Gardening Series #9 Footpaths in the Garden
I don’t make raised beds. Although a very popular method of gardening and one I keep promising to try, instead I find that I stick to what I know, to what I was taught. I have the garden rototilled into fluffy smoothness and then I create foot paths in the garden by walking in the newly turned soil. I purposely step in a somewhat straight line across its length making my footprints into a packed pathway. To be more precise, one can use a stick and string to mark a line first to ensure its linear straightness. Some years I do that and other years I am a meandering free spirit. Whichever my mood that year, walking back and forth a few times forms a well trodden path and leaves a wide bed fluffy and tilled awaiting my seedlings.
Once beds are created, seedlings are ready for transplanting, well, assuming its above 50 degrees at night and that might be July if you live in Zone 3. (beware of tones of sarcasm) Step only on the footpaths in the garden and avoid stepping onto the beds.
My footpaths are really the opposite of raised beds. Instead of raising a bed up, I press a footpath down, leaving lovely beds for my seedlings. I leave some beds wider then others, depending what I want to grow in there. And also depending on how creative I plan to become throughout the season. (again there is a gardeners mood thing here) Once beds and pathways are created, It’s time to transplant seedlings. Make a hole, plant the seedling and water. They will stop growing at first while they recover from the big move. once they do, they will soar into large plants.
I have to say, to those that love gardening, and I do mean love with a passion, there is something lovely about walking in the newly turned soil creating a path with my bare feet that marries me to the process. Feeling the warm soil and watching the path take shape is my ceremonious introduction to the years garden.
I will follow these paths for a summertime as plants of all sorts grow around them. And when the summer ends and the plants give fruit and pass away. Everything will die back and once again I will be left with me, the soil and the foot paths that took shape in the spring.