A Day of Promise

By MaryAnn Fink

LIFE Exhibit/ Curator

Pollinator Junction

Today was a day of promise at the Museum of Transportation’s Pollinator Junction–my promise to the park to make her a haven and hers to me that she’ll do her best.

The park is showing some inkling of all that is happening or maybe not happening where most eyes can’t see!

The wild quinine, a favorite of small bees and bee mimics has started to flower. Also the first bee balm flowers braved a windy wet day to offer her nectar to the newly arrived ruby-throated hummingbirds! Too cloudy and misty for much pollinator activity, but great for singing birds and laughing children!

The annual beds are almost ready-third pitch and it’s a home run! It’s gone from flat gray mucky, gritty subsoil that was nearly dead and compacted to the point of airless, without any signs of insects, worms or aggregation to crumbly aerated soil with living and breathing activity.

Below I’ve outlined my “new bed” low air/water penetration process in this area with approximate time periods. This is a Spring bed prep management process only. I would do differently for other times of the year.

  • Week 1- Beds shaped and fork tilled to 4-6″ (first pitch) not raked smooth but followed with immediate top dressing of 4 inches of compost and mulch over the broken soil-falling into the air pockets and cracks. No worms but finally “rain ready”! Waited two weeks.
  •  Second pitch-Fork tilled, mixing top down. Mulch/compost under soil-the soil mostly now on top with lots of mulch poking out, just a partial mix process, again allowing for clumping. Eight worms noted-moisture level much better! Waited three weeks.
  • Third pitch-Fork tilled, dropping and breaking up biggest clumps to smaller, organics pretty much evenly mixed-26 worms and lots of crawlies. Moisture level evenly dispersed throughout, lightly raked and ready!