Wednesday, March 14, 2012

For Love of Dirt

My plan for yesterday was to head out with my daughter to the gardening center to buy a few more seed packets.  Basically, I was going to use the trip to see how well she could do over an extended period of time, walking to, around, then back from the store.  The full experience minus heavy bags.  I wanted to prepare my daughter for our car-free shopping trip.

Of course, many times what I plan and what actually happens are two entirely different things.

In reality, I ended up planting some carrot and onion seeds in a section of the garden.  It's still too early to plant in this region of the country, so I halved some plastic containers and sank them over the garden bed to create a greenhouse effect.  They may do well.  They may also die.  Regardless, I have more seeds, and I really wanted to get dirty, so it was worth it.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started.  I didn't know what kind of condition the soil was in.  I was optimistic about it, though, because the ground had been ignored for quite some time.  Leaves, walnuts, and other organic debris had been allowed to settle.  I cleared away the majority of the debris to see what the dirt below it actually looked like.

Gorgeous.  It was love at first sight.

As I broke up the dirt throughout the small portion of the garden bed I encountered a few worms.  Another good sign, since worms are associated with good soil health.  I should also admit that I spent some time watching the worms squiggle about before tunneling back into the dirt.  I've always enjoyed watching those little guys.

There was one thing that I needed to change about the soil, however.  It had a very large clay content, as you can see from the way it held itself together in my hand just a little too perfectly.  Too much clay in the soil can cause carrots to shape themselves rather crookedly because of the extra work they have to do.  I didn't really want to have L-shaped carrots, so this was a slight problem.

It's an easy fix, though.  I brought my bag of jiffy soil over and placed just enough into the dirt to do the job of disrupting the clay.  No more, no less.

I gazed at my dirt with love.  It was perfect.  Some people may think a strong feeling like love shouldn't be associated with something like dirt, but I'd have to disagree.  Dirt is history.  It was there long before us.  It tells a story, and when it's healthy it teems with life.  If you respect and care for earth, it cares for you.

Simplicity.  How can somebody not love it?

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