When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. When it gives you clay soil, you make compost — which may, in turn, reward you with an instant garden –just like this one, which sprung up all by itself at the entrance of our property!
A fun arrangement of butternut squash, tomatoes, and sunflowers sprouted and have made themselves right at home alongside a split-rail fence in our front yard, near the driveway. They are next-generation plants that germinated from the seeds of decomposing vegetables and flowers that were present in a trashcan full of unfinished compost that I tossed on the ground, there, last winter in hopes of amending the soil.
Every year, since I’ve begun composting, I’ve been rewarded with volunteer plants and gardens that never seem to surprise and delight me. Mostly, I find single cultivars that spring up in various places, like these potatoes (no doubt grown from a single peeling) that I found growing in the midst of a cabbage patch, and tomatoes, which I readily find popping up in assorted areas of the garden. Apparently, this is quite an anomaly, since, according to most garden sources, a properly functioning compost pile gets too hot to allow seeds to germinate, and its chemical composition is simply too rich for most plants to tolerate, instead poisoning and killing them. As the editor of Re-Nest Website puts it: “A few seeds may tough it out, but it’s unlikely you’ll end up with a pepper plant in your compost pile.” Well, I’ll admit that I haven’t yet seen a pepper plant in my compost pile, but my garden and these pictures prove that there are a multitude of plants that definately survive and even thrive in the stuff! So, I’ll keep adding potato peelings, ends of onions, rotting squashes, tomatoes, and spent flowers to the mound of compost that is growing in my back yard. I’m sure I’ll be pleasantly surprised, again, next year when I discover the lovely plants and gardens it grows, all by itself, for me.