The “getting to know you” period.

Tomorrow will mark nine months in our new home. I thought it may be time to introduce myself to the soil. Yes, really, it has taken this long. But by “I thought it may be time” what I really meant was that work, the weather, the kiddo, my Daycare Immune System Marathon, and my energy levels all conspired to give me a gift – opportunity.

So Friday afternoon, amidst sunshine and high 50s, I took the shovel, the dog, and the wheelbarrow into the front yard. The Great Grass Removal was underway. The soil here seems lovely. Dark, rich, and crumbly. When I first got to know the soil at our last house, in 100 square feet of triple dug (go big or go home?) earth, I found precisely two earth worms amidst soil that refused to release the roots within it. Here I find fat happy worms two to the shovelful and the soil goes with the flow, shaking off into the air with the bang of each grass clump against the shovel. Forget a front heat bed repeat, I could plant tomatoes right alongside the curb! (And just might, seeing as I have thirty of them…)

The first wheelbarrow was nearly full, my ankle was reminding me that this was my first real shovel work since its last injury, and then the dog perked up his head and started sauntering down the walk. I looked up and saw he was shyly wagging his way to meet the neighbor two houses down, so I followed. Our dog minds well on good days, minds with mediocrity on some days, and gets a mind of his own on occasion. He’s eighty-five pounds of strong sweetheart but has his triggers after he was attached two years ago, so we never lack for caution. An hour later, he and I both felt as though we had made a new friend and the sun was slipping. It was going to drop into the 20s again soon, so I cleaned up, packed up, and we went went back inside to check on my little tomatoes, now in their 4″ pots of garden soil, seed starter, and coir.
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Mmm, poop.

Success!

Today we made the drive to The Natural Gardener on Old Bee Caves. This was our first trip there, and it was actually closer than I’d imagined.

Oh, boy. It was like Disneyland for dirt nerds! They really mind the details and you can tell, around every corner, that the people who put their time in really take pride in what they do. Sure, there’s a Buddha statue for sale, but they’ve staged the statue as though it were forty feet tall – complete with a miniature bamboo fence, finely bladed grass, and pebble path to the base for any 8 inch folks that may wish to pay tribute.

I think I was most excited by the tiny pots full of supplements. I got to touch and smell the different rock bits, mulch chips, soils, and sands. I make do with what the words tell me, but there’s no replacing the feel and the aroma of what goes in the soil.

We picked up some leather gloves to replace those lost to the Chainlink Removal Project. I found the largest floppy garden hat I’d ever seen, and almost got it…until the price tag showed its face. We did find section dedicated entirely to spot watering soaker hoses (and brought home the brochure.) A 5lb bucket of Rock Phosphate and a.receipt for the soil yard and we were off.

Pulling into the lot in front of piles of earthly bits, I eyed each pile. I wanted two. The rest could wait for other folks.

The truck wasn’t quite sure what to think of a cubic yard of well composted farm manure, but it made it just fine. Thirteen wheel barrows full later, and we had a beautiful garden bed with a pile for later.

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