One of my goals with the new house was to start a garden. We’ve never lived in anything but an apartment, and sadly, those two apartments came sans backyard, sans front yard, sans balcony for pete’s sake. The extent of our gardening experience was receiving one of those Aerogardens for a wedding gift.
So, back in October, I guilt-tripped my father and brother into coming over to help me put together four raised garden beds. I would have done the beds all by myself, but I own neither an electric drill (yet) or enough muscles to screw two large pieces of wood together (probably never). For the record, I ended up using non-toxic-pressure-treated wood to make my raised beds. I mean, I would have loved to use pure cedar or some other naturally-non-toxic-won’t-warp-in-Virginia-monsoon-season wood, but I would prefer to only have my name on ONE mortgage document this year. I know everyone harps on never using pressure-treated wood because the chemicals will leach into the food that you’re growing, which makes perfect sense. But the wood we bought apparently doesn’t have the crazy chemical that regular pressure-treated wood has on it, and it was only like, $1 more per foot. It will totally suck if one day I wake up with an extra arm and you guys will be all, I TOLD YOU SO CARTER. And I will be all, you’re right, but think of all the awesome things I can do with an extra arm, you know?
Next: Dirt. We needed dirt. I ordered 6 cubic yards of a 50/50 topsoil/compost blend, which was delivered to my backyard, and which I shoveled into each of the four beds. Shoveling 6 yards of dirt makes you freaking ripped, by the way. Also sore. I think I barely moved for a week after that.
Of course, after all this work, it was the end of October and therefore too late to plant anything for the fall season… I think. (In hindsight, this winter was so mild I probably could have at least planted some mixed lettuces and they would have been fine but, hey, you live and you learn.) So I basically let my beds sit untouched for about 4 months until this past week, when I dug them up. Theoretically I could look at those 4 months of doing nothing as a waste of time, but I opt to think of it as time to let the nutrients of the compost and topsoil work. (Read: I am rationalizing my laziness. So what.)
So I dug up my raised beds. Added compost and composted cow manure and mushroom compost and something called “greensand,” per the local nursery’s recommendation. I moved around lots and lots of dirt. I listened to music on my headphones while I moved dirt. I got blisters on my thumbs from where I moved dirt. I ordered gardening gloves so I could move dirt more effectively.
And I enjoyed it.
Sort of crazy when you think about it, I guess.