Phase I Soils Are In
“It’s good to think big,” a nice man who worked on the church grounds said to me as I mixed and threw two yards for the first potato box. That’s what she said, I said to myself wearily as I hacked chicken manure into Valley clay with a hoe in a wheel. I had five magnificent garden boxes, yes, but had blithely accepted the fact they represented seven yards of soil to mix and throw.
This was never going to work, we agreed, I just could not excavate huge holes on the church lot for what was needed. A local gardening supply company was called and next day five yards of one of their cherry soil mixes was dumped on the church lot, I wheeled and threw five yards last Friday, seven yards of excellent soils are now in the first five Phase I boxes, soils tilled and conditioned at base, too.
I should be thrilled, this is a good accomplishment milestone, but unexpectedly Phase II funds have been secured, the call will go out today for building six more boxes for nine more yards to throw before Spring. That gives me 20 days to build, condition base, throw soils, and complete the irrigation evolution, there is a long, long way to go.
I read Michael Poulan’s In Defense of Food yesterday where he noted the industrial dis-connect between the labor of real food and the consumer in America, but I sure as hell know it now, dern it all I am bruised and sore still. God damn it, I was in good shape, too, this is simply wrong.
Then it’s ordering potato seed and planting, along with making sure the aphids don’t ruin the legacy rose garden, currently in resplendent shape with 32 canes. Finally, around 45 days from now, about 250 potato plants will be on their way, and I’m still totally lost on what varieties to plant. I can’t plant them forever, either, I still have to find a rotating plant to get in there that will work for the food bank.
I’m very fortunate things have worked out so well in this rather tucked-away space, it’s a big project I really didn’t communicate the scope of to the church, hell, the hosers told me I could do whatever I wanted, right? The super bigwig warden chatted with me for 20 minutes Friday, happy and pushing money at me. I wasn’t truly aware the imprint potato boxes could have in our tiny church community, one I’ve been very aloof of, and I’m profoundly grateful for their acceptance.
A general cleanup evolution needs to be performed, too, the work is very clean, of course, but there are weeds and volunteers still, piles of old scrap and green waste to heave. Once that’s done I will take some pictures, I promise.
That will be a happy evolution, no doubt, and although my excitement is tempered by brutal forthcoming labor the primary reason for the potato boxes saddens me a little more this morning. I am on the right path doing good things, yes, but I never expected to be at this stage in my life frantically doing everything I can just so that for a few moments, maybe just enough to sustain a critical window in one person’s life, an American can have something to eat.
We are so in for it there’s no way to write it. I just hope to sweet baby Jesus we finally learn as we go through it this country was built for the little people, they are the indispensable base to everything we attempt and accomplish, and that we will never be anything as a country if we are ever so stupid and cruel to ignore our American people again.
The last thing on my mind this day before I move on was an email I received the very first or second day of the administration’s term from Michelle Obama, calling Americans into whatever service they could perform, working at a soup kitchen, serving at a shelter, taking care of a church garden…right, I said to myself, like I’d ever get the chance to take care of that holy garden at St. Jude’s. Well, it turns out I did get my chance, First Lady Obama.
Yes ma’am. If there’s anything more we should be doing to deal with what’s coming, please let us know right away. That answer’s always the same, ma’am, every time.