Living in a Peat Bog

As I look out at the garden today I see big puddles of the rain that’s been coming down for the past few days and shows no signs of quitting. In fact it’s supposed to get stronger. This place is in the Piper’s Creek watershed and there are many places the creek pokes up thru the gardens of the neighbors but for this garden it just shows up when it rains too much and the water fills in areas. I’ve had to redo the whole north side of the garden with special plants like the swamp cypress and a creek dogwood to allow there to be plants that can not only withstand the water but actually thrive it it. I did  a lot of research before I replanted the ones that died before from the water build up. Plus there’s the neighbor’s overflow since they don’t have a gutter so it all comes down in this yard. Totally unfair, but what can ya do?

A Joke around the house is that once a piece of tin foil blew off the Bar b Que and flew into the garden and fell onto the peaty soil and within a few weeks there was a ten foot flagpole growing there! Just kidding but that’s about true because I’ve been amazed at how fast some of the plants I’ve put in have grown. Realize that this whole garden, except for the upper story and background plantings, is only 3 years old and I started with some small plants for the most part for the cost and because I’ve found that usually a 1 or 2 gallon plant will catch up with  a 5 gallon one in a few years. I’ve splurged on occasion for some special plants and gotten big ones but mostly they’ve been small and the peat provided such a rich medium for growth that they do well. I also believe strongly in mulching and I’ve used a fertile mulch from one of the local nurseries made from composted manure and sawdust that works so well it’s incredible. It absorbs the water and allows me to mound up areas with soil and mulch for a textured look to give some form and definition to the garden as a whole.

Once when a gate was being put in the hole that was dug hit water at 2 feet and tho this was in the spring it’s true it’s indicative of what it’s like here. A previous owner of the place once stuck a 20 foot piece of rebar into the ground by hand and drove it all the way in and never struck hardpan or bedrock. The neighbor had to put in equally deep footings to build their house and at one point a piece of earth moving equipment they were using tipped over and almost fell on this house and it took a couple of Big tow trucks to get it back safely on the ground. It’s funny tho because the neighbor across the street has clay and a totally different soil mix. So I guess the Peat flows in rivers or channels  thru the neighborhood and it’s just lucky that the garden here is in one of those channels. I haven’t yet found any evidence of previous inhabitants in the peat like they do in the UK in places, but  I wouldn’t be surprised I guess. Maybe someday I’ll unearth a treasure. Time will tell as we garden here in the Peat.

Peat and Love,

Steve

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