Today I had my first on-site garden visit in quite a while. The survey went well and it was lovely to see flowers still in bloom even though the temperature is plummeting (my fingers were freezing while I was measuring the garden plots and all I could think about was “Winter is coming”, yes as in the Game of Throne reference). I will be doing another garden visit tomorrow (because last friday’s survey was rescheduled to this week).The garden today was at a hospital where patients can participate in garden therapy and have their own little plot to manage is a very beautiful setting (see pictures).
The hospital is on a large piece of land and they thus produce large amounts of high-quality compost and rameal chipped wood from all the landscaping waste. Although only a small section is dedicated to the vegetable garden and 2 greenhouses (where they produce plants for the grounds but also herbs and poinsettias for sale to the public), the vegetable gardeners do have access to the compost produced by the larger landscaping endeavors. I think the most interesting part of the interview was hearing about how their idea of input management has changed over time. Over the years they have decided to “let the ecosystem work for them”. In other words they have stopped plowing every spring in order to let soil structure build from the addition of local compost and the rameal chipped wood and don’t add synthetic fertilizers to the vegetable gardens. They do manually loosen the soil a bit for planting and have noticed how many more earth worms and other biota have come to populate the plots and now “work for them”.