Saturday, November 21, 2020

Gardens and Art Intertwined: From Orchids to Monet

"You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive."
- Maya Angelou
Orchids at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Wwwwaaayyyyy back in January, which seems like ions ago, my Mom came out to visit me for a week (she lives in North Carolina now-a-days).  We had a list of all sorts of fun things we could do with no real agenda or itinerary, just possible ideas of things that we both thought would be fun to do complete with a list of restaurants we wanted to check out.  One of the things we both 100% wanted to do was to go to the Denver Art Museum to check out the limited time and sure to be extraordinary "Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature" exhibit.  The art museum had assembled 120 painting across Monet's entire career focusing on his relationship with nature.  My mom is certainly more artistic then I am (in the traditional sense) and everything she does always has quite an artistic touch to it.  I've never had the patience to learn how to draw, paint, sculpt, or anything of that nature despite the fact that when I actually sit down to do it I actually thoroughly enjoy it.  The one art form that I have put a lot of time and effort into is photography.  My Dad is a professional photographer so I grew up surrounded by it and I've always taken a liking to looking at things from your not so normal perspective, which as it turns out translates very well into photography and you don't even have to know how to draw, just point the camera and press the button!  To follow the tone of one of my previous posts, Tear Down Your Learning Barriers,  I know I could learn these other art forms if I wanted to.  I've just never actually put the time or effort into learning them, maybe one day I will and in my adult life I have slowly been putting more and more time into these sorts of things.  I do however very much enjoy looking at art and seeing what other people have put their time and energy into learning how to do.  My mom and I were equally as excited to check-out this Monet exhibit and we made sure to get tickets a few months ahead of time as it was sure to sell out and a lot of days had already sold out months in advance for this limited time only exhibit.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Tilling & Broadforking - Break that Dirt Up!

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

Freshly Tilled Ground
Freshly tilled and broadforked yard!

To till or not to till?  That is the question.

Some like to till, some like to broadfork, some like to do both, and some like to do none of the above.  I'm going to take a wild guess and say that you likely don't have the slightest idea what that means.  That is perfectly okay and expected, don't even worry about it!  These are just ways of breaking up the ground so the dirt isn't so compact which gives the future plants room to grow.  For now we're going to stay away from the debate of to disturb the ground or not to disturb the ground (it really is the question though).  If you are just starting out and converting a lawn (or very compact ground) into vegetables then tilling is inevitable.  There really aren't any ifs ands or buts about it, regardless of the debates around it.  Tilling is going to take the existing grass, turn it back into the soil, while also mixing up and aerating the dirt.  Then when you go over the same area with the broadfork, you are breaking up this soil even further giving roots of plants more room to grow.  Say you're going to move into a house but when you open the front door the house is jam packed with useless stuff and you can't move in.  Going nuts, clearing and cleaning that house is the same thing as tilling and broadforking.  Once you're done there's room to move-in and be comfortable.  It's out with the old and in with the new.  Tilling and broadforking is basically the first step in restarting and rejuvenating your yard, you're pressing the reset button and starting from scratch.  Once you have your vegetable garden established though do you really need to keep tilling and broadforking the soil?  THAT is exactly where the debate generally starts up and can turn into quite a heated conversation, depending on who you're talking to.