Weeks of rain with intermittent sun have left the garden unthinned, untrimmed, untamed and bursting with growth of all kinds. There was a time when we distinguished between weeds and vegetables – between what we did not want and what we did, between undesirable and desirable, between the bad guys and the good guys. Now we see that they’re all good guys. Some we will eat, some were intentionally planted to be composted, some are volunteers from the wild. All are welcome because all are food.
The weeds (volunteers from nature) will be cut down or pulled up and either laid down right on the beds as mulch or put into heaps. Either way they will become, in nature’s good time, compost. The compost crops will receive the same treatment. As they rot and break down all those nutrients go back to feed the soil from which they have drawn nutrients in order to grow. A sweet, complete cycle.
The veggies that will enliven the Monastery’s table usually need some trimming up before cooking. The damp trimmings go into the compost pile down the hill. Faithful monks will then turn them until they are soft, brown, crumbly and ready to go back to the garden. The harder, drier pieces go directly under the chunks of straw arranged all around the flower beds. The worms, the mini-critters, the microbes will take it from there.
It’s beautiful: Nothing is lost. Nothing is waste. A jungle is a gorgeous thing.