Trying to encourage more life in the garden after neglect left the soil compacted and abuse left it depleted. On a budget this means no fancy raised beds, rototilling, drip irrigating, using “soil amenders,” or those cool rotating composters. Instead it’s been the harder double digging of the soil and the re-purposing of found materials.
As it turns out, using the plastic bins we moved some stuff in for composting is perfect. We drilled some holes, placed in the shade, and the compost is easier for me to maintain and turn when I am feeling weaker. Two containers are plenty for us to rotate and turn in our coffee grounds, veggie tips, banana skins, tea bags, and melon rinds.
Our efforts at making the home welcoming to life are showing— with birds, butterflies, ladybugs, sprouts, and spiders making themselves comfy. And now our first little Chimayo chilis are showing themselves, and sending a scent you can smell from 2 feet away.
I am thinking so much these days of my auntie Bell (Isabel, but my big sister couldn’t say her name, so she became Bell for every niece and nephew). Auntie Bell built little rock gardens and collected flagstone near the river to build pathways and plant flowers in the rocky silt of Jemez. Under the pinon and juniper were her collections of plants in coffee cans and halved milk jugs. She used her kids’ red wagon, which they’d long grown out of, to move rocks up the steep hill and to plant cuttings around her travel trailer, in which she raised 3 kids. With every rock I move I love my auntie Bell more.