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The dirt

May 13, 2011

We are embarking upon that time of year when it’s all garden talk around here. So gear up! Steel yourself. These are good times. We’ve been busy in the yard the past six weeks, between bouts of rain (and snow) and colder temps, preparing garden beds for planting.

There was that five cubic yards of dirt to put in. Just for the record, that is a lot of dirt. A bit too much. Ahem. But you know boys and dirt. You would think we poured Skittles on the driveway, those kids were so excited. We had many helpers shoveling, digging, raking, and wheelbarrowing.

Yet even though today is going to be a full 80 degrees, Minnesota natives keep telling me “Not so fast. Don’t put those plants out yet.” So we’ve been doing a lot of indoor planting.

After watching my tomato and pepper seedlings grow in very slow ways, I finally caved this week and bought a warming mat and grow light. Everyone seems much happier now. It was another reminder to me that gardening, at least at the outset, is a long term investment. I keep promising Seth, as the receipts for dirt, seeds, grow lights, wood, and tomato cages pile up, that this is going to save us so much money. Well, in like ten years.

Yet there is another way it saves us money. Some women shop for therapy, or drink lattes, or read romance novels. For me, therapy is sinking my hands into the dirt and watching miracles happen.

If you’re looking for some good gardening books, “The Garden Primer” by Barbara Damrosch is the most comprehensive. I also love “Carrots Love Tomatoes” by Louise Riotte which is all about companion planting. And if you want to sink your teeth into one of the greatest modern-day farming memoirs, I can’t say enough good things about “The Dirty Life” by Kristin Campbell.

Now go grab yourself some seeds and get planting.

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9 Comments
  1. Rachel permalink
    May 13, 2011 3:03 pm

    You’d be so proud of our little 4 x 4 square foot garden !!! Lance caresses it every evening and sings it sweet lullaby’s to encourage those little plants to grow. I’m now a believer…the tomato plants are almost as tall as Beth….and almost as round as me 🙂
    Now we just need to build a couple more.

    • May 15, 2011 9:54 pm

      Oh, I am proud! Can’t wait to hear how it goes. You’ll love winter gardening in Texas too. Homegrown spinach in February is a rare treat.

  2. Steve Florman permalink
    May 13, 2011 5:43 pm

    Never put the tomato plants in before Memorial Day. Seriously. Give it another couple of weeks. It could still freeze – I mean, almost 90 earlier this week but straining to break 60 today? Welcome to Minnesota!

    • May 15, 2011 9:55 pm

      Thanks Steve. I am resisting the temptation. Onions went in today, but I’ll keep those little tomatoes inside until June.

  3. Vivienne Lewis permalink
    May 13, 2011 7:24 pm

    It’s going to be fun to come to your place in June and see what’s sprouting!

  4. May 13, 2011 10:14 pm

    Oh my goodness, yes! I have spent so much money on the garden this year buying dirt, grow lights, seeds, heating mats, pots (I don’t have a lot of space in the ground and I want more than my yard has to offer), landscape fabric, etc. that I don’t see how this could possibly be a money saver. We’ll see in ten years, right? I still want a water barrel. It is so wonderful to watch plants grow from seed. I have more tomato plants than I know what to do with! So fun! I love your pictures! Right now I’m about to read Gaia’s Garden, a gardening book focused on homestead size permaculture. Have you read it? Take care and good luck with your plants! Or rather, God bless? I’ve been praying over mine!

    • May 15, 2011 9:56 pm

      Mary: a water barrel is on my list too. I have not heard of Gaia’s Garden. Can’t wait to check it out! Happy growing. The Northwest is a great place to garden, isn’t it?

  5. Ondalynn permalink
    May 15, 2011 2:02 pm

    Oh Tiffany! I am so excited for your garden. It’s a lot of work, but it’s therapeutic for me too. However, this summer I think my gardening will be in growing my chubby little baby boy! 🙂 Maybe next year.

    • May 15, 2011 9:58 pm

      That’s right Ondalynn, give everything its due time. Besides, you grow some pretty cute kids over there! Love you guys!

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