffee grounds from Starbucks.

When we're consistent enough, Karen's whole backyard smells like a double expresso.  The cats appear to dislike that odor so they go else where to do their business.  It also appears to help keep pests away.