Saint Phocas Garden at Saint Titus is a shared project with Saint Luke’s, and part of the Good News Gardens Movement of the Episcopal Church. If you would like to receive their newsletters and/or start a Good News Garden of your own at home or with others, please visit the Good News Gardens website (linked above) for more information.
As we have entered into fall proper over the last month, things have definitely changed in the garden. When last I wrote, we were discussing how to improve soil fertility in the garden because we had a disappointing harvest this year. Since September we have taken a number of steps to improve our fertility.
We have installed yarrow and comfrey along the fence line so that we can chop it up and use it as mulch once it is firmly established. Between the two types of plant, they pull nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the air and ground and store it in their leaves so they are a great source of nutrition for our garden plants. They also have pretty flowers and attract pollinators.
We have installed a bird feeder and bird bath under the willow oak. The birds are definitely visiting though we never get to see them. We know that they are coming because the feeder empties between visits and it is squirrel proof.
We have started digging small trenches around all of the beds to catch water and help keep the tree roots out.
We have added blood meal, water and compost starter to our compost pile and the additions are definitely speeding up the breaking down process. The fresh soil that is being formed looks lovely.
As to our harvests, we continue to collect a few tomatoes and peppers and a handful of green beans at every visit. The week after Hurricane Ian came through, we also had a pint of fresh shiitake mushrooms! Heavy rain events will often waken sleeping mushroom logs. It was lovely to see those velvety brown caps peeking out of the logs at last.
The Good News Gardeners meet at Saint Titus church, 400 Moline St. Durham, NC every Friday at 4:00 PM until the weather gets truly cold. If you are interested in joining us, please call or text Mary Beth at 919-224-9697 to confirm that we will be there, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask to get on the email list. We would love to have you join us!