Planter Box Fizzle: Failure to Thrive

I’ve been trying to swallow my disappointment at the sorry state of my flower bed. In my imagination (a rich and fertile place I might add), the bed is flourishing.  Instead, the mint, herbs, annuals and transplants are all stuck in idle.

My husband lovingly built the raised bed along the sidewalk strip this past spring. It’s quite large (4′ x 16′) so instead of buying bags from the nursery, I ordered planting mix from a local landscape supplier. I wasn’t home to accept the delivery, and ended up with a lot more than I needed.  My friend, Jazzy, helped me remove all the excess and a friend down the street took it by the wheelbarrow-full for her own budding garden.  At last it was ready to plant.

Doesn’t this look pretty and full of promise?

garden bed front garden newly planted

Here it is several weeks later.

Even the ‘volunteer’ pumpkin plant that jumped ship is doing better growing in the grass (lower left).


Given the seasonal heat, sun and proper irrigation, along with a generous covering of mulch, the plants should be thriving.  Instead, a crop of black mushrooms sprout along the surface each morning, eventually wilting under the mid-day sun.

Today, I got to the bottom of things.  Or more accurately, the top.  Instead of delivering ‘potting mix’ they delivered topsoil!  It’s heavy, sandy and ill-suited for my needs.

The supplier offered a refund today, but they can’t remove the delivered soil.  They suggested a few bags of high quality premium mix, free of charge, but I’ll need to amend it by half, so I still need to figure out what to do with over a cubic yard of topsoil.

Right now, I’m just overwhelmed.  I’ll keep you posted.

10 thoughts on “Planter Box Fizzle: Failure to Thrive

  1. Alys try posting that you have clean top soil on Freecycle there maybe people who are in need of it. If you can get help to move it to a pick up spot then people can come and get it voila. I have repurposed at lot of items this way that I didn’t need but someone else could use.


  2. OH snap, all that work and so well planned and executed. I would be so annoyed. I wonder if you hung a little post at the library or local sod grower about ‘free topsoil’ if someone wouldn’t swing by with a pickup truck and load it up. Sheila has a great suggestion there, I’d not heard of Freecycle, fantastic. Anything useful and free won’t last long. I see a glorious garden in your near future, xo


    • Those are also good ideas. I’m giggling, because I’ve often seen signs that say ‘free dirt’ and thought people were overly optimistic. Now here I am with ‘free dirt’ on my hands, too.


  3. Pingback: Here’s the Dirt | gardeningnirvana

  4. Pingback: Curb Garden | gardeningnirvana

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