I don’t know why the thought of buying dirt never really entered our minds last year. We’ve got dirt…lots of it… in the yard and stuff. It supported plenty of wildflowers and weeds, so why not figure it was good enough to use and reuse? But once we really started preparing the grounds for the garden, it became readily apparent that our dirt just wasn’t going to cut it.
Though there was plenty of stuff growing in our dirt, it was hard for us to imagine actually planting anything in it. Clay-like, heavy, and compacted, it was extremely difficult to till. This led to another realization: in order to garden, we need tools. [SIGH}
We became extremely well-acquainted with both our local Home Depot and Lowe’s last year. We found Lowe’s to be slightly less expensive for quick gardening needs, and before too long, we had a small cache of (manual) gardening tools. [YAY!]
But back to the dirt…
It wasn’t until we installed our two raised beds that we really realized we needed extra dirt. Before we traveled up to the Lowe’s though, we looked online to get an idea of how money much we’d have to shell out for dirt. What, a couple bucks a bag maybe? It’s just dirt, right? WRONG! We’re talking $6-$10 for a cubic foot or more, depending of the type of soil. Oh, and the types…sooooo many different kinds of dirt! From plain ol’ topsoil to super organic, high-potency potting soil, the choices were, frankly, a bit much! Not being terribly skilled in the mastery of bagged soil, we ended up going with whatever was cheapest during a given week. And yes, every week we checked because for about a month, we were getting soil every weekend. And it was totally necessary! Not only did we use it in the beds, but we used it in the everywhere we could We mixed in it with our bad soil, which helped make it easier to till and plant in. We used it in transplanting pots. We used it in our planter boxes.
As much as we mixed and matched soil, we did eventually find our favorite: Miracle-Gro garden soil, preferably in the giant 2 cubic feet packages.
Frankly, it smelled awful out of the bag, but we found it to be the Goldilocks of soil – not too wet, not too dry, just right. (And we’re sticking with this soil this year. it’s great…but it still stinks.)
With the ground good to go, it was time to start planting, which we did in droves. Next week, I’ll come back to the present to talk about planting and what we’re doing this year to keep track of what we plant.