Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Kitchen Garden: DIRT!

O luscious wonderful humus! What promises you hold for beauty and sustenance. Come gather under my fingernails and let me squish you beneath my kneecaps.

The garden beds are filled. Bob the Landscaper arrived promptly with a truckload and trailer full of topsoil and mushroom compost. More than my eyes could believe! It was Christmas, sigh.

The minute I saw it I knew it would fill our two beds easily. Well, not so easily. It was us three shovelers and two good hours of digging and tossing and raking. But worth the effort and for a good price too.

Bob and Dave lay down a tarp to keep the soil off the driveway, mostly. Then they dumped the overflow onto the beds.

It doesn't look all that deep from these photos, but the beds were scraped down to the clay base and then filled to 12-18" deep with soil. Later in the day Dave built some short walls from landscape timbers to hold in the soil on each side of the sidewalk. My hero.

We also laid concrete blocks in front of the existing planters, so that we could get in there without compacting the bigger beds. I did the one in the center picture before the dirt was delivered. The one with all the leaves is the second bed. The leaves were packed into the area in front of the daffodils and had to be dug out to fit in the concrete blocks. That was really difficult, hard work. We live and learn.

Afterwards we had a hot soak and a long nap. We are both aching everywhere today, but happy, so happy.

A word about the ducks: They have been gone since Christmas. First the female disappeared and then two days later the male was gone. Dave found some duck feathers out in the woods and we assume Mr. Fox or Mr. Coyote were the culprits. I didn't make a fuss about this event, because it was at the time my sister and niece were visiting and we were overloaded with happiness at just being together. I never really got attached to the ducks, so altho it was disappointing, it was also sorta 'not meant to be'.

The chickens are penned and don't roam and therefore are happy and safe.


  1. the coyote population has increased so much that it now appears there have been some spotted in Central Park in NY. We are plagued by raccoons which are hard to hate. They so look like bandits when they are caught. Ours have taken to pulling out the drip tray under the Weber grill-lick it clean and almost push it back into place.they don't realize that their paws are covered with fat and they leave a trail across the porch. Nice work, Sherlock!

  2. Liz in IN8:44 AM

    Totally understand the excitement of compost/topsoil/DIRT! My dh & I created a new enormous garden out back last fall, and now we're contemplating how to fill it with beautiful things!

    If you have a few good-size flat rocks left over, you could place them stratigically toward the middle of the new garden beds. I use these as 'landing' spots, to work the middle of large gardens from the middle, not the edge. It reduces stretching/back/neck issues and random compaction of the soil with my clumsy feets! So decorative, too.


  3. Ohhh - looks wonderful! Can't wait to see it bursting with flowers and green!

  4. Mel, would you mind sharing the name and contact info for your "dirt" supplier? Is he anywhere near Soddy Daisy? We just bought a house there and really need some reasonable, high quality soil!


  5. Very dirty blogging...

  6. Well, I have always found it difficult to get attached to ducks. We had some (mis)adventures with some Muscovy ducks many years ago and it colored my view of ducks permanently....


  7. You guys have been working hard. It looks wonderful and will look even more so once things are blooming and greening!!!

  8. Green with ENVY!!!

    My dirt is still frozen and covered with snow and ice. I did start some pots of seeds today. We can't plant till June. Sob!

    I am in the process of renovating the beds I installed in 1992-3. Pulling everything OUT and planting new. It's just easier to get rid of it all, or pull it out and replant it later than to try and weed around established plants.

    I never liked ducks. All they do is eat and s**t.

    Loved the pictures of the dream pond.

  9. Oh, I really love new good quality soil. Just a thought, the mushroom compost we get here is full of lime so it means the acid loving stuff won't grow (or grow well)
    I wondered how all our local ducks survived our huge population of urban foxes, then I realised they go onto islands. I think foxes might just swim if they were really really desperate but not in the normal way of things.


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