A few years ago we had a sorry square of earth next to the house that nothing grew in and the cats were using it as a toilet. Elena's grandfather was a professional gardener and gave her a huge number of gathered seeds that were unlabled and old. I added some new compost to the square and all the seeds and a drip irrigation hose. Thus was born the demonstration garden. Lots grew, little was identified with the exception of the radishes, after they bolted, and the hollyhocks when they burst into wevil covered bloom the second year. Inspired by this, I reclaimed another small barren cat claimed square of land on the backside of the house with zinnias, morning glories, california poppies and peppers (from a wind damaged ristra). Success again. I attribute the success to unrestrained application of seeds, some new improved soil and water. Not all the plants did well, but enough did to deter the cats. Now onto more complex demonstrations.
We have a wood stove that generates lots of ash. We have lots of mule deer/bear/racoon/fox/coyote leavings in the yard. We also have cat and window killed critters in the yard: mice, gophers, birds and snakes ( and airplanes). None of this stuff goes in a compost heap. But it does go into the demonstration compost heap. Which is under a 50 year old lilac bush in the back corner of the property. So the thinking is that the soil has never been improved there. Lilac bushes do well with alkaline soil, but you can easily over alkilize the soil with wood ash. Hence tempering it with poops, coffee grounds, leaves, dead things. I also threw in an old chile ristra (left over from demonstration garden two) to deter critters from digging into it, along with some cut flowers and other stuff I did not want to throw in the primary compost heap. So there you have it. Either I will kill the lilac bush, or it won't notice, or it will magically bloom prodigiously next year. I don't expect much success or failure, but hopefully the combo of all of the ingredients will cause none of the single ingredients to be that bad an idea. I will rake it out in the spring and see if deadthings and poops decompose. Presence of worms is unlikely but will be considered victory.
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