I just had the kids help me plant out the seedlings I talked about in yesterday's post. Then I had them write down what they did with the hopes that it would help them remember it. I thought I would write it down, too, so that you can remember it with me.
First, I am a believer in just getting things in the ground without creating an elaborate hole with compost and fertilizer. The thinking is that this encourages the plant to send out lots of roots to find nutrients, rather than just swirling around in the space you created with hyper nutrients and making itself rootbound from not wanting to leave the pot within the soil that you have essentially created. So for many bare root plants, I just open up a slit in the ground with the shovel, crumble some soil down around the roots so they are don't have air pockets, and then tamp the slit shut. It takes five seconds. For anything with soil on the roots, I do the same thing, but dig a hole instead of just opening up a slit, and I rough up the roots so they are more inclined to go out into the surrounding soil.
Before planting I take care to make sure the bare root plants don't dry out too much, and after planting I water everything in. I make sure to plant things without burying the stem of the plants and without leaving roots sticking up out of the ground. I try to make sure they will have the light they require, not shoving tree seedlings too close under the canopy of mature trees, and when necessary I use stake and string or rocks to keep from accidentally walking on the plants. I also try to plant them where I will naturally check up on them, next to existing paths , or where they will perform the function I intend, like a shade tree in exactly the right spot on the lawn. With plants that will grow big, it is important to envision them at mature size, which might change where you choose to position them. And for trees especially, envisioning them at full size helps you anticipate what they will shade and how that my change how you use a certain space.
That's it! It took us 25 minutes to plant 23 things. If I wasn't showing the kids how to do it, it would have taken me 15. It doesn't have to be complicated or take a lot of time.
My blog has evolved into a series of short essays on the nature of entrepreneurship, craftsmanship, and their overlap. If either of these topics is something you think about, you will probably like this.