Sunday, May 16, 2010

Inch By Inch, Row By Row, Part II: In Which I Acquire Dirt

Oh, hi! Was I neglcting my blog? sorry, I didn't mean to. I've just been so busy. In my garden. Planting, and weeding, and watering, and generally being all farmer-y and whatnot.

How did it come to this pass, you might ask? How did a die-hard urbanite like me become a...gardener?

Well. When last we spoke, I was whining about dirt, and about the impasse that emerged when it became clear that I might need to suck it up and buy some. And that might have continued right up through planting season, had not a timely message come through on my synagogue listserv.

I get a lot of messages on my synagogue listserv. Mostly they're about rallies I can't go to, or political/spiritual debates I don't feel like joining. But this one jumped out at me, because the post-er was offering dirt! Free dirt! And she promised it was all organic and compost-rich and worm-casey and good! Someone had bought the land where her garden plot was, and was going to put a garage on it, and she didn't want all her soil to go to waste. All I had to do was reply, and come get it at the appointed time, and I could have all I wanted!

When I got to the garden the next Wednesday, it was so crowded I couldn't even find a parking spot. Gosh. I had no idea that dirt was so popular, though really I should've known if I'd thought about it. Not being entirely sure how I was going to contain or transport it, I'd brought a wheelbarrow, a shovel, a big tarp, our yard waste bin, and about 40 little plastic grocery bags. I shoveled a few shovelfuls of dirt into each bag, tied them closed, and put them on top of the tarp in the back of our van. As it turned out, I didn't need the yard waste bin at all. The bags were all snug and tidy piled up on each other in the van, sort of like the pellets of heroin that the heroine swallows in Maria Full of Grace. But much bigger. Like pellets that a huge heroin-smuggling giant would swallow. If dirt were heroin.

So. Then I had dirt!

By this point, I had weeded one section of my incipient garden patch--the section where RW had planced flowers the year before. The rest of it was so very, very weedy that I despaired. So I only had that one small patch of dirt on which to dump the new organic dirt.

But dirt does, in fact, take up space. So I had to shovel out some old dirt to make room for the new dirt. This I accomplished by putting the old, bad dirt into the wheelbarrow, and also dumping some on top of the weeds, and then emptying all the plastic bags into the cleared space in a big hill.

Already, gardening was turning out to be much more about logistics than I had bargained for. Also, my back was starting to hurt.