We really haven’t started cultivation in earnest yet. We are still watching the land for signs of what was planted before, or what grows here on its own. We don’t want to destroy something just because we didn’t know it was here. In the meantime we try to prepare as well as we can.
Our predecessors in this house weren’t as careful with the land as we would have liked. Their custom seems to have been to let the refuse of tree trimming, roofing, chimny bricks, whatever, go wherever it happened to fall and leave it there. We spent several days in the fall picking up litter and branches from the path below the hill. Five garbage bags of abandoned roofing material and other assorted discarded objects went off with the garbage collectors; the branches are still waiting in the piles I gathered them into.
There’s a small cluster of trees on a tiny twin mound behind the house. This, when we first saw it, was wild with pokeweed, blackberry brambles, fallen branches, and English ivy sneaking in at the bottom. This week we are hauling the branches out, trying to bring this bit of land under control. I will bundle the smaller branches that we gather from this area along with those from the piles I made in the fall and leave them by the street so city workers can truck them away for compost.
And then there’s the English ivy. Everywhere. Smothering everything.
Lisa has been pulling, digging, and chopping English ivy from around the yard most clear days since January. We started in the fall on the rubble wall behind the house, pulling vines out of bushes and trees. And this week Lisa has been ripping vines out of the sloping front yard to the right of the front door.
But the subject of this story is cultivating our garden, and that’s only just begun.
In March Lisa cleared most of the ivy away from the path that leads from our back door to the side street, at least enough to create a small plot for spinach and chard, and in the process liberated several clusters of daffodils from suffocation by ivy. And she cleared a similar small plot behind the back porch for lettuce and peas. Other seeds, still in their packets, await additional suitable plots. And Tuesday we bought rhubarb plants in anticipation of spring seasons to come.
As Candide said “we should cultivate our garden”.