Running a bit behind as it has been a busy couple weeks here at the LocalRootz Homestead! Lots of Spring projects to update the blog with and other fun explorations are underway. So many preparations and investigations are happening seemingly around the clock as the land inhales and exhales. Sometimes the best way to focus and calm the mind is with methodical tasks like splitting wood with my newly acquired Gransfors Bruk splitting maul (seen above) or simply spending a couple hours moving mulch and compost shovel by shovel, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow.
In these moments of methodical transcendence I notice the little connections happening throughout the landscape and pay close attention that we are helping weave these connections into a stronger ecological bond rather than breaking them down and splitting these integral connections apart. In science there is a word for this symbiotic relationship happening throughout the forest, it is know as mycorrhizae.
Mycorrhizae is the symbiotic relationship between fungus and plants. Its uses these connections to balance and harmonize the nutrients of the decomposing forest to make them more bioavailable to the plants on our landscape. Many urban/suburban yards are completely void of these networks as the forest that once inhabited the neighborhood has long been clearcut, the soil has been bulldozed and then filled with "clean fill" of nutrient empty dirt to grow their green lawn and ornamental shrubs.
At our homestead we are lucky to still be surrounded by a diversified forest made up of maple, oaks, hemlock, pine, birch, beech and a few others. We strive to always keep a balance between our growing area and the surrounding forest and are constantly researching, observing and weighing the needs of our homestead with the needs of the environment that we inhabit.
Creating a closed loop is a good way of keeping that balance in check. When we inevitably had to take a few trees from our landscape that posed some safety risks to our home we chose to keep the wood on our land. Some of the wood we are using for firewood, some we used to make raised beds, some we inoculated with mushroom spores and are currently growing mushrooms in, and the rest of the twigs and branches got chipped and mulched into a giant pile that I occasionally incorporate into the compost and have been letting the pile age for just under 2 years.
While it is just the end of April here in Maine the temps are still a bit on the chilly side to be putting any annual plants in the ground, so our garden focus is on amending the beds and building trellising as well as absorbing the signs of a new growing season as we watch the perennials slowly creeping through the soil. Part of amending the beds is top dressing them with some fresh compost from last year. In the process of stirring the compost I noticed how fertile the woodchip pile was looking as well, and devised a plan to spread those chips over some of the perennial beds and other areas of the garden that could use a boost of that aforementioned mycorrhizae.
Happy blueberries soaking in their fresh top dressed chips!