Here’s the Dirt

bachelor button purple

Purple Bachelor Button

I finally got to the bottom of my Planter Box Failure.  In a word, Topsoil.  All dirt is not created equal.

I ordered planting mix from a local supplier, but they delivered topsoil instead.  The otherwise healthy plants weren’t thriving and I couldn’t figure out why.  In the end, it comes down to the basics: sun, water, soil. The soil delivered was far too heavy and ill-suited for my needs.

The supplier offered a refund, but they can’t or won’t pick up the unwanted dirt.

Freecycle to the Rescue!

One of my readers suggested I offer the soil on Freecycle.  I posted the offer last night and woke up to half a dozen emails.  Wow!

The soil is going to one or two good homes and the emptied planter box will soon be mine.  It’s late in the season to start over, but I’m going to plant a bag of flowers seeds I have on hand and see what grows.

Meanwhile, I had to scramble to transplant the surviving plants.  I filled in some bare spots in the triangle at the corner of the lawn.  I pulled four spent sunflowers which gave me room to transplant the status.  I transplanted snapdragons and several cosmos that were struggling to establish.  The roots of the plants hadn’t spread at all.  They’ll do so much better now in their new fertile soil.  The one plant that seemed to be taking hold in the box was the chocolate mint.  Each plant sent out foot long runners beneath the soil and were really taking hold.  The mint will go back into the new and improved planter box, but for now they’re resting in a few plastic pots along the walkway wall.

What seemed daunting last week now feels like an adventure.  I love planting, so enjoyed ‘rearranging’ the plants.  I’m happy the mint is doing well and can replant accordingly.  Most of all, it feels great to find a home for all that dirt.

planter reversal

Time to transplant; Mighty Mouse assists

back to basics

Back to Basics: Ready for pick-up

Merging Flowers

Merging Flowers: Cosmos, Status, Bachelor Buttons, Sunflowers, Snapdragons and Forget-me-nots

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).

DSC_0017

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.