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Breaking ground

After dinner, we returned to the back yard. There, next to the haphazard pile of plastic bags of peat and topsoil, Steve paced off the space we needed for the garden.

“That’s even bigger than I thought,” I said. “Are you sure we need all that space?”

Steve swung his head back in my direction. “Plants need space.”

I surveyed the ground, and, suddenly, had a solution to all our problems. “Do we really have to dig a solid area? Can’t we just dig holes in the ground, one for each plant? And leave the rest of the grass alone?”

Steve is a nice guy, so he didn’t laugh out loud. Of course, by this time of night, the whole situation was becoming less and less funny all the time. “Genie. We cannot dig holes in the ground.”

Next thing I knew, he had inserted the tip of the shovel in the grass, and was pressing down on the shovel’s head with the bottom of his hiking boot. A gash opened beneath the shovel, and he lifted up a chunk of sod, exposing the rich, dark Iowa soil underneath.

Steve Digging

Another shovelful, then another. Steve quickly turned over sod as I just stood there, watching the pile of discarded clumps of grass and dirt grow and shift under its own weight. “Try to separate the grass from the soil,” he said, gesturing toward the pile with its head.

On that first garden-shopping trip to Hy-Vee back in April, I’d picked out a pair of blue gardening gloves. The checkout clerk pointed out they were two-for-one, so I grabbed a green pair, too, and threw them in with the plants I was purchasing. Now, I grabbed the blue pair and slid them on. I crouched down next to the pile and began to separate dirt from grassroots, as fast as I could, making every attempt to stay ahead of Steve’s shoveling.

We had officially broken ground on our first garden.

12 Comments on “Breaking ground”

  1. #1 The Inadvertent Gardener
    on May 19th, 2006 at 5:42 am

    [...] Breaking ground [...]

  2. #2 Sugar Creek Farm
    on May 19th, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    Congratulations! Trust me, next year – after the addiction really takes hold – that 20×5 plot won’t seem like nearly enough :)

  3. #3 The Inadvertent Gardener
    on May 24th, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    [...] The night after we dug in the garden, I planted three eggplant seedlings, as well as one cucumber plant and one zucchini plant. The zucchini came with a tag that said it was the Aristocrat Zucchini. [...]

  4. #4 The Inadvertent Gardener
    on May 25th, 2006 at 6:04 am

    [...] As we dug in the garden that first night, I heard a familiar whine near my left ear, then another, pitched just slightly lower, near my right. I was wearing long pants, long sleeves and gardening gloves, but where I bent over, my shirt exposed a swath of skin on my lower back. Within moments, I realized that skin, bone-white in the fading light, was like a beacon to the bloodsuckers. I slapped, I scratched, I wriggled my back as best I could, but the longer we worked, the more welts rose up between the waistband of my pants and my shirt hem. [...]

  5. #5 The Inadvertent Gardener
    on May 28th, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    [...] On the Tuesday night after we put in the garden, I outed myself to my parents. “We’ve put in a garden,” I said. “We’ll see how it goes.” [...]

  6. #6 The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Sep 3rd, 2006 at 7:00 am

    [...] This blog began as something of a fluke. Steve and I were digging in the garden plot, and trading quips, and a little voice in my head said, “Write this down.” [...]

  7. #7 Very slightly delayed gratification at The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Aug 27th, 2008 at 7:35 am

    [...] and gentlemen, I remember what a huge pain that process was. And how long it took. And I was actually helping. A little. Anyway, by the time [...]

  8. #8 Outing myself « The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Oct 9th, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    [...] Published May 28, 2006 Family On the Tuesday night after we put in the garden, I outed myself to my parents. “We’ve put in a garden,” I said. [...]

  9. #9 So a zucchini walks in to see a talent agent… « The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Oct 9th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    [...] The night after we dug in the garden, I planted three eggplant seedlings, as well as one cucumber plant and one zucchini plant. The zucchini came with a tag that said it was the Aristocrat Zucchini. [...]

  10. #10 What turns up « The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Oct 9th, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    [...] turns up Published May 19, 2006 Gettin’ Dirty , Life Before Iowa As Steve turned over the soil where our garden plot would eventually be, I lifted up clump after clump of grass, loosening the particles of dirt from the roots and letting [...]

  11. #11 Very slightly delayed gratification « The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Oct 9th, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    [...] and gentlemen, I remember what a huge pain that process was. And how long it took. And I was actually helping. A little. Anyway, by the time [...]

  12. #12 What turns up – The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Jan 21st, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    [...] As Steve turned over the soil where our garden plot would eventually be, I lifted up clump after clump of grass, loosening the particles of dirt from the roots and letting them fall into the emerging bed. [...]

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