Welcome to science. these posts explore the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Summer typically is a slow season for me but with Covid, I was a little overwhelmed with the future. Should I stay in Brooklyn? Will it be safe? What would I do? Where would I go if I decided to move? Should I keep my studio? How should I plan? Eventually I came up with a plan. And I also felt comfortable enough to read a few books. Well, ok, maybe 20 books.
One of the books I read was 'The hidden life of Trees' by Peter Wohlleben. He talked about forests, and the root system of trees and how they are all interconnected with fungi. It's a symbiotic relationship with the trees and helps them communicate and thrive as a unified forest.
Another book I read was called 'Dirt' by William Logan. There were tons of amazing true facts about the ecological past, present and future of dirt. And one of my most recent books I've read was called 'The One Straw Revolution' by Masanobu Fukuoka. I was inspired by all three books but what I really liked about Fukuoka was his mix of practical knowledge and personal philosophy. He didn't claim to be Christian, Taoist, or Buddhist. He just had a pragmatic view of the world; it worked for him.
Fukuoka inspired me to do an experiment. With winter approaching, I decided to sow my neighborhood and an empty lot first with white clover seed and in two weeks, I will sow the empty lot with oat and rye seed. I'm also scouting the neighborhood to see where else I can grow these plants.
To say that I live in an urban area would be an understatement. It's pretty dense where I live. The last census pegged my neighborhood at about 60,000 people per square mile. But, there is still opportunity for nature here in the unlikeliest of places. You just have to be creative.
Typically, farmers plant clover in early October in their fields with winter crops. Clover can grow in an array of different soil subtypes, including poor soil. It has a deep root structure and can out-compete most other weeds. It does fine in drought conditions, and in the summer, it attracts beneficial insects (like bees!). To be fair, just because you have clover in your neighborhood doesn't necessarily mean you'll have bees. You have to have lots vegetation and biodiversity in the area. With Prospect Park just down the street, it's possible that we will see some bees next spring.
I'll continue to sow white clover seed next week and then a week after I'll add the other seeds to the empty lot. I will use my scythe to chop down the weeds (also known as 'chop and drop') and use the 'waste' as mulch to provide nutrients to the soil and added protection to the seeds from birds and other small animals.
I will continue to scout for new locations throughout the neighborhood – and will update progress on my blog. For now, Iet's see what happens.