Good To Go and Grow
Good news for people who love good news: my uterus haz cleared!
The month of October has been quite hellish because the embryo I was carrying had died, but my body wasn’t expelling it. (How weirdly counter intuitive is that??) I felt sad in the initial days after learning about my missed miscarriage but quickly turned that sadness into anger, which I directed at myself and my body in the day time and then at Scott when he got back from the office in the evenings. Fun times, indeed.
I’d gone through a few unsuccessful rounds of Misoprostol and was a little worried that I’d have to undergo a D&C. But after several days of impatiently counting down to my followup appointment, no cramping or bleeding, and multiple transvaginal ultrasounds, my doctor informed me that my uterus looked good.
“A vanishing pregnancy!” we joked, though the official report went something like “minimal fluid with low level echoes noted in the endometrial cavity. Both ovaries are unremarkable.” As a true millennial subscribed to the belief that one is special and unique, I was slightly taken aback by my ovaries being described as 'unremarkable'. But walked out of the doctor’s feeling glad to be normal — for once in my life.
Wow. That was wildly detailed but I hope not to perpetuate the silence and taboo around miscarriages. Shit happens! Let’s talk about it.
I know I said ’tis the season to slow down but it feels like we have gone and done just the flipping opposite of that. Did you know that according to Ayurveda, fall is the season when the air element (vata dosha) increases in all of us? Our mind gets very active with ideas spinning a mile a minute. We feel like we want to do everything and be everywhere — just like the wind. Over the last few weeks, we have sowed lots of seeds, prepared two new growing areas, made nasi ulam for a meditation retreat and a birthday celebration, and held a couple of workshops at home.
Now, I wanna talk a little bit about preparing growing areas because we (Scott) have dug down so far and shifted so much earth I’ve no doubt our (his) workings can be seen from space. Lol JK. Actually, we are never really sure whether to till or not. Or rather, Scott is very pro till, while I am very no-till. Mainly because I have the upper body strength of a hamster and physically cannot till. Which might be the issue itself. If I can’t even get into the ground with a changkol, how does a plant?
We mostly follow the “no dig” gardening philosophy, though not strictly. There is certainly a time and place when things could use a lil fluffing. Particularly if you’re just getting started (like us!) and amending a new garden bed. Also, when an established bed seems overly compact and needs a fresh compost or aeration material worked in more deeply. (In lieu of tilling, the addition of worms can help to increase aeration naturally!)
But aside from that, like when it is time to remove old plants from the patch, we prefer to cut them down like a tree at the soil line or just below, rather than pulling up the whole plant by its roots.
When roots are removed and the soil is therefore disturbed, all of the beneficial microbial, fungal, and mycorrhizal associations that have formed are disrupted too! Soil is a living thing, after all. We have worked hard to create these networks of happy microbes by inoculating our soil with worm castings, worms, compost tea, mycorrhizae, and beneficial nematodes over the months. Think about a natural environment, like a forest floor. Is it manually tilled? No. The soil structure is left intact while the critters do their good work down there.
No-till farming reportedly increases soil biological diversity, fertility, resiliency, water retention, organic matter, and nutrient cycling. In contrast, tilling soil increases erosion and disrupts beneficial life underground. The roots left in place to decompose in a no-till system will break down over time, providing food and nutrients to the worms, microorganisms, and other detritus-eaters in the soil — which in turn feeds the plants. Pretty nifty, eh?
Once your soil is nice and fluffy, it’s time to top it off with amendments and a nice thick layer of compost. I’m not a big fan of store-bought fertiliser and compost because I don’t like being too dependent on corporations. In many ways, the undertones of this gardening project is really about trying to reclaim some power and get some sense of control in this crazy, crazy world.
We prefer to make and use our own compost but it’s not nearly enough, which is why we end up only ever harvesting like, 1 bean a day. (The joke’s ultimately on us!) But by all means, please go to the shop and find yourself a mild, slow-release, organic fertiliser such as kelp meal, alfalfa meal, crab meal, or neem seed meal. Your future crops will greatly appreciate it!
I hope you found this article useful and learned something new! Always feel free to reach out with tips, questions, feedback, or just to have a natter. Let us know what’s going on in your garden, or what types of fertilisers or compost you like to use! Thanks for tuning in, and happy planting!