When we first took on our allotment I spent all the time I could cutting back and weeding. Clearing the soil. Digging it over. I was hell bent on chasing the root system of a particularly pernicious weed. I will find you!
On one level it was very satisfying; uncovering the slightly-raised beds that the previous occupant had installed and creating a blank canvas.
It was inherent. Lots of (back-breaking) spade work to show it who’s boss. Then start a four bed, four year rotation system. That’s how you garden, right?🤷🏻♀️
It’s how I’d done it in my 30’s.
I loved watching the plants grow but as the hot sun baked the bare soil around them, it was hard to keep up with the watering and feeding, I was constantly chasing the weeds and there were more beds to clear.
I was in my mid 40’s, had recently (finally!) become a mum, and was having an early menopause. An hour in the evening or a half day at the weekend was no longer feasible.
My enthusiasm waned. If I was going to do other stuff I loved in life, I couldn’t carry on like this.😓
There are times in life when you need to accept that the way you’re doing things is not sustainable. I call it ‘stopping the action’.
Why was I still tackling it like this, anyway? Yes, tackling as in struggle.🤦🏻♀️
I already knew differently. I’d observed through practice how there are times the soil is easy to work (around the full moon) and other times when it feels like it has a ‘keep out, leave me alone’ sign on it (around the new moon).
I’d experimented before with biodynamic gardening (in synch with the moon cycles) but with this new plot I was having difficulty putting it in to practice.
The wise guide (reminder?!) I needed was already sitting on our shelf back at home; had been for a number of years in fact! Charles Dowding’s book, Organic Gardening: The Natural No Dig Way.
In it, Dowding reminds us that the soil is a living organism. It wants to be balanced and alive.
Cover it with compost. Lots and lots of compost. A big thick layer of it. Give it the nutrients it needs.
Let nature do it’s work. Plus it’ll act like a mulch to reduce weeds too.
Plant in to that layer.
It’ll reward you with lovely plants.
No digging required! Less work!🤩
That’s what we’ve been doing in our garden and allotment for the last few years. We’re still learning and experimenting but there is more ease and lots of yummy green leaves to eat throughout the year.😋
Soil is recognised as the key to the planet’s future; it holds about a quarter of the world’s biodiversity and it holds the key to turning back the carbon clock and reversing CO2 accumulation.(1)
So in our own lives. It starts with us.
If you need permission to do less and focus on your ‘soil’, this is it!
These days, I plan (create!) my day by first writing down the few things that will feed my ‘soil’. The fundamentals that need to be in place. For me that’s meditation, spiritual reading, food, and time outside in nature.
When I do this, life feels easier and those pesky limiting beliefs (‘life weeds’!) have less of a hold.
It’s time to stop pushing and forcing and working so hard at getting our life (and gardens!) to look a certain way.
What would it look like to focus on your ‘soil’?
Try it and see.
You’re worth it…and you’ll be doing your bit for the planet too!🙌🌏
Let’s flourish together!
(1) You can read more about how soil is the key to the planet’s future here and here.
Arlene Francey Lyne
Coach, writer, mama, raving fan of Mother Earth.
Life a work in progress; like a garden, it’s never finished!
Sharing practical inspiration to help you tend to what matters💖
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