… why I can spend so much time and effort digging organic matter into the soil in my veg plot, fretting about nutrient balance and nitrogen deficiency and other things and end up with the same clay-clodden stone-ridden compacted soil as I started with, whereas two and a half years of not very effective weeding of my cobbles seems to have resulted in about an inch of wonderfully crumbly loam generated apparently out of thin air, albeit with the addition of much moss, rain, fallen leaves, weeds and undoubtedly swallow poo.
This summer’s project could roughly be summed up as ‘find the cobbles’ with a side order of ‘where’s the gravel drive gone?’ while we’re at it. While, logically, it would undoubtedly have been less work to have kept on top of the weeding before it got to this stage, I find that psychologically it’s actually easier to let something like this get completely out of hand and then turn restoring it back to the bare stone into a project. It’s just more satisfying to see a completely finished bit emerge from the weeds around it than to see a fairly weed free but not perfect expanse of cobbles every day. I know. It was the same when I worked in IT – who ever wanted to do maintenance? So much more fun to chuck it all out and write something shiny and new from scratch.
Ideally, I should now be carefully interplanting the gaps between the stones with a mixture of creeping thyme and chamomile that would keep the worst of the weeds at bay while producing a wonderfully fragrant carpet underfoot rather than letting it all go back to weeds again
I’ll leave it to you to guess which of these alternatives actually happens.
By the way, the little hole in the cobbles above is another mystery to me. I can’t tell if it was a natural formation in the stone or whether something might have caused it to wear a dent in just such a place. Any ideas?