Getting our Hands Dirty

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”.
-Margaret Atwood

Last Saturday morning, 3 cubic yards of triple-mix were delivered to our driveway. I’ve never really thought about what 3 cubic yards of anything looked like, but here it is:

Isn’t it glorious? I never thought I would get so excited about dirt! Moist, rich, black-brown triple-mix – a nutritious combination of topsoil, compost and peat moss. Mmmm!
Because our backyard is mostly rocks, roots, and clay, we decided to bring in our own soil in instead of fighting the existing soil conditions. As it turns out, triple-mix can be expensive to buy and have delivered. If we didn’t receive a generous discount on our soil from a friend, we may have tried to make the soil that’s already there work. Some companies charge $100 to deliver only 1 cubic yard! I found this nifty calculator to estimate the amount of soil we needed for our garden. We used about 3/4 of our soil for the beds and have a large pile left for the containers I plan to have on our back deck for tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc. We left some space in each bed to work in compost which will help add more nutrients to the soil – that’s this weekend’s project.

We put the final touches on our raised beds by pounding two pine stakes into the ground on either side of the bed to hold things together. We then used the reciprocating saw to cut the banged-up end of the stake off so it was level with the sides. Really, we should have done this before we added the soil, but we got the same result.

Dave pounded the stake into the ground with a hammer while I held it tight against the side.

Dave pounded the stake into the ground with a hammer while I held it tight against the side. We removed some of our patio stones in order to make room for this bed.

We didn't need the full length of the stake in the ground for support, so I used the reciprocating saw to cut it flush with the side.

It’s my first time using the reciprocating saw – can you tell? (Also, ignore my example and always wear safety glasses)

This looks easier than it was, I promise you.

This looks easier than it was, I promise you.

As you can see, we’re ignoring rule #1 about beginner vegetable gardening, which is START SMALL.
I am optimistic.
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