Thursday, March 29, 2012

How I made my own dirt without even trying

What crazy weather we've been having in Michigan!! A week and a half ago we had temps in the 80s for a few days straight (set lots of records), and now we're back to more "normal" temps in the 50s-60s. Our fruit-farming friends are pulling their hair out... :( Please pray for NO more frosty nights the rest of the spring!

I decided this year to take it easy on what I'd be planting in my veggie garden -- I only bought seeds for green beans, carrots, zucchini, and sweet corn. I've had success every year with the first three, and we always eat them up, and I wanted to add one new thing so sweet corn it is.

But I was a little sad when I realized I didn't plan for any cool-season crops (think peas, lettuce) that could be planted RIGHT NOW! I've been itching to get something in the ground, but then again, with this crazy weather...

Yet I've got some more prepping to do in the garden before I can dig in (pun intended :) with my veggie seeds. Some grass and weeds have sprung up that I need to remove, and I want to add some more soil and compost.

By the way, have I mentioned I discovered I was making my own compost without even realizing it?!

Last fall we had a huge windstorm, and a large plastic garbage can rolled into our backyard. Thinking it belonged to a neighbor who might want it back, I left it on the side of the house for a week to see if anyone would take it. They didn't. So I thought ok cool! I've got a container. Maybe someday I'll make it into a rain barrel...

I stuck it up at the edge of the garden, and as I cleaned out the old plants and weeds last fall I tossed them in the barrel. I thought about using the wheelbarrow, but I don't really have a decent place to dump stuff... except the corner between fences where our yard meets our neighbors'... but I'd already dumped a bunch of grass there when making the garden last spring...

So this barrel got FULL of stuff. And I left it there. Not wanting to deal with it yet.

A few months later, Abby and I were walking around the backyard, and I noticed the level of "stuff" in the barrel had dramatically decreased. The top was still just old dead weedy stuff, but I had a hunch I wanted to check out... And lo and behold...

DIRT!!! Beautiful, dark dirt!!!

I grabbed a shovel and starting spreading. Abby thought I was crazy that I was so excited about dirt.

Then I put the top layer of dead weeds back in the barrel, along with some more weeds and things we pulled out of the garden. It's about time to check on the barrel again. :)

I still have a real compost bin on my gardening wishlist, but this free, blown-in barrel will do the trick for now!

Do you make your own compost for your garden?


  1. I am really good about the compost/dirt thing. It helps in the garden.

    Stopping by from the Friday Hop to say hello.

  2. Ok, you have almost caused me to be excited about getting our garden in. Right now we have way too many weeds to deal with.
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on gardening today.

  3. I am not much of a gardener, so I can't say that I relate to your joy over dirt and planting, but I admire that you are happy about the little things in life. That's where most Americans, myself included sometimes, miss the boat! Thanks also, Carrie, for coming by my place. I appreciate it! :)

  4. Producing your own compost is not only practical, but it's green and organic, we use to do so for a couple of years now, and my organic garden looks really beautiful! And we only need to separate the upper part of the garden for composting the leaves which we collect during the year.

  5. There is something special about compost dirt. For the past few years I've bought soil from the garden store. It's just not the same.

  6. You are very clever! i live in an apartment on the side of a large rock so no garden :(
    Happy to have found your particular kind of sunshine through NOBH though:)

  7. What a great idea! I also struggle with finding a place to put all that extra "stuff" - I didn't know I could make my own dirt!

  8. Without any intuition, you've made you own organic soil, in which you can grow organic foods, which can get back in the circle. That is really green. I wish I had a garden, I could live much more sustainable.

  9. That's awesome. There is nothing like the smell of fresh dirt!

  10. You've made your own compost! Really organic and cool! Although it was unwanted, keep that green habit!

  11. Unwanted, but you've made your own little organic farm! Now you can start grow your own vegetables and other kind of plants! That's really nice, isn't it? I wish I could have a garden and I would really grow my own, I could be then sure that there isn't any chemicals in my food on the table.

  12. Hi Carrie,
    It is amazing how some things we consider junk can actually accomplish much. I found you NOBH crew page, liked what I saw and followed you on facebook.
    God's grace!

  13. Stopped by from the blog hop. I grew up in Michigan and have a lot of family there still. The weather there always seemed extreme. I'm following through my Google Reader. I hope you can come by and visit my blog too.


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