I don’t know about you but in a lot of cases, I’d rather borrow than buy. I’ve been borrowing everything I can get my hands on lately. Movies from my sister, a cool vintage wine jug from Jeni Maus for Maundy Thursday, and power tools from our generous friend Travis are among the treasures I’ve snapped up lately. I’m not rolling in dough over here, and although I just started working in a retail store, I’m a big advocate for borrowing rather than just consuming and accumulating. I’ve even looked into joining a bartering co-op just to feel like I’m sharing value, not just exchanging currency. I’d like to think this philosophy is based on a well-thought-out-worldview but I’ll admit that it stems mostly from the fact that I’m kind of cheap (to read more about how cheap I am, don’t miss the story of my adventure with a “free” apple tree).
Although it wasn’t originally motivated by my desires to borrow or live for free, Tim & I have recently been enjoying our fledgling little garden. We’re troubleshooting, watering, and practically daily measuring the growing height of our fifteen tomato plants (yes, I did say 15). Although we swore that we would only focus on one kind of plant this year, somehow we’ve also ended up with sweet peas (delicious smell but don’t eat them; they’re poisonous), watermelons, lettuce, and spinach. These plants supply me with daily chores and delights. I continue to surprise myself when I jump up and down with glee at the sight of a new flower or the joy of seeing the sweet peas finally climb up my homemade trellis.
All of this gardening has made us focus on our soil in new ways. We dug out our raised beds from last year, lined them with weed cloth, filled them up again with new compost, and crossed our fingers. For the most part this experiment has gone fairly well. It seems that the only tomatoes that aren’t going to make it are the ones I accidentally sprayed with Round-up (don’t ask). Most of the plants are healthy and happy. I’ll keep you posted as to whether we ever actually do get mouth-watering tomatoes out of the deal.
Our new-found soil fascination led us to a dramatic decision: to compost. After a few false starts, promises that I would build a compost bin, and lots of rotting fruit under our kitchen sink, we finally started the process of making black gold. I’ve read books, watered, turned my vegetables, and added every manner of plant material I could find. The big missing component, however, was more brown (apparently you’ve got to be a chemist to be a composter… carbon/nitrogen ratios actually matter). I solved the problem today by reusing in a way I never had before; I mulched the cherry blossom branches from our Easter celebration.
I never could have done this without the ability to borrow. Our friends Rick & Melanie (yes, the same R & M from the apple tree adventure) graciously allowed me to lug bags and bags of branches to their place to chip them up into little sawdusty bits of brown. This was accomplished with the help of their amazing, powerful, and invaluable super duper power chipper/mulcher. It is the sort of thing that I would never buy but am so glad to be able to use.
Thanks to Rick & Melanie, we are on our way to having rich beautiful soil to successfully cultivate more than mere tomatoes. Now that we’re expert composters and on our way to figuring out the whole growing thing, I bet we’ll be ready to start a farm stand by next year around this time. Maybe I’ll even barter with my nutrient-rich produce.
My composting beginnings