Since we realised we didn’t need to own a car, even here in the countryside, on an island, we also saw that we didn’t need a driveway either, not really. An astounding expanse of the world is paved over for the needs of the car, and we’ve begun the process of reversing that brief but impactful history just on our own land.
This first section sat bare for a while once the asphalt was gone, unable to hold even a clover seed, recovering. From the duck house opposite I raked some rich deep litter, tipped out a barrowful, let the chickens spread it out, their favourite sort of project. Our dry winter and parched spring has given way to something of a damp summer, and growth finally appeared as the soil is covered and enriched. The earthworms are at work. Before a rainy day we sow a few clover seeds into the duff and watch what happens.
We’d like to see wildflowers all along the old driveway, insectary plants of all heights and blooming seasons. We’d like to see the soil deepen and hold water again.
Like the French market gardeners of the 18th century who left only a narrow footpath between intensively sown beds, not wide enough even for a wheelbarrow, but just so to allow a maraîcher with a backpack of compost to step along and tip it out, we can esteem our land for its capacity to grow plants.
In depending less on the automobile we are at liberty to transform parking spots into gardens, and those gardens can support life, particularly the insect life that supports the rest of us, in the soil, roots, stems, leaves, blossoms, seed pods, twigs, mulch, all year round. We’re going to need the support system in the face of this biosphere emergency and it is just wild for any opportunity to do its work.
Do you have a spot you could restore to living soil to grow more plants?